Louis Riel is a well-known figure in Canadian history. Through his acts as a leader, despite his political mistakes, I believe he should be remembered as a Canadian hero. Riel, being well-educated and bilingual, would eventually emerge as a strong advocate for Metis rights in Red River.
Riel practiced as a lawyer in Montreal, but returned to his home of Red River in the face of Rupert’s Land being purchased by Canada from the Hudson’s Bay Company (Histori). His home, Red River Colony, was a part of Rupert’s land and many Metis people were afraid of losing control of their homeland. He would rally the French-speaking Metis and the English-speaking half-natives together to protect their interests from the conflicting interests of those in the east. He urged the creation of an army, the institution of a provisional government, and insurance of the defence of Fort Garry, the HBC headquarters (University of Missouri-Kansas City).
The Metis people went on to form a committee called the “National Committee” and named Riel as secretary. William McDougall, the new Lieutenant-Governor of the new jurisdiction, as well as a team of surveyors arrived at Fort Garry to survey the land but were not permitted to enter Red River. On November 2nd, the committee seized Fort Garry with no resistance from the HBC (Stanley). The government postponed the transfer until the planned date of December 1st, and McDougall and his crew headed back to Canada. At this time, Riel was preparing a “List of Rights” and he invited both English and French speaking citizens to attend the decision making at Fort Garry. The defence of his people, while inviting equal influence and ideas from the people being affected by the decisions at hand, is what I believe to be the first example of Riel’s leadership and heroism.
While the List of Rights was being made by Riel and the National Committee of the Metis, John Schultz – who had originally came as a team to...