Re: Truth and Reconciliation – A Métis Perspective
With Canada’s Sesquicentennial (2017) Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary as a country. The Sesquicentennial is, and will be, widely promoted reflecting the accomplishments of the country of Canada. In light of yesterday’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Report on Residential Schools we know that reconciliation is the chief order of business for Canadians today.
As Canadians we bear the awesome responsibility to review and re-develop our history reflecting the tragedies of residential schools and cultural genocide and their on-going impacts. In this regard we would be remiss not to take this opportunity to open up a new narrative on Canada’s Métis and the life and career of Métis leader Louis Riel. Consistent with history and justice the conviction of Louis Riel for the crime of “high treason” needs to be examined to prove the righteousness of its reversal—ensuring Riel’s historic role as Canada’s “Aboriginal Father of Confederation” is formally recognized in time for Canada’s Sesquicentennial.
At his trial in Regina, NWT, in 1885, upon being found guilty of the crime of high treason, Louis Riel called out for justice:
“My wish is this, your Honor, that a commission be appointed by the proper authorities, but amongst the proper authorities of course I count on English authorities, that is the first proper authorities, that a commission be appointed, that commission examines into this question, or if they are appointed to try me, if a special tribunal is appointed, that I am tried first on these questions;
1. Has Riel rebelled in 1869?
2. Was Riel a murderer of Thomas Scott, when Thomas Scott was executed?
3. When Riel received the money from Archbishop Taché, was it corruption money?
4. When Riel seized the property of the Hudson’s Bay Company did he commit pillage?
5. When Riel was expelled from the House (of Commons) was he a fugitive of justice?
6. Whether Riel rebelled on the Saskatchewan in 1885?
I WISH MY CAREER SHOULD BE TRIED, NOT THE LAST PART OF IT!”
Louis Riel was denied his “Inquiry” and was hanged on November 16, 1885. Since that time Louis Riel has officially been deemed a criminal and a “traitor” to Canada—although in March of 1992 the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada unanimously adopted resolutions recognizing the various and significant contributions of Louis Riel to Canada and to the Métis people, and, in particular, recognized his unique and historic role as a founder of Manitoba.
Canadians are a justice loving people. Many Canadians want to see Louis Riel exonerated, deemed innocent of the charge of high treason. This can only happen if we follow the legal path to exoneration and the Canadian Parliament recognizes Louis Riel’s “proper place in Canadian history.” A symposium on the Career of Louis Riel will provide a framework and the necessary evidence to resolve this scar on the Canadian historical record. Our ability to carry out this vital work in the century’s long campaign (130 years) to exonerate Louis Riel depends upon support from friends of Louis Riel. I would request those organizations and individuals interested in support of this campaign to please begin your support with a resolution indicating your determination to see this symposium proudly held leading to political change and the recognition of Louis Riel as “Canada’s Aboriginal Father of Confederation.”
The BC Metis Federation will convene a Symposium on the Exoneration of Louis Riel on November 14, 2015 in Vancouver British Columbia and publish its finding on November 16, 2015, the 130th anniversary of Riel’s execution. Your participation and support of this event is requested.
It is time we work together and bring Métis together to address for the future. We need your support to make this important event come together so please watch for important updates.
Yours in Riel,Keith Henry President BC Métis Federation (BCMF)
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Letter-of-Truth-and-Reconciliation-June-3rd-2015.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to view the letter as a PDF[/ilink]