Was Riel a Canadian Hero?

Is it fair to uncritically characterize Riel in that tradition? Are there other interpretations? An academic paper by Métis Adam Gaudry discusses these questions. Read this article and form your own opinion and contribute to the dialogue!

“Métis clearly have a tradition of seeing themselves as different and distinct from Canada and Canadianness”

“While many scholars today seem to uncritically accept his Canadianness, Riel continually resisted this label in many of his most important writings. The various stories told about Riel by Canadians should be read as stories by Canadians about Canadians, using Riel as a stand-in for the values that they wish to highlight and espouse or, alternatively, the values they wish to condemn and externalize.”

“In these new mythologies, Louis Riel is given a position as a Canadian nation-builder—a position that he would almost certainly have rejected, given how the Canadian project has so carelessly marginalized his people, both during his life and after his death.”

“Riel strenuously objected to the legitimacy of Canada’s presumed authority over the Métis people right up to his execution by Canadians in 1885. His 1885 Last Memoir describes a similar understanding of Métis political authority equal to that of Canada, sixteen years after The Declaration was published:

When the Government of Canada presented itself at our doors it found us at peace. It found that the Métis people of the North-West could not only live well without it … but that it had a government of its own, free, peaceful, well-functioning … It was a government with an organized constitution, whose jurisdiction was more legitimate and worthy of respect, because it was exercised over a country that belonged to it (Riel)”

[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/17889-45376-1-PB.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download the full paper in PDF format.[/ilink]

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