Louis Riel: a Father of Confederation the Métis’ Struggle

Topics: Manitoba, Louis Riel, Red River Rebellion Pages: 3 (1207 words) Published: March 4, 2013
“In a little while it will be all over. We may fail. But the rights for which we contend will not die.” – Louis Riel, May 6, 1885 The Métis are often overlooked when discussing the Confederation of Canada. In particular, Louis Riel was a critical leader of the Métis that strived to sustain the Métis way of life, and eventually led Manitoba into enter Confederation. For this reason, Louis Riel should most definitely be remembered as a “Father of Confederation” that strived for peaceful negotiations. In the early to mid 1800s, the area that we know of today as Manitoba was called the Red River Valley. Its inhabitants consisted of mostly the Métis, people that had European fathers and native mothers. As a part of Rupert’s Land, the Red River Settlement was greatly affected by the Canadian government’s plan to purchase Rupert’s Land. Many factors contributed to the Canadian government desire to possess this vast territory. The National Dream to build Canada as a nation from “sea to sea” was threatened when the Americans purchased Alaska. As John A. MacDonald said, “I would be quite willing, personally, to leave that whole country a wilderness for the next half-century but I fear if Englishmen do not go there, Yankees will,” expanding Canada westwards was inevitable. In consideration of Manifest Destiny, the belief that the US was justified and destined to conquer all of North America, Prime Minister MacDonald states his fear that the Americans may conquer the surrounding territory around Canada. This motivated the government to purchase Rupert’s Land and to start expanding Canada westwards. In addition, with the growth of the population came a bigger demand for farmland. Stimulated by the cheap plots of land, settlers, mostly Protestants and members of the Orange Order, a group of people that were anti – French and anti – Catholic, established themselves in the Red River Valley. Inevitably, this led to inequity and prejudice against the French and English...
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