U of M Logo

MODULE 7:

THE NORTH-WEST REBELLION

WHAT HAPPENED TO LOUIS RIEL AFTER HE LEFT MANITOBA IN 1870?

 

Click here for a definition of the Metis people

The Metis had problems with land claims and the river-lot system in Saskatchewan, just like in Manitoba. In 1884 the Metis invited Louis Riel to come back from the United States to help them. Louis Riel sent a petition to the Canadian government. This did not help. On March 19, 1885, Louis Riel and his followers carrying guns took over the Roman Catholic church in Batoche. They formed their own government. They demanded that the Mounties leave Fort Carlton. The Canadian government sent troops to Saskatchewan.

Under Louis Riel and Metis leader Gabriel Dumont, the Metis fought battles with Canadian troops at Duck Lake, Fish Creek and Batoche. This was called the North-West Rebellion. After the fall of Batoche, Louis Riel was captured by Canadian troops, and, in November 1885, was hanged in Regina, Saskatchewan, for treason. Riel's Metis supporters were shocked that their spokesman and hero would be convicted of treason when they felt he was fighting for their rights. Some of them vowed to continue the fight for the recognition of their land claims.

In 1992 the Canadian government officially recognized that Louis Riel and the Metis had "just cause to fight against the Canadian government." That same year, the provincial government called Louis Riel the "Father of Manitoba" since he brought the province into Confederation. Metis people are working with the Canadian government and the court system to establish rights and to try to solve old problems. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these Metis still live in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Here are some of them!

Edna Jerome
France Lemay
Augustine Abraham
Dr. Olive Dickason