Louis Riel | The Canadian Encyclopedia
This blog post is not a re-telling of the history of Louis Riel. inquiry hinges on the sources we use and the questions we ask of them. cites Joseph Boyden's Extraordinary Canadians: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont. Moreover, the Indigenous women in these relationships were highly valued as equal. North-West Métis Issues Worksheet Teacher's Copy .. Timeline of the To the Métis, Louis Riel was and remains an iconic champion of their political . establishing personal relationships with Aboriginal people who are sources Gabriel Dumont – a leader of the Métis people in Western Canada. to be contemporary issues and sources of conflict between the Métis of . chance to defeat the infamous Métis leader Louis Riel was their fate. 1 Gabriel Dumont Institute, “Proof of the Effects of North West discussed this in connection with the Resistance and his role as a war hero, little has been done to.
Many of them turned to farming. The French Metis were not happy with this because the Canadian government was far away and tended to make decisions to suit their own needs. Louis Riel, at 25 years of age, became the main leader of the Metis. After experiencing a few bad decisions, French Metis went to the main fort in the settlement where the Governor lived. The fort was almost empty, so they were able to enter and take control without any violence.
However, many of the White settlers who had come west from Canada disagreed with the actions of the Metis. Forty-eight Canadian settlers gathered in a warehouse and prepared to fight a battle. However, two hundred armed Metis arrived, surrounded the warehouse, and pointed two cannons at it.
They demanded that the Canadians surrender within fifteen minutes. The Canadian settlers understood their predicament, so they gave up and marched off to jail. Soon, however, Riel was faced with a momentous decision.
One White settler named Thomas Scott, a stubborn and racist trouble-maker, had been put in jail for taking up arms against the Metis twice. While in jail, Scott had attacked the Metis guards and repeatedly insulted them.
When he was put on trial, the Metis court sentenced him to be shot. Riel said, "We must make Canada respect us. This became the biggest mistake that Riel made in his entire life. The English in Ontario were upset over the shooting of Scott. Politicians organized public meetings to protest the shooting of Scott, and thousands of people showed up. The spirit of cooperation between the French and English in Canada was wiped away. They accepted the Metis "List of Rights" and also turned the Red River settlement into a new province which they named Manitoba.
However, the Canadian government also sent soldiers to the newly created province. Before the soldiers arrived, Riel found out that many of the soldiers were angry and out to get revenge for the shooting of Scott. Riel feared for his life, so he fled to safety in the United States. At this time the new Governor wrote the Prime Minister saying, " "There is a small but noisy section of our people [who] really talk and seem to feel as if the French half-breeds should be wiped off the face of the globe.
The Metis were not in a position to do anything about this. However, the French-speaking Metis had their own way of life. They were again seriously mistreated. Some Metis had difficulty gaining legal title to their land, and some lost their farms.
Years later, in a railway was being built across the country. The Metis in the Batoche area expected that the new railway would bring a flood of White settlers. They again feared that the way of life in their locality would become the way of life of the English-speaking White man.
Riel, Dumont, and the Rebellion (full story)
At this time, most people in the North-West were unhappy with the Canadian government. They all agreed that they needed a leader who could get results. Gabriel Dumont was at the meeting. He was still a strong leader at 47 years of age, but he could not read or write, so he had not been very successful at getting the Canadian government to respond to complaints. They needed a leader who was truly outstanding.
They needed someone who could read and write, speak both French and English, who could get the Canadian government to respond to their demands, and who was liked by all the peoples in the North-West. They needed a very, very talented leader.
Naturally, they chose a school teacher. Since Riel had fled to the United States from the newly created province of Manitoba, he had had a difficult 15 years. Riel had been elected three times to be a member of the Canadian government in Eastern Canada. Then, a few years later, the Canadian government banished Riel from Canada for five years. When he was released, he went to the western United States to live. This is where Riel met and married a young Metis woman and was hired to teach school.
Dumont discussed things with Riel. They were farming on long and narrow river lots perpendicular to the river, and for some unknown reason, the White surveyors had ignored this. They had surveyed the Metis land into their usual one-mile squares. The government did not want to do another survey because a river-lot survey cost about nine times as much as an ordinary one. He finished teaching school and was soon off on the trail to Canada.
Riel made the trip with his wife, a one-year-old daughter, and a two-year-old son. The horsemen shouted their welcomes and sang songs about battles in the past that they had fought and won. He went to a number of English and French Metis communities and made speeches in which he asked for peace. He got their support. Then, the leading priest in that part of the country, Father Andre, wrote to him.
Father Andre lived in Prince Albert, a town of mainly White people. Father Andre's letter said: I have only to say to you: After this, Father Andre reported: Next, Riel prepared a carefully worded petition that complained about the treatment of everyone, including the Indians and the White people. Riel soon started to lose support. He got into arguments with the local priests over his religious beliefs. Riel yelled at the priests that he was getting his directions from God.
He also stated that some time in the future, he would make changes in the church. Many people were disturbed by this. He gave himself advice by recording in his personal diary, "You eat a third too much. Do not eat heavily before you go to bed. Never go out without a hat, whether it's hot or cold.
Soon after this, Riel wrote that he was feeling much better. The Metis were upset. They had received replies like this before, and very little had been done. The Metis talked of war and began gathering supplies in case one started. About a month later, the Metis were told that police were coming to arrest Riel.
The Metis believed the story and decided that now was the time to act. Riel led a group of Metis who cut some telegraph lines. They took control of two local stores and removed supplies, bullets, and guns.
As they did this, they took a number of prisoners. When the priest tried to stop them, he was brushed aside. Riel declared, "Rome is fallen" and then told the Metis that instead of having the pope in Rome as head of the church, they would have a new pope, a Bishop in Montreal. In an emotionally charged meeting they formed their army and elected their own government. He wrote, "Good sense shone in me; it shone, it sparkled in my face.
One time, he became enraged and shouted at an English Metis, "You don't know what we are after - it is blood, blood, we want blood; it is a war of extermination. He was hoping that he could still avoid a war. He hoped to succeed without any serious fighting, in the same way he had succeeded fifteen years before when the Canadian government had agreed to create the new province of Manitoba.
In his letter, Riel threatened to begin "a war of extermination," and explained that a war could be avoided if the police would simply give up their fort and surrender. Both Riel and the police used messengers to deliver the letters. As emotions were running high, neither side was ready to give in. They did not get together to discuss their differences.
The French Metis and some Indians from the nearby reserves would have to act alone. The Battle of Duck Lake: When the police returned, there were fifty-six police officers and forty-three volunteers.
They faced a similar number of Metis and Indians. As both sides sent two men forward to talk, more Metis and Indians were arriving. There was a struggle over a gun, and a shot was fired.
The battle had begun. At that time, Dumont gave the following description of the Battle of Duck Lake: As soon as the shooting started, we fired as much as we could. A shot came and gashed the top of my head. I fell down on the ground. While we were fighting, Riel was on horseback, exposed to the gunfire, and with no weapon but the crucifix which he held in his hand. The enemy was then beginning to retire, and my brother, who had taken command after my fall, shouted to our men to follow.
Surely, Riel thought, the government would at least acknowledge the legitimacy of their grievances and demands. Surely they would want to avoid bloodshed. Almost up until the day he surrendered, Riel clung to these hopes. Such expectations were misguided but not necessarily unreasonable. The problem was that Riel was, at the very least, delusional.
He believed he was a prophet of a new world and that God spoke to him directly. His delusions compromised his military judgment, but not the support of his community. Dumont was a brave man, a warrior. His instinct was to fight. Although re-elected in a constituency by-election in Provencher in SeptemberRiel delayed in taking his seat and was later expelled from the House.
Portrait of Louis Riel, On 12 Februarythe federal government adopted a motion granting amnesty to Riel that was conditional to five years of banishment from "Her Majesty's Dominions. Speech in Defence of Louis Riel, Shortly after his exile, Riel suffered a nervous breakdown and his friends secretly admitted him to hospitalagainst his own wishes, at Longue Pointe in Montreal. He was later transferred to the mental asylum at BeauportQuebec.
Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
Gabriel Dumont was a man of great chivalry and military skill, superbly adapted to the presettlement prairie life courtesy Glenbow Archives. Riel consented, so long as his family could join them and that he would be able to return to Montana once things were settled in Saskatchewan. Riel conducted a peaceful agitation there, speaking throughout the district and preparing a petition.
Non-Aboriginal farmers were also dissatisfied with their lot and took issue with low wheat prices, high freight costs and tariffs on farming machinery. They were especially upset that their settlements were not reached by the new Canadian Pacific Railway. At a meeting on 8 MarchRiel put forth a motion to create a provisional government for Saskatchewan. While the motion did not pass at that meeting, a point "Revolutionary Bill of Rights" was drafted.
Louis Riel, a prisoner, in the camp of Major-General F. Middleton, Batoche, Saskatchewan, circa 16 May Trial and Execution On 6 Julya formal charge of treason was laid against Riel.
On 20 July, his trial began in Regina. Riel, however, could not afford his own defence, and so his counsel was paid for by friends in Quebecwho likely had different motives than Riel. Riel addresses the jury during his trial in Regina, Saskatchewan, Image: The defence counsel, Charles Fitzpatrick, addressing the jury during the trial of Louis Riel, Previous Next With the foreman in tears, the jury pronounced Riel guilty.
While the jury recommended clemency, none was forthcoming.