Monday, November 15th, 2021
On November 16th, we recognize Louis Riel Day
From the Metis Nation of British Columbia: "So who is Louis Riel and how did he get his own holiday? Louis Riel was born in 1844 at the Red River Settlement where he was the first of 11 children, born to a Métis father and French Canadian mother. He was elected president of the provisional government formed during the Red River Resistance of 1869-70, and negotiated Manitoba’s entry into Canada in 1871. Louis Riel was elected to Parliament 3 times, but never took his seat. He returned to the Northwest at the request of the Métis during the initial stages of the Northwest Resistance in 1884. Following the defeat of the Métis at Batoche, Riel was tried for treason. His lawyers tried to plead insanity as his defense, but Louis Riel denied those claims. He was found guilty of High Treason in May 1885. Despite the jury recommending leniency, he was sentenced to hang.
During his own life, Riel was recognized as the father of Manitoba and is currently acknowledged to be a founding father of Confederation in Canada. In addition to advocating for Métis rights, Riel also fought for greater religious freedom, French language rights, First Nations rights, and greater gender equality throughout the Northwest. Riel died as a staunch advocate for the Métis and as a defender of minority rights in general."