Essay on Louis Riel

This essay has a total of 1211 words and 5 pages.

Louis Riel

On October 23, 1844, in Red River Manitoba, Louis Riel Sr and Julie Lagimodiere, devout
Christians, brought a young Metis boy into the world. Little did they know, Louis Riel Jr.
would grow up to become known to many as "the founder of Manitoba." His life was filled
with excitement, both political and personal. The question is, were his actions against
the government acts of honor and truth, or deception and lies?


Riel Jr.'s political adventures did not begin until he was 25. On November 23, 1869, Riel
proposed the formation of a provincial government to replace the Council of Assiniboia
because he did not believe that they were not doing their jobs well enough to improve the
dull life in Red River. On December 10th his flag flew on the pole at Fort Gary. Riel held
a convention of twenty French and twenty English Canadians to draw up a new list of
rights. The convention sat a week and finished on February 10th. Riel soon formed another
provincial government that was more represented than the last. Three delegates were chosen
from the provincial government to present the list of formed rights to the Canadian
government: Father Noel Ritchot, Judge Black and Alfred Scott . On March 24th, the three
delegates left for Ottawa to negotiate entry into Confederation and discuss the list of
rights. Finally on May 12th, 1870, the list of rights, now known as the "Manitoba Act" ,
was passed by Canadian parliament. One section protected Metis lands, guaranteed the right
to their religion, and the use of their language in the legislature and courts, but it
seemed not enough. December 16th 1884, Riel dispatched a petition to Ottawa demanding that
settlers be given title to the lands they occupied, that the districts of Saskatchewan,
Alberta and Assiniboia be granted provincial status, that laws be passed to encourage
nomadic Indians and Metis to settle on the lands and that they be better treated. On
February 11th, 1885, the government answered the petition by promising to appoint a
commissioner to investigate the Metis claims and titles. First, a lengthy census would be
taken of the Metis. Riel, since little had been accomplished, questioned his own
leadership qualities. The Metis reaffirmed their vision of Riel as a leader and asked him
to continue as their leader.


Not long after these issues were tabled, a rebellion broke out. It was named the Red River
Rebellion. The Metis people had revolted against Manitoba for small issues in their
communities that angered them. Riel, caught up in the battle, condemned a man named Thomas
Scott as a traitor to the provincial government and shot him. This action enraged the
anti-Catholic and anti-French communities. In addition, Riel was elected into the Canadian
House of Commons in 1873-74 but was denied his seat. He was pardoned in 1875 on the
condition he would leave Canada. Both these incidents influenced Riel to go to the United
States, where he taught in Montana at a Jesuit Mission, before being asked by the Metis to
present their grievances to the Canadian Government and be their leader once more.


In 1885, another rebellion commenced. The Metis had moved to Saskatchewan and began to
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