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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 1:48 pm
 


$1:
Louis Riel celebrated during Manitoba holiday

It's Louis Riel day in Manitoba and the great niece of the province's founding father is planning to celebrate in her own special way.

"Say a little prayer in the morning, think about him all day," said Augustine Abraham, who lives in Winnipeg, where her famous uncle led the Red River resistance from 1869–1870 in a fight to maintain Metis rights.

Rare Manitoba photos of Louis Riel found in Australia
Louis Riel noose strands given to Winnipeg museum
Riel, who was born in 1844 in the Red River Colony (later to become Winnipeg), remains a controversial figure in Canadian history.

Until well into the twentieth century he was regarded as a traitor who instigated civil war. But in the 1960s Riel's image began to turn around and today most Canadians, particularly the Métis, have reclaimed him as a heroic patriot, founder of Manitoba and a Father of Confederation.

The Red River resistance began as a group of Metis, led by Riel, worked to preserve their people's rights and culture as their homeland was becoming increasingly threatened by settlers from eastern Canada.

In October 1869, the group halted the work of a Canadian survey party and Riel declared that any attempt by Canada to assume authority in the region would be opposed unless Ottawa first negotiated terms with the Metis.

A provisional government, with Riel as president, was formed in December. But the execution of Thomas Scott, a member of a group of Ontario settlers opposed to Riel's uprising, led to the provisional government's unravelling.

There were calls for Riel to be hanged and the Ontario government offered a bounty for his capture. Riel fled to the United States, where he lived for many years.

In 1870, when Manitoba entered Confederation, it was the terms created by Riel's provisional government that ultimately helped negotiate the agreement.

While a fugitive, Riel was elected three times to the Canadian House of Commons but never assumed his seat. He returned to Canada to represent Metis grievances with Canada once again, this time in Saskatchewan.

The resistance escalated into a military confrontation known as the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Riel was captured, tried, convicted and hanged for treason in Regina that same year.

Time for pride

Since 2008, the third Monday in February has been celebrated as Louis Riel Day in Manitoba.

Abraham said Riel would be happy to know a holiday has been named in his honour.

"I supposed he would be touched and he would be happy. But being proud about it — I guess its our turn to do that," she said.

You can learn more about Riel and Manitoba's Metis heritage at St. Boniface Museum on Tache Avenue, not far from Riel's grave on the grounds of the St. Boniface Cathedral cemetery.

The museum will be open today from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and admission is free.

Museum director Philippe Mailhot said there is plenty to check out, including experts from the Louis Riel institute, documents from the historical society and the famed Bell of Batoche.

The 20-pound silver church bell was seized in 1885 as spoils of war by Ontario soldiers from the Metis community of Batoche, Sask.during the North-West Rebellion.

It eventually ended up in a Royal Canadian Legion hall in Millbrook, Ont. But in 1991, the bell was taken by a Metis man, Billyjo Delaronde, from Manitoba.

He held on to it until handing it over in 2013 to the Catholic Diocese of Prince Albert, which includes Batoche.

Delaronde, who said he and four other Metis friends took the bell from the legion hall, noted that in 1967 the federal government asked the Millbrook Legion to turn over the bell and return it to Batoche, but the request was refused.

"I believe I repatriated the bell," he said last summer at the Back to Batoche Days festival.

"There was no intention of ever stealing the bell from them, because it was ours."


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:08 pm
 


The rope that he was strung up with ... (I) last saw on the wall of the RCMI in Toronto.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:14 pm
 


The author needs to double check their terminology. There are erronous references to an "Ontario government" and "Ontario soldiers".

They should be referring to the Canadian government in Ottawa and either Canadian militia or North West Mounted Police.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:24 pm
 


The Province, in fact, does not HAVE an army.

This is where the troops came from ... all across the country (including the West)

"CPR manager William Van Horne quickly arranged for Canadian troops to be transported across the unfinished gaps in the new railway, enabling them to reach Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan, by 10 April. In less than a month, almost 3,000 troops had been transported west; most were Ontario militia units but the force included two Québec battalions and one from Nova Scotia. From the West came about 1,700 of the eventual total of just over 5,000 troops that Major-General Frederick Middleton would command. "

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/north-west-rebellion/

... but let's not let historic reality get in the way of old fashioned regional parochialism. Where would Canada be without populists who blame some other province for their woes. We should do some TV Historic Minute about those louts.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:47 pm
 


he was nuts....according to current laws he should have been institutionalized. The entire Louis Riel rewrite as a `Father of Confederation`, is a concession to Franco Manitobans to assuage hurt feelings over past wrongs.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:19 pm
 


For anyone interested there are more than a few active military formations that carry battle honours (Saskatchewan, Fish Creek, Batoche, North West Canada 1885, etc) from fighting the rebels.

Royal Canadian Regiment
Royal Regiment of Canada
The Royal Winnipeg Rifles
The Fort Garry Horse

Among others I'm sure. Unsure if the RCMP carries on any honours from the NWMP.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:41 pm
 


The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada is very active.

http://www.qor.com/
http://www.militaryheritage.com/queensownrifles.htm


Last edited by Jabberwalker on Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:43 pm
 


Jabberwalker Jabberwalker:
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada is very active.


I figured there were others. Can't remember them all.


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