Dumont was a grandson of the French Canadian Jean-Baptiste Dumont and his Sarcee-Crow wife, Josette. He was the second son of Isidore Dumont and Louise Laframboise. The family were at various times involved in farming, trading, hunting and trapping in what is now the province of Saskatchewan. Gabriel was raised a Mtis, learning both French Catholic and Cree customs. By the time he was 12, he was considered an accomplished shot with both gun and bow, and was well known as a master horseman. In 1848, the Dumont family moved south to the area of Regina, Saskatchewan. Dumont, and his older brother Isidore, became buffalo hunters. Over time, Dumont learned six languages, and established a reputation as a guide, hunter and interpreter. He was also famed for his drinking and gambling. Dumont participated in skirmishes with First Nations, including the Blackfoot and Sioux.
Dumont married Madeleine Wilkie, the daughter of the Anglo-Metis  chief, Jean Baptiste Wilkie, in 1858, and in 1862 was elected chief of his Mtis band. He led the band to the North Saskatchewan River, where they briefly settled near Fort Carlton. By 1868, the band established a permanent settlement near Batoche on the South Saskatchewan River. In 1872 Gabriel established a ferry service near Batoche, at "Gabriel's Crossing" (east of present day Rosthern, Saskatchewan where the Gabriel Bridge is today) and also farmed near there.
Dumont's enemies in 1885, including General Frederick Middleton of the Northwest Field Force, heaped praise on his generalship and martial abilities. Despite huge logistic and morale problems, he can be credited with a great victory at the battle of Fish Creek and managed to hold off a much larger force at the Battle of Batoche for several days. Unfortunately, Riel refused to let him make vital strategic actions such as damaging railway lines to hinder the enemy's movement, thus hampering the fight against the Canadian government.
Following the defeat at Batoche, Dumont made his way via the Cypress Hills to Montana where he surrendered to the U.S. Cavalry. However, the U.S. Government determined that he was a political refugee and he was shortly released. 
In 1886, Dumont joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West where he received top billing as a rebel leader and crack marksman. Although the Canadian Government granted a general amnesty in the summer of 1886, Dumont did not return to Canada until 1888, in order to lecture in Montreal. He retired to Batoche in 1893 eventually obtaining title to the lands he had settled in 1872. He returned to his former life as a farmer, hunter and trapper, and dictated two memoirs of his experiences in the rebellion. He died from natural causes in 1906.
In the spring of 2008, Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Christine Tell proclaimed in Duck lake, that "the 125th commemoration, in 2010, of the 1885 Northwest Resistance is an excellent opportunity to tell the story of the prairie Mtis and First Nations peoples' struggle with Government forces and how it has shaped Canada today."
Batoche, where a Mtis Provisional Government had been formed, has been declared a National Historic Site. Batoche marks the site of Gabriel Dumont's grave marker, Albert Caron–s House, Batoche school, Batoche cemetery, Letendre store, Gabriels river crossing, Gardepy's crossing, Batoche crossing, St. Antoine de Padoue Church, Mtis rifle pits, and RNWMP battle camp.
The Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research in Saskatchewan was named in his honour. The Dumont Bridge over the South Saskatchewan River east of Rosthern, Saskatchewan is also named for him. It is located at the site of Gabriel's Crossing, where he ran a small store, billiards hall and ferry service in the late 1870s and early 1880s. There is also a park along the South Saskatchewan in Saskatoon named for him, as well as an equestrian statue depicting him along the river between the Broadway and Victoria Bridges on the west side of the South Saskatchewan River.
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