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Supervisor: Gregg Finley, PhD Second Reader: Aloysius Balawyder, PhD Copy Editor: Judith L. Davids, M.C.S.

This Thesis Is Accepted By: _____________________________ Academic Dean ST. STEPHENS UNIVERSITY April 16, 2011

ABSTRACT ............ i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...... iii PREFACE ..... iv INTRODUCTION: ALMOST A HERO .... 1 CHAPTER I HISTORICAL REVISIONISM: PURPOSE VERSUS PERCEPTION ....... 6 Purpose .... 6 Perception .. 12 Closing the Gap ..................... 15 The Historical Window . 18 CHAPTER II REVISING RIEL: FROM REBEL TO MARTYR ....... 21 A Rebel is Born . 21 A Captivity Narrative .... 26 Early Influences ................................. 28 The Metamorphosis Begins 1869 ... 30 Building on Stanley and Morton ... 36 The Birth of a Martyr 1885 ........ 40 The Charges Challenged ........................................... 46 A Collaborative Future ..... 49 CHAPTER III RIEL: NATIONAL DIVISIONS, RECONCILIATIONS AND FUTURE HEALING .. 51 Embedded Dichotomies .... 52 Violent Beginnings ... 60 Colonial Oppression ..................................... 62 Founding Myths .... 63 Reaching Maturity 66 Historical Reconciliation Begins .. 67 The Domino Effect ... 69 The Role of Trauma .......... 72 CONCLUSION: A HISTORY AS OF YET UNTOLD AND A FUTURE YET UNMADE ..... 75 ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ... 81


ABSTRACT This year marks the 125th anniversary of the execution of the infamous Mtis leader Louis Riel for high treason against the Dominion of Canada. In Alexander Beggs 1871CE account of the Red River Rebellion, Riel was depicted as a heretical, powerhungry, murderous womanizer who tried to overthrow the Dominion. This early account of Riels uprising has evolved and has been revised countless times during the past century. Riel has been labeled everything from a heretic to a hero; and currently politicians are working at not only having Riel pardoned, but also ensuring that his conviction is overturned altogether. This type of historical revisionism has traditionally created a strong division among Canadians. Critics fear that the memory of our nations time-honored founders and military heroes could be irrevocably despoiled. Whereas supporters are encouraged as minority figures like Riel are finally recognized for their contributions to our nation. As communities all across the nation gather to mark Riels anniversary and celebrate this federally mandated Year of the Mtis, the conflicting sides of this historical dichotomy are closer than ever to agreeing upon a common history. This thesis will define and discuss historical revisionism, which will include how it is utilized in the academic and public spheres. The discussion will include how this historiographical theory is important to the Riel story and what the consequences of its implementation for our nation might be. Then this study will track the evolution of Riels legacy found within a wide selection of both academic and fictional works from 1871 to the present to demonstrate the role and legitimacy of the several key amendments. The last chapter will consider the role of trauma, as it is seen from the perspective of psychohistory, on the past present and future development of Canadian national identity/memory. Finally, the thesis will explain the importance of a new historical synthesis for national reconciliation. Moreover, because Riels story encompasses the European/Indian, French/English, Protestant/Catholic and East/West national fault-lines it has the potential of leading the way to establishing an overall synthesis of the countrys past. The work will conclude by arguing that because of the apparent willingness of the Canadian government to reconcile a number of minority grievances following the 1992 federal recognition of Riel as a founder of Manitoba, that a further amendment of Riels 1885 legacy may bring Canadians further healing.




In my third term at St. Stephens University I began a project on Louis Riel with the intent to investigate the inner workings of the man and his poetry. For various reasons the project was put aside for another time. I did not return to it until my sixth term when I had a BA thesis in mind. During this term, I was introduced to the world of historiography (HIST 380) and pre-confederation Canadian history (HIST 371). These courses led me to widen my focus from Riel as a man to one of regional and then national importance. During this period of broader study I began to make many of the connections found within this thesisconnections that ultimately stem from the SSU curriculum. Here I am thinking of the theories of history (HIST 380), ideas on minority voice and oppression (PHIL 300), postcolonial theory (LIT 375), the importance of a selfdefined narrative (HIST 365), paradigm shifts (PHIL 100) and ideas on apartheid (LIT 365). Without the diverse liberal arts curriculum here at SSU, I would not have recognized the multifaceted nature of Riels story, nor would I have understood the complex process of how one mans life has come to represent so much for so many. In other words, this project owes its inspiration to the commitment of SSU and its faculty to provide an atmosphere and curriculum that fosters not only the conveyance of knowledge but also the creation of knowledge. Of course, the research and writing of this thesis was made possible through the support of many. First and foremost, my thanks go out to the unending support of my very longsuffering wife, Gwen. She essentially played the role of a single parent for weeks, even months, on end while I sequestered myself in my office to work. As well, she gave me endless hours of attention as I verbally worked through my thoughts. As always, without her I would be lost. To my three sons, Nate, Ben and Jo-Jo, who sacrificed their much-valued Daddy-time, I also say thank you. As a dyslexic person, I would not have accomplished this without the tireless efforts of my copy editor, Judy Davids. I am certain that her red pen is nearly out of ink! She has excellent grammar skills and the sharpest of editorial eyes. I would also like to give many thanks to my supervisor, mentor and friend, Dr. Gregg Finley for his sage guidance and for allowing me to utilize his vast historiographical knowledge. My thanks also go out to my greatgreat-uncle, Dr. Aloysius Balawyder for his encouragement and support as my second reader. Finally, I would like to thank my wifes parents, Peter and Judy Davids and my parents, Ralph and Mary Bilsky for their encouragement and financial support throughout my degree. Last but not least, I give thanks to God for upholding me during this process. iii


PREFACE Every historian sets out to write a dispassionate and objective account of his/her topic; yet nothing is without a degree of subjectivity. As a Mtis person with a distant Red River heritage, I will endeavor to remain particularly vigilant in this pursuit and attempt to turn my proximity to this subject into a drive for excellence and accuracy. However, I do not foresee this as being much of a problem; because whereas this thesis does indeed deal with the life and legacy of Louis Riel to some degree, that is not its sole focus. For, I am also wrestling with the larger historiographical question: How does the correlation between the theories of revisionist history, psychohistory, the revision of Riels legacy and the recent surge of reconciliatory gestures towards Canadian minorities by Parliament indicate that the nation is undergoing a new historical synthesis? In essence Louis Riels life and legacy serve as the central example of these larger themes within the present state of Canadian history. Thus, the main body of text within this thesis will not include the usual contextual and biographical details one would expect when reading a work on an historical individual. Rather, I presuppose that my readers interests likely include Riels story (after all the title bears his name) and that as part of that interest the reader will bring a general knowledge of Riel and his era. However, so as not to leave anyone in the dark, I have provided many explanatory footnotes to either explain various contexts and terms or to point the reader in the direction of works which focus more heavily on the events within Riels life. Of course, one is also welcome to consult the somewhat lengthy annotated bibliography found at the end of this thesis for further suggested readings. Also, it must be said that while every endeavor has been made to avoid and correct any errors or biases found within this thesis by myself and my readers/editors, I, the author, humbly bare all responsibility for any remaining inaccuracies.



INTRODUCTION: ALMOST A HERO The year 2010 marked the 125th anniversary of the execution of Louis Riel for high treason against the Dominion of Canada.1, 2 Riel was a man of almosts: he almost became a priest, he almost became a lawyer, he almost became a politician and now he has almost become a national hero. The year 2010 also marked a century and a quarter of dispute among Canadians over Louis Riels life and legacy. There are those who despise Riel, describing him as a traitor, heretic, power-hungry rabble-rouser, womanizer, leader of two rebellions and even as a cold-blooded murderer. There are also those who, upon hearing the same name, beam with pride. These people think of Riel as a hero, priest, prophet, martyr, leader, defender of minority rights and the founder of Manitoba. They even consider him one of the Fathers of Canadian Confederation. Why do such contradictions exist? Whose interpretations are correct? One might think that this ageold dispute could be laid to rest by simply referencing a history textbook. However, this has not been the case. Both Riels critics and supporters have cited numerous publications as evidence of their respective positions; positions that, at one time or another, have contained faulty myths and/or faulty collective memories. The critics have their traditional accounts of Riel forcibly establishing his provisional government after taking over Fort Garry at gun point in 1869 and of the Mtis troublemaker leading his people against Canadian troops

To aid the overall literary flow of the introduction, all normally footnoted material found within this introductory chapter will be properly footnoted in subsequent chapters upon its first appearance therein. 2 All dates throughout this thesis are in the Common Era unless otherwise stated.


in a number of armed battles during the 1885 North-West Rebellion. Riel supporters rely on more modern accounts of the same events, which claim that Riels 1869 rebellion was a not a rebellion at all; but rather, the legal maneuvering of Manitoba into Canadian Confederation and that regardless of Riels role in the 1885 rebellion, he was not afforded a fair trial. Riels critics argue that history cannot be rewrittenthey insist once a traitor always a traitor. They fear that if Riels story is rewritten, the memory of our nations time-honored founders and military heroes could be irrevocably despoiled. His supporters say, not so! They argue that Riel was betrayed, deceived and railroaded by a corrupted racist and oppressive system. Numerous historians and biographers have spilled ink trying to argue for one side or the other. Many claim that Riel was delusional or insane, while others say he was simply a mystic. Some have combed through pages upon pages of detail in Riels own writings in an attempt to find the real Riel. Some have chosen a wider approach and put Riel into his historical context. Yet others have selected a more narrow focus, such as the legality of Riels trial. What has not been done, as far as this author is aware, is to look at the phenomenon of Louis Riel and his legacy from an historiographical perspective. The term historiography is often broadly used to mean the body of literature dealing with historical matters or collective histories or particular genres of history, like Canadian History3 or Womens History. However, historiography can also be used to refer to the study of the body of techniques, methods, theories, and principles of historical research and scholarship. It is this second usage that is being employed here; even more
Throughout this thesis the word History with an upper case H will either denote a genre within the study of History or the field itself. All cases where history is used with a lower case h refer to the general history of the past.

Bilsky specifically, in this case, looking at the body of historical writing on Riel and its influence on Canadians collective identity through the lens and role of the theories of historical revisionism and psychohistory.

To revise or not to revise, that is the question. With no disrespect to Shakespeare and his older and more metaphysical question, the validity and benefits of historical revisionism is at the heart of the Riel phenomenon. In order to understand Louis Riels legacy and what it means to the course of Canadian history, one must first understand the historiographical meaning and role of revisionist History. However, before a definition and discussion of this theory and its practice can get underway a deeper question needs to be asked and answered. That ever important question is one that all historians must put to their research: So what? That is, of what importance is the legacy of a man who was hung 125 years ago? Why should Canadians even care? In short, Canada has always been, and still is to some degree, less-than-whole due to a number of ethnically, religiously, linguistically and geographically inflicted wounds. Since Confederation hundreds of thousands of Canadian man-hours and tax-dollars have been spent to address the divisions between Euro-Canadians and Aboriginals, English and French, Protestants and Catholics and the paternal policies of Eastern Canada toward the West. Deep historical divisions like these have hampered Canadians ability to focus on their present and future possibilities. Louis Riel is one of the rare figures in Canadian history that represents many of the countrys major fault lines. As a French-Catholic-Mtis westerner who travelled to, was educated in and worked in Eastern Canada, Louis Riels story encompasses to some degree each of these traditional dichotomies. And, as such, his life has profoundly

Bilsky affected the course of Canadian history. But, equally so, in his role as an intermediary between these groups, the reassessment of his legacy may have the potential to bring the next step of healing that the country needs in order to move past these divisions. Psychohistorians or historians that specialize in personal/corporate inner motives and experiences like trauma argue that opposing sides like these cannot move forward, because a common past has not been established. Here is where the process of historical revisionism can make a significant contribution. When a nation has competing ethnic, linguistic, religious or regional groups, it is common for each to have its own version of the events that led to the present state of affairs; or more simply put, to have their own

version of the past. Most often the official past, the one that gets recorded as history in the textbooks, is the winners version. In Canadas case, this has generally been the English-Protestant-European eastern version of how Canada was founded. Of course, there are numerous competing versions, which are propagated and even published within the various Canadian minority groups; for instance in Quebec, Acadia and many First Nations tribes. However, national circulation and validation of these versions has traditionally been overshadowed or entirely eclipsed by the dominant English-ProtestantEuropean eastern version. For any of the opposing minority versions to be considered, there would have to be a reinterpretation of that dominant version. Here is where the reform of Louis Riels legacy can play a role. Psychohistorians who specialize in the effects of trauma on a society also argue that for a divided nation to get past a legacy of woundedness, the various competing versions of the past need to be reconciled and a new synthesis established. Then, and only then, they argue is it possible for a divided nation like Canada to move forward

Bilsky together as a whole. Therefore, this thesis is designed to assist Canadians in

understanding the theory and methodologies of historical revisionism, the reasons for the various Riel amendments from a historiographical perspective, and the debilitating effects of traumatic divisions on Canadas past, present and future. In other words, its purpose is not to argue on behalf of one side or the other. The intent is to encourage lobbyists on both sides to pause long enough to recognize the value and potential of a balanced reinterpretation and to work toward a more nuanced and collaborative adjustment of the Riel story in order to help heal Canadians collective memory/identity.


CHAPTER I HISTORICAL REVISIONISM: PURPOSE VERSUS PERCEPTION This first chapter will begin by defining and discussing historical revisionism.4 It will then elucidate the differences between revisionism as it is utilized in the field of History and its more popular usage in the public and political arenas, suggesting methods with which one can close the gap between the two. Finally, the chapter will end with an explanation of why the practice of revising history is important to both the story of Louis Riel and that of our nation.

PURPOSE Perhaps the biggest challenge that the general public faces when trying to reconcile the much-contested legacy of Louis Riel is that it is couched in revisionist history. The feedback sections that follow many of the countless online news articles on Riels legacy reveal comments like the following: Why are these people trying to rewrite history?5 You cannot just erase history!6 or, How can Riel be a traitor one day

Historical revisionism is also called revisionist history or just revisionism. Those who practice it or advocate for it are called revisionists. 5 Andrew de Souza, "All Nations Gather In Prince Albert Again," Prince Albert Daily Herald, September 8 2010, sec. C, 1, (Accessed Sep. 26, 2010). User name: Steve133. 6 Brian Norris, "Letter of the Day: Riels Legacy Unclear," Winnipeg Free Press, September 3, 2010, sec. C, editor/riels-legacy-unclear102134669.html. (Accessed Sep. 26, 2010). User name: Justsayin.


and a hero the next?7 Therefore, one would be remiss to conduct an investigation of the significance of Monsieur Riels8 story without first considering the publics aversion to its controversial nature. What exactly is revisionist history and why does the general public reject it? Historical revisionism is quite literally the practice of either updating, reinterpreting or correcting biased/inaccurate history. However, to fully appreciate why one would want to amend history, one must understand the nature of History itself. In Theogony, while detailing the genealogy of the gods, the Greek poet Hesiod explained that Clio the daughter of Mnemosyne, the god of memory, is the muse of history.9 Historians have not overlooked Hesiods proclaimed relationship between memory and history. In the 1931 Cornell University Presidential Address, historian Carl Becker argued that History in its simplest form is the memory of things said and done.10 Becker uses the term memory where others might be tempted to use a word like knowledge. Yet knowledge brings with it a number of scientific associations: it sounds absolute or encyclopedicobjective. There was a time, in the twentieth-century, when historians believed that history could be recounted objectively.11 They argued that historians should let the facts of history speak for themselves, unfettered by personal bias or political perspectives. But it is impossible to record all the facts and even if it were

Chris Shelly, "National Post Editorial Board: The Unpardonable Louis Riel," National Post, July 19 2010, sec. A,, (Accessed September 26, 2010). User name: TO483. 8 Out of respect for Louis Riel's French heritage I have chosen to use Monsieur. 9 Hesiod, Theogony; Works and Days; Shield, trans. Apostolos N. Athanassakis (Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 2004), ix. 10 Carl Becker, Everyman His Own Historian. The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources, ed. Adam Budd (New York: Routledge, 2009), 20. 11 Margaret Conrad, How Historians Complicate Things: A Brief Survey Of Canadian Historiography, Historica Dominion Institute, (Accessed Sept. 26, 2010). 1.

Bilsky possible, this would likely only confuse the matter in question. Consequently, only the relevant facts are required. The question then remains: Is it not historians who choose which facts are relevant? This very choosing begs a bias. As a result, as Becker points out, History becomes a blend of fact and interpretation.12 Furthermore, no one would advocate that a historian should choose these facts by the virtue of scientific disinterest instead of by the virtue of his or her own intelligence.13 Within todays postmodern mindset historians rarely claim absolute objectivity; rather, they admit to varying degrees that there is a complex relationship between their personal background, memories, experiences, and hierarchies, and the production of historiographical knowledge.14 It is important to note that the historiographical knowledge spoken of above is not inherent but produced. What this means is that once an event (a war, a speech, a persons life, and etcetera) has passed, the historian cannot bring to his or her reader the actual or real event.15 In its place is a representation or shadow of that event, whether it is in the form of text, audio, video or an artifact. Even a recorded speech is not the actual speech, but a representation of what the real speech sounded like. A sound recording or video is missing the atmosphere, the

energy and effects that one experiences when one is actually present at an event. If these effects were not missing, then viewers would all suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome or the debilitating effects of chemical warfare after having watched a
Becker, 26. Ibid., 24. 14 Antoniou Giorgos. The Lost Atlantis of Objectivity: the Revisionist Struggles Between the Academic and Public Spheres. History and Theory, Theme, no. 46 (December 2007): 92-112. 93. 15 This idea has its roots in Plato's Cave allegory, where the escaped prisoner sees 'real' things once outside the cave, whereas those still inside see only 'shadows' of the real things. The Allegory of the Cave can be found in Book VII of Plato's best-known work, The Republic, within a lengthy dialogue on the nature of justice or in the following online article: Steven Kries, "Plato: The Allegory Of The Cave," The History Guide: Lectures On Modern European Intellectual History, May 13, 2004, (Accessed Sept. 26, 2010). 1.
13 12

Bilsky documentary on the First World War. Something is always lost. Even artifacts have been affected by time, weather, use and abuse. Furthermore, they rarely exist in their natural context, but instead are usually found in the display cases of museums. Thus, the role of professional historians is to minimize the influences of religious and nonreligious, regional and national, social and political and individual and institutional contexts when transferring representations of the memory of the things said and done to future generations.16

Whether historians admit it or not, to a greater or lesser extent, interpretive biases affect the historical writing process. Whereas this phenomenon is somewhat recognized today; and thus, held in check, this has not always been the case. Much of Canadas early history was interpreted through a strong Anglo-Saxon, Protestant and colonial/nationalist bias.17 Examples are William Kingsfords eccentric History of Canada in ten volumes (1887-1898) or the twenty-volume Makers of Canada series (1902-1908).18 Some of Canadas early history is racist, sexist, elitist and partisan, like the first account of the Red River Rebellion19 by Alexander Begg, The Creation of Manitoba: A History of the Red River Troubles (1871). Amateur historians, lawyers, journalists or politicians penned

Antoniou, 93. Conrad, 2. 18 Ibid., 2. 19 The Red River Rebellion(1869-70) occurred when the Hudsons Bay Company of England tried to sell Ruperts Land (a region which encompassed the settlement at Red River, present day Winnipeg, Manitoba) to the newly established Canadian Confederation, The Dominion of Canada, without consulting the settlements inhabitants. It has also been called the Red River Rebellion and the Red River Troubles. In line with many historians, I have chosen Uprising or Resistance throughout in place of Rebellion in recognition of the fact that the settlers had a legal right to represent themselves and that Canada did not yet own the territory at the time of the resistance.




most of Canadas early history.20 University-trained historians only became the norm in Canada in the early twentieth century.21 This increase in university-trained historians throughout the first half of the twentieth century led to a new environmental determinantthat of diversity. With increases in enrollment and the accessibility of smaller universities in smaller centers throughout the country, the arena of Canadian history suddenly had many fresh new voices. These young historians came armed with new methodologies, practices and interests.22 Many challenged the national theories of the Frontier Thesis,23 Staples Thesis,24 Laurentian Thesis25 and the Francophone Differential Thesis.26, 27 These were replaced with inquiries into Canadas limited identities of region, class and ethnicity.

Ibid., 2. Ibid., 2. 22 A.B McKillop, Historiography in English, in The Canadian, ed, (accessed Sept. 26, 2010). 1. 23 As Conrad states, the Frontier thesis was formulated in 1893, when American historian Frederick Jackson Turner theorized that the availability of unsettled land throughout much of American history was the most important factor determining national development. Frontier experiences and new opportunities forced old traditions to change, institutions to adapt and society to become more democratic as class distinctions collapsed. The result was a unique American society, distinct from the European societies from which it originated. 24 As Conrad states, the Staples Thesis was formulated in the 1920s by economic historians Harold A. Innis and W.A. Mackintosh. The theory asserts that the export of natural resources, or staples, from Canada to more advanced economies has a pervasive impact on the economy as well as on the social and political systems. Furthermore, different staples (fur, fish, timber, grain, oil, and etcetera) have differing impacts on rates of settlement, federal-provincial conflicts, and etcetera. 25 As Conrad states, the Laurentian Thesis was an influential theory of economic and national development set forth by several major English Canadian historians from the 1930s through the 1950s. The theory received its most sustained and sophisticated expression in the writings of Donald Creighton. Creighton argued that Canadian economic and national development derived fundamentally from the gradual exploitation of key staple products - fur, timber and wheat - by colonial merchants in the major metropolitan centers of the St. Lawrence River system. 26 According to Quebec historian Ronald Rudin the Differential Thesis came out of FranoisXavier Garneau's Histoire Du Canada, the most important historiographical work ever published in French in Canada, which appeared in Qubec City in 1845-48. For the French the conflict did not end with the Conquest; after 1791 it simply moved indoors to the Parliament. Garneau's argument that a perpetual struggle for survival was the central element of French Canadian history and that this struggle shaped French Canada differently than the forces shaping English Canada making the French culture a unique or distinct society 27 Conrad, 3.




Women, African Canadians and Aboriginal peoples soon added their voices to the chorus demanding a more inclusive understanding of the past.28 Even French Canadian historians began to challenge the role of the English conquest, positing that Quebecs history developed in the normal western industrialized fashion.29 Revisionist historians rightly seek to alter or rehabilitate earlier interpretations that are biased, inaccurate and exclusive. These prejudices and inexactitudes are often discovered through new inclusive veins of research, which can be at first seen as deviations from the status quo of the discipline.30 As a result of these new lines of inquiry, new evidence or previously ignored evidence is discovered and new methodologies and data available through new technologies (such as carbon dating or DNA testing) are utilized.31 Consequently, advocates of revisionism propose alternative visions and a detachment from that which is established, unquestioned, familiar, common, or sacred.32 They may also directly challenge the moral, cognitive, and epistemological categories within and outside academia.33 In his 2007 article for the journal History and Theory entitled The Lost Atlantis of Objectivity, historian Giorgos Antoniou also states the following: In practice, revisionism is a way to control the scholarly field, to disqualify or reaffirm old institutions. While this might be considered primarily a scholarly issue, the successful or futile attempt is publically manifested and is connected to the wider political situation and to collective identity crises.34

Ibid., 4. Ronald Rudin, Revisionism and the Search for a Normal Society: A Critique of Recent Quebec Historical Writing, Canadian Historical Review 73, no. 1 (March 1992): 31. 30 Antoniou, 96. 31 Conrad, 4. 32 Antoniou, 97. 33 Ibid., 97. 34 Antoniou, 95.


Bilsky This is undoubtedly the case with Louis Riels modern legacy as a Mtis35 hero and Father of Confederation. For, there is a multitude of editorial articles right across the


country publically debating the validity and ramifications of the current Riel revisionism on a weekly basis.36 Furthermore, politicians of all stripes have also publically joined in the discourse on this topic, including the previous Governor General, the Honorable Adrienne Clarkson and the Mtis National Council President, Clment Chartier. This tendency of the discourse on Riels legacy to manifest publically is the reason it is so important to discuss public perceptions of historical revisionism.

PERCEPTION Having defined the focus and purpose of amending history as an important and necessary means of improving accuracy and balance within the study of History, it is now prudent to examine the reason for the general publics rejection of it. Of course, many will resist an alteration of the dominant historical narrative simply because it challenges their worldview. Psychologist Deborah Lyon has shown that a persons worldview acts as an anxiety-buffer and when it is challenged or threatened with an opposing worldview there is a tendency to react irrationally with fear and anger.37 Therefore, a modification of ones view of the meta-narrative of their nations history, which

The Mtis are a distinct culture, which is derived from the union of the French and Indian (usually Cree) races trading furs for the Montreal based Northwest Company or the Scottish/English traders working for the Hudsons Bay Company (traditionally called half-breeds, but now included under the Mtis title). For a gripping and in depth look at Mtis culture from a Mtis perspective one should read Maria Campbells: Riels People: How The Mtis Lived, Half-Breed or Stories of the Road Allowance People. 36 For further insight into the public debate over Riel and Mtis identity I have compiled a shortlist of such articles in the bibliography. 37 Deborah Lyon. Evidence for Terror Management Theory II: The Effects of Mortality Salience on Reactions to Those Who Threaten or Bolster the Cultural Worldview. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 58, No. 2 (1990). Pp. 308-318. 310.




challenges its validity by exposing inaccuracies and biases, is unlikely to be received with favor. Another factor working against revisionist histories is the protection of personal, family and national heroes. There are those who fear that the memory of our nations time-honored founders and military heroes are at risk of being ruined or reversed when it comes to adjusting the nations history. In the case of Louis Riel, those who fought against him at Duck Lake, Fish Creek and Batoche have long been honored as heroes and received Canadas first military medals. If the 1885 Northwest Rebellion is reinterpreted (as some suggest it should be) as a fair resistance to the tyranny of Protestant Eastern Canada, then what is to become of these soldiers legacies? Further complicating matters is the questionable role of Canadas first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, during the Red River Uprising, the Northwest Rebellion and Riels trial. No matter how respectfully and professionally revisionist historians treat these and other issues, the general public, and even more so those with vested interests in maintaining the status quo interpretations (like Veteran Affairs Minister Peter Goldring),38 will naturally resist and misunderstand any reassessment to some degree. However, the main cause of public resistance to historical revisionism is found within the modern media. All too often columnists, commentators and political pundits alike use the term revisionism as if it were an off-color four-letter word. In the political or public arena to call someone a revisionist has become metaphorically equal to plucking your glove off and slapping them in the face. The reason for all this hostility
Mr. Goldring has long been outspoken against any type of Riel revisionism, stating that Riel was found directly responsible for the 1885 Northwest Rebellion and as such the deaths of dozens of Canadian soldiers. Goldrings obvious agenda is the protection of the legacy of those fallen soldiers and their comrades who survived the battles. Several articles authored by Mr. Goldring in defense of his position are listed in the bibliography.

Bilsky stems from the publics perception of the term: a perception which is constantly being conflated by either a media desperately in search of the next big controversy or any number of politicians frantically trying to discredit an opponent. 39 Thus, readers are bombarded almost daily with headlines like Becks Crash Course: Revisionist


History,40 DPP Lawmakers Slam Revisionist History Curriculum,41 Washing Blood Off Their Hands42 or Revising Offensive History is to Deny Reality.43 The message to the general public is thus clear: rewriting history is wrong, dishonest and immoral. As stated above, revisionist history is not bad history; rather, it is the best kind of history. The media and general public do not share the aforementioned definition of revisionism; instead they commonly use the term as if it were synonymous with negationism. Negationism, unlike revisionism, consists of the illegitimate alteration of history by utilizing false evidence, misleading text, skewed statistics and so forth for the purpose of propagandafor example, the Holocaust denial or Soviet historiography.44 With its tenuous connection to proper historical reinterpretation and politicians penchant to practice it, negationism has helped swing the publics opinion of revisionist history to one of suspicion and outrage
For further insight into the manner in which the media and politicians are vilifying revisionism the author has compiled a short-list of articles in the bibliography. Also, to demonstrate that this is not just a Canadian phenomenon, examples from the United States and elsewhere have been purposely included. 40 Glenn Beck. Becks Crash Course: Revisionist History. Fox News: Glenn Beck Transcript. (September 9, 2010).,2933,600982,00. html. (Accessed: September 26, 2010.) 1. 41 Vincent Y Chao. DPP Lawmakers Slam Revisionist History Curriculum. Taipei Times. (September 14, 2010). 2010/09/14 /2003482855. (Accessed: September 26, 2010). 1. 42 Adam McDowell. Washing Blood Off Their Hands. National Post. (September 25, 2010). (Accessed: September 26, 2010). 1. 43 Doug Cuthand. Revising Offensive History is to Deny Reality. The Star Phoenix. (January 21, 2011). story.html. (Accessed: January 22, 2011). 1. 44 Kochiro Matsuura. World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance: Durban, South Africa. Paris: UNESCO (2001). 17.



How can this grievous misunderstanding of historical revisionism be addressed? One answer is that academias theory and knowledge of History needs to be disseminated to the general public. This bringing of history to the people is already being done to some extent through popular media such as: Canadas History Magazine (formerly called The Beaver), Canadian Film Board documentaries, Canadian Broadcasting Companys radio and television productions and websites similar to However, readership of popular history magazines is generally limited to professional and amateur historians and enthusiasts.45 Furthermore, these types of media rarely focus on the theoretical side of history; rather, they dramatize and popularize parochial stories and events primarily for entertainment, with historical education as a secondary purpose. If Canadians are going to benefit from the knowledge that there is no single, eternal, and immutable truth about past events and their meaning, a wider audience must be reached.46 An obvious delivery method, which comes to mind, is the nations public high school curriculum. Nearly every young person in the country attends high school, making it an excellent venue to distribute the message that the unending quest of historians for understanding the pastthat is, revisionismis what makes history vital and meaningful.47 Admittedly, it has been a number of years since I walked the halls of

For instance, Canada's History Magazine's website reports that its readership base is 50,000 strong; however this is still less than one hundredth of a percent of the country's population. (Accessed: December 15, 2010) About-us.aspx. 46 James McPherson, Revisionist Historians, American Historical Association, September 2003, (accessed December 17, 2010). 1. 47 McPherson, 1.


Bilsky F. W. Johnson Collegiate48 (my high school); but I do recall however, a history lesson


condemning the revisionist practices of the USSR. In that lesson there was no mention of negationism or of any type of respectable reinterpretation for that matter; but all modifications were simply labeled wrong. If changes have been made to lectures like these, then the public comments mentioned at the beginning of this chapter certainly do not reflect them. Another manner of distributing knowledge would be for professional historians to reach out to the general public. The tens of thousands of members of the Canadian and American Historical Associations49 need to share with the public their belief that revisionism is the lifeblood of historical scholarship and that [i]nterpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, [and] new perspectives gained by the passage of time.50 One way this could be done, and to some extent is being done, is through the outreach programs of the Canadian National History Society, which provide primary and high school teachers with lesson plans and resources.51 The drawback of these programs is they are not well advertised. Teachers have to go looking for them and if, as in many cases, the teachers teaching history modules to students are not historians or enthusiasts, then they have little reason to be a member of the Canadian National History Society. Of course, academics and professionals can and sometimes do engage the public directly. I have seen this done recently by Riel biographer and respected historian

F. W. Johnson Collegiate is in Regina, Saskatchewan. I attended the school between 1986 and

1990. I have included the American Historical Association here because of the significant crossover of research between Canadian and American historians and the similarities in public opinion toward revisionism in the two nations. 50 McPherson, 1. 51 These can be found at the following link:

Bilsky Maggie Siggins in a recent article featured in the Winnipeg Free Press, entitled Exonerate Riel? Certainly.52 Other examples might include historian Jack Granastein as director of the Canadian War Museum from 1998 to 2001 or the scholars who


contributed to the Canadian Broadcasting Networks series entitled, Canada: A Peoples History (2000-01). Regardless of how it is done, the apparent grey zone between the public perceptions and academic definitions when it comes to historical revisionism needs to be addressed if the average Canadian is going to benefit from revising poor or outdated history. For example, the first historical account of Riels life story was the previously mentioned and very partisan Anglo-Saxon Protestant interpretation by the journalist and future Queens Printer, Alexander Begg. Because, The Creation of Manitoba: A History of the Red River Troubles is based on Beggs own journals, he makes no effort to curtail his personal/cultural opinions and biases. The next work done on Riel was by Joseph Collins, another reporter and Orangeman, from Toronto. Collins The Story of Louis Riel: the Rebel Chief came out in the year 1885, shortly after Riel was hung for high treason against the crown.53 Like Beggs earlier book, Collins account is bursting with inaccuracies and racist statements; it even has its very own fictitious captivity narrative. 54

Maggie Siggins, Exonerate Riel? Certainly, Winnipeg Free Press, December 4 2010, sec. A,, (Accessed December 17, 2010). 1. Maggie Siggins is among the top three Riel scholars of this age. The other two are Gerald Friesen and Thomas Flanagan. All follow in the footsteps of perhaps the greatest Riel scholar, G. F. G. Stanley. 53 J. E. Collins. The Story of Louis Riel: the Rebel Chief. (Toronto: Collins Inc., 1885). i. 54 A captivity narrative is defined as follows: an account of capture by Native American tribes, such as those created by writers Mary Rowlandson and John Williams in colonial times. They are exaggerated versions of the truth or altogether fictitious. In the colonial period, especially during times of racial conflict, colonialist captivity tales frequently served as narratives of absolution and overwrite; these texts mask colonialisms extensive use of technologies of capture against indigenous peoples and are typically restricted to periods where the ruling class has control of the printing press.




THE HISTORICAL WINDOW Another problem with both of these works is that they were published too chronologically close to their respective events. Ironically, the passage of time can have a positive effect on the accuracy of history. If a work is written too close in time to an event then there can be several drawbacks. The first and most common downside is a lack of information or time to check the accuracy of the information that is available against documented empirical evidence. How many of Riels own writings, journals, poems, correspondences and etcetera had been made public or archived in the few months that separated these accounts and their events? Considering the facts that the National Archives of Canada were not created until the year after Beggs book was published and that Regina, in Collins time, was a three to four week journey from Toronto, the likelihood of either of these authors having consulted many primary documents is extremely slim.55 Another obvious weakness of history that is written too close to its event is that there are often cultural, political, religious and economic blind spots caused by the authors inability to step out of his or her various contexts and objectively consider the wider factors at play.56 With an appropriate passage of time, all these shortcomings become neutralized. The exact length of time that is appropriate will vary from event to event, with one key indicator being a political or ideological shift, which allows for freer inquiry. In some cases access to documents will remain restricted for a number of years, as is the case with the Department of External Affairs and the Vatican archives. Once these things begin to

55 56

McKillop, 2. Antoniou, 95.

Bilsky fall into place, an historical window opens allowing for the best kind of history. Normally this window only begins to close when documents or artifacts are lost or deteriorate beyond use. Riel studies have enjoyed an open historical window for several decades now, making it an ideal time for adjusting his story.57 And that is exactly what countless historians, biographers, novelists, graphic novelists, play wrights, classical composers, songwriters, politicians and ethnic leaders have done.58 The online bookstore

19 lists more than three hundred varied works on Louis Riel.59 This window is significant for two very important reasons. The first reason is that Riels story is central to the story of the Mtis. Thus, the Mtis have been waiting a long time for an informed account of their history, a history that has traditionally been undervalued and whose reinterpretation is overdue. The second reason that Riels story is so important is that it encapsulates, to a large degree, several of the nations major fault lines French/English, Catholic/Protestant, Aboriginal/Euro-Canadian, and East/West.60 Riels story combines all these dichotomies and according to Toronto lawyer and relative of Riel, Jean Teillet, [n]o other individual in our history has done that.61 While Teillet is obviously overreaching here, Riel is surely among a select few personalities that have encompassed


This is evidenced by the ground swell of biographical and other works published on Riel since

the 1960's. Albert Braz. The False Traitor: Louis Riel in Canadian Culture. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003). 2. 59 Amazon, (, (History Books and Biographies Retailer Database [Side Bar]; Accessed December 6, 2010). 60 Jean Teillet, Putting history in a noose, The Globe and Mail, November 16 2010, sec. A,, (accessed December 17, 2010). 1. 61 Teillet, 1.



so many of Canadas national divisions. Consequently, the candidacy of Riels story for reinterpretation is not just one of ethnic significance but also one of national importance. For, if one rewrites Riels story, then by default one rewrites a portion of the national narrative.62 Therefore, a comprehensive look at how Monsieur Riels story has been treated over the last 140 years is not only in order, but also may prove essential to understanding where Canadian national identity goes from here.


Ibid., 1.




This second chapter will demonstrate how the previously mentioned early accounts of Riels life influenced both public opinion and the subsequent works on Riels Red River legacy. Inaccuracies and biases found within a selection of the body of Riel literature published over the last 140 years will help shape this discussion.63 Finally, through a careful examination of the extant evidence surrounding Louis Riels trial, and Prime Minister Macdonalds role therein, a case will be made for the consideration of the recent call to revise Monsieur Riels North-West Rebellion legacy.64

A REBEL IS BORN As touched upon in the previous chapter, Alexander Beggs The Creation of Manitoba: A History of the Red River Troubles (1871) carries the distinction of being the first book ever to be published on Louis Riel. Beggs book was based on his own personal journals and was originally printed in a series of letters to the Toronto Globe in 186970 under the pseudonym Justitia.65, 66 Initially the Quebec born businessman and journalist was supportive of the struggle by Mtis and local settlers to protect their rights
A selection of Riel literature and cultural works are listed by category in the bibliography. That is to say that an amendment is needed due to inaccuracies and misrepresented or ignored evidence only, not that the author is, or is not, supporting any particular revision. 65 D. R. Owram. Alexander Begg. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Volume XII 18911900. PHPSESSID=1cp92t3vt4s18eptta8rfv7ot3 (Accessed: January 25, 2011) 1. 66 Justitia is Latin for Lady Justice, which suggests that Beggs version is morally correct.
64 63

Bilsky against the imperial forces of Canada. However, due to a strong mistrust of Riel and a disapproval of the seizure of Upper Fort Garry, 67 Beggs loyalties shifted and his criticisms turned toward the resistance.68 The Macdonald government rewarded those


loyalties shortly after Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation when Begg received a number of public-office appointments.69 In 1877 Begg was appointed the Queens Printer of Manitoba. The following year he became the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Legislature as well as the Deputy Treasurer, posts that he held until 1884.70 Beggs account is plagued with error and bias and his inability to separate his historical observations from not only his political position, but also the acrimonious personal rifts that characterized Red River on the eve of its union with Canada.71 Two examples of these inaccuracies are the following: Beggs claim that the Portage party72 of English settlers under the leadership of Major Boulton,73 who set out to attack the fort and

Oram, 1. Begg reportedly found Riel arrogant and pushy after the Mtis leader had a disagreement with Beggs business partner. Upper Fort Garry was a fortified stone structure and the Hudson Bay Companys headquarters. Alexander Begg disapproved of usurping the authority of the English controlled Hudsons Bay Company as they had been in good standing with the citizens of Red River for some time. 68 Owram, 1. 69 The Manitoba Act was passed in 1870 essentially bringing the territory into Confederation as a full province. However, it took a couple years to get fully established with all the typical political trimmings of other provinces. For instance, Manitoba was not initially led by a Premier, but rather by a series of Chief Ministers. There was an absence of party politics until 1888 and the province did not have responsible government until 1874 under Chief Minister Marc-Amable Girard. Thus, Beggs appointments would be some of the earliest in the governments history. 70 Ibid., 1. 71 Ibid., 1. 72 The Portage party was a group of English settlers stirred up by the recently released Orangeman, Thomas Scott, who had incidentally escaped from the Fort Garry prison, and led by Major Boulton. It is called the Portage party because they gathered, planned and set the attack in motion from the nearby settlement of Portage la Prairie. 73 Major Charles Arkoll Boulton was a retired Major in the Canadian militia and Orangeman who accompanied the original surveyors for Canada who started the Resistance. Boultons leadership resulted in arrest and imprisonment, with himself and Scott tried for treason against the provisional government and sentenced to death. Boulton was pardoned and Scott was not. Boulton somewhat redeemed himself during the 1885 Northwest Rebellion and was eventually appointed to the senate.


Bilsky dispose of Riel, was in fact a peaceful group of men on their way home.74 Beggs misguided interpretation of the intent of the Portage party, who consequently had made


their resolve to take the fort quite public, encouraged his readers to follow his logic that the subsequent arrest of the Portage party was unlawful. Of course, his argument then follows that the imprisonment and execution of Thomas Scott was equally unlawful.75 With the success or failure of Riels government often balancing on the Scott execution, Beggs misjudgment influenced many peoples opinion of the Red River Rebellion for years to come.76 Another mistake found within the pages of Beggs book is his claim that two lives were lost during the Portage expedition.77 In fact, the entire Resistance claimed but a single life, that of the Orangeman78 Thomas Scott.79 The low loss of human life during the Red River Rebellion has been attributed largely to Riels statesmanship and the preemptive arrests (and subsequent release) of dissenters to minimize the risk of civil war. Riels own correspondence with the Portage party the night before they marched on Upper Fort Garry stands as evidence of his desire to maintain peace. Dated February 16, 1870, the letter reads as follows:

Alexander Begg. The Creation of Manitoba or A History of the Red River Troubles. (Toronto: A. V. Fovey, 1871). 286. 75 Begg, 288. 76 Many historians and political scientists see Scotts death/murder as Riels only mistake during the Red River Troubles; for instance: Stanley, Morton, Siggins and Flanagan. 77 Ibid., 289. 78 The Orange Order was an anti-Catholic supremacist Protestant fraternal organization based mainly in Northern Ireland, Scotland and England, though it had lodges throughout the Colonies. It was founded in 1796 in Ireland. The name is a tribute to Dutch-born Protestant William of Orange, who defeated the army of Catholic James II in 1690. 79 This fact is unanimously recorded in numerous sources, including the Manitoba Historical Societys webpage, the Dictionary of Canadian Biographys entry on Louis Riel, G. F. G. Stanleys The Birth of Western Canada: A History of the Riel Rebellions and Louis Riel, A. S. Mortons A History of Canada West to 1870-71, D. N. Spragues Canada and the Mtis: 1869-1885, Gerald Friesens The Canadian Prairies: A History, Thomas Flanagans Louis 'David' Riel: 'Prophet of the New World' and Maggie Siggins Riel: A Life of Revolution to name but a few.


Bilsky Fellow Countrymen: Mr. Norquay came this morning with a message, and even he has been delayed. He will reach you time enough to tell you that for my part I understand that war, horrible civil war, is the destruction of this country; and Shultz will laugh at us, if after all, he escapes. We are ready to meet any party; but peace, our British rights, we want before all. Gentlemen, the prisoners are outthey have sworn to keep peace. We have taken the responsibility of our past acts. Mr. William MacTavish has asked you, for the sake of God, to form and complete the Provisional Government. Your representatives have joined us on that ground. Who will now come and destroy Red River Settlement? Louis Riel80 Aside from errors like these, Beggs account also contains biases. To highlight


but one account of Beggs opinion in favor of the English settlers the following quote has been included: The non-release of the prisoners excited feelings amongst the English settlers not at all friendly towards Riel and his party, especially when it became known that Mr. Wm. Hallet had been put in irons for some breach of his prison discipline. We must say that, under the circumstances, it was a piece of unnecessary cruelty, placing a captive in irons when there were so many men in the Fort for the purpose of guarding the prisoners. It should have been remembered that Mr. Hallet had a family living in the Settlement, who, doubtless, would feel very anxious regarding his fate, on hearing of the extreme rigor of his position. Although (as it was reported), a few of the prisoners may have created a disturbance, and, by doing so, irritated their guards almost beyond patience, that of itself was no excuse for the harsh measures inflicted upon William Hallet.81 The above statement, which is indicative of much of the book, makes one wonder how the English Historical Review writer W. P. Morell in his review of G. F. G. Stanleys and A. S. Mortons Alexander Begg's Red River Journal and Other Papers Relative in the

Louis Riel. The Collected Writings of Louis Riel / Les Ecrits Complets De Louis Riel - Volumes 1-5. Edited by Stanley, George F. G.; Raymond Huel; Gilles Martel; Thomas Flanagan; et al. (Edmonton, Alberta: The University of Alberta Press, 1985). Vol. 2 Pp. 259. 81 Begg, 262.




Red River Resistance of 1869-70 (1956) could claim that Beggs book was a document so full, graphic and yet impartial [that it] deserved publication in extenso82 Besides the countless pamphlets and newspaper articles coming out of Orange Ontario83 calling for Riels head in retribution for the murder of Thomas Scott84 and their opposites originating in Quebec heralding Riel as a French hero, the next historical account of Riels life recounted his role in the 1885 Northwest Rebellion and his subsequent execution for high treason. The previously mentioned book by J. E. Collins entitled, The Story of Louis Riel: the Rebel Chief (1885) has since been classified as historical fiction. However, according to University of Albertas professor of comparative literature, Albert Braz, Collins book was received as history when it was published and many commentators, reporters and authors continued to regard it as such until as late as the 1970swell after Collins admitted that his book was fictional in 1886 at the launch of his second Riel novel, Annette the Mtis Spy: A Heroine of the Northwest Rebellion.85 Due to The Rebel Chiefs longevity as an influential historical narrative the novel has been included here. Joseph Edmund Collins was a journalist and freelance writer who became the editor of the Globe in Toronto from 1881-1883. He was also responsible for fostering the birth of Canadian Literature as a distinct genre through his mentorship of the

W. P. Morell. Review: Alexander Begg's Red River Journal and Other Papers Relative in the Red River Resistance of 1869-70. The English Historical Review. (Vol. 73, No. 286: January, 1958). 178. In extenso is Latin for in its entirety or full length. 83 The term Orange Ontario has long been used by historians to describe the ideological trend within Ontario during much of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries toward Orangism. See footnote 77 on page 22 for more on the Orange Order. 84 The most prominent example among this type of propaganda is without a doubt Ontario Premier and Orangeman, Edward Blakes $5000.00 reward for the capture and conviction of Riel for the murder of Scott (1872). 85 Albert Braz. The False Traitor: Louis Riel in Canadian Culture. (Toronto, University of Toronto Press: 2003). 50.


Bilsky Confederation Poets Charles D. G. Roberts, Archibald Lampman and William Bliss Carman. In his early career Collins published an equally poor biography of John A. Macdonald entitled, Life and Times of the Right Honourable Sir John A. Macdonald: Premier of the Dominion of Canada (1883). 86 In fact, according to historian M. Brook Taylor, Collins only work to achieve notoriety from his peers was his biography of Rieldue to its overt racism.87 One has to read only a few pages of The Rebel Chief to recognize its racial and political biases. The fact that Collins contemporaries did not react to its racist views


with the same visceral response to that of some modern readers is likely because racism towards Mtis or half-breeds was not only typical in nineteenth-century Canadian society but also institutionalized.88 Moreover, many eastern Canadians had a distinct air of authority and supremacy toward westerners. With these cultural norms in mind and Collins numerous footnotes and references to newspaper articles or relevant correspondences, it quickly becomes clear why his book was blindly accepted as fact but fact it was not!

A CAPTIVITY NARRATIVE For instance, Collins entire account is centered on the friction between Louis Riel and Thomas Scott, but not because of their obvious religious and political differences.

Taylor M. Brook.Joseph Edmund Collins. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Volume XII. _nbr=6040&interval=25&&PHPSESSID=7ovb9jim3q785g73hvc4kkkg26 (Accessed: January 26, 2011) 1. 87 Taylor, 1. 88 Consult the Indian Act of 1876 for a snapshot of the type of legalized racism that was in place toward Indians and Mtis in the 1880s. For a cultural sample of the same views read the poetry of Duncan Campbell Scott.


Bilsky Instead, the Orangeman reporter has the two adversaries fighting over a local Mtisse89 girl named Marie.90 According to Collins, both men fell in love with Marie, but she chose Scott over Riel. Out of jealously and revenge Riel tried to expel Scott from the territory and put Marie and her elderly father under house arrest. Scott was eventually captured and imprisoned, at which point Riel bartered for Marie against Scotts life.


Scott refused to leave the girl to Riel and proceeded to escape, to which Collins reports, Riel shouted, Scott has foiled me! and the outwitted tyrant-libertine swore the most terrible oaths, that he would be revenged.91 After some time the handsome, brave and capable Scott saved the pair from the evil half-breed dog and whisked them out of the country to a safe house in Montana.92 Scott was re-captured with the Portage party and Riel threatened his life if he would not give up the whereabouts of Marie.93 Scott responded with belligerence so Riel drummed up false charges against him and court-marshaled him in a sham trial.94 Scott was then sentenced to death by firing squad, which was consequently blundered so Riel drew a pistol and shot the injured Scott in the head from close range.95 However, Scott refused to die and was put into a coffin while he was still alive and shamelessly tossed through the ice into the Red River.96, 97

Mtisse is the feminine version of Mtis. Collins, 31. 91 Ibid., 52. 92 Ibid., 20. 93 Ibid., 57. 94 Ibid., 68. 95 Ibid., 73. 96 Ibid., 74. 97 This entire section of Collins book is written in a popular genre of the nineteenth-century known as a captivity narrative. A captivity narrative is defined as: an account of capture by Native American tribes, such as those created by writers Mary Rowlandson and John Williams in colonial times. They are exaggerated versions of the truth or altogether fictitious. In the colonial period, especially during time of racial conflict, colonialist captivity tales frequently served as narratives of absolution and overwrite;




In reality there was no girl. Riel and Scott had never met before the latters first arrest with the Shultz party.98 Scott did escape, with several others, and was later recaptured with the Portage party.99 Scott did not hide his Orangeman, racist, religious and political views while incarcerated; rather he repeatedly taunted and cussed his guards.100 On two separate occasions Scott physically attacked the guards.101 At this point Scott was tried for two different accounts of trying to overthrow the legally mandated and recognized provisional government, repeated disorderly conduct, escape and two counts of attacking his guards.102 Riel was not involved or present at the trial; his men pushed for it and conducted it while he remained reticent.103 Scott was found guilty and sentenced to death by firing squad. Riel wanted mercy, but his men pressed him to set an example.104 Thus, Scott was shot by firing squad and buried. The coffin was dug up in the night and Scotts body was never recovered; nor were the perpetrators found.105

EARLY INFLUENCES As mentioned above, Collins account of Riel and the Red River Uprising was presented as historical biography and received by many as valid for nearly ninety years. Thus, most other late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century accounts are of a
these texts mask colonialisms extensive use of technologies of capture against indigenous peoples and are typically restricted to periods where the ruling class has control of the printing press. 98 Dr. Shultz was an Englishman from Canada who had come to Red River to ensure the spread of Protestant Anglo-Saxon values. He organized the first attack on Upper Fort Garry, but before violence could start he and his party were all arrested and imprisoned at the fort. 99 Thomas Flanagan. Louis David Riel: Prophet of the New World. (Toronto: Toronto University Press Inc., 1996). 112. 100 Maggie Siggins. Riel: A Life of Revolution. (Toronto: Harper Collins, 1994). 134. 101 G. F. G. Stanley. Louis Riel. (Toronto: Ryerson, 1963). 151. 102 Gerald Friesen. The Canadian Prairies: A History. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987). 289. 103 Joseph Boydon. Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont. (Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2010. 74. 104 Joseph Kinsey Howard. Strange Empire: Louis Riel and the Mtis People. (Toronto: James, Lewis & Samuel, 1952). 210. 105 Flanagan, 123.



similar tone and quality. Many were published anonymously (like Collinss was initially) or under a pseudonym. An early example would be the anonymous account published late in 1885 by the Witness Printing House entitled, The Riel Rebellion of 1885.106 That authors preface states the following: In this work, care has been taken to preserve only the romance of truth, discarding apocryphal embellishments. Substantial accuracy can be vouched for.107 Unfortunately for Historys sake, substantial accuracy in this case is nothing more than code for substantial propaganda; for among other untruths, the author claims that Riel comes from Irish lineage probably an ORielly and that the rebellion erupted more unexpectedly than a volcanic eruptionwith no warnings.108 Louis Riel was one-eighth Indian blood, his paternal grandmother being a FrancoChipewyan Mtisse. His paternal grandfather was Jean-Baptiste Riel, dit LIrlande. Dit is used primarily in France to signify a nickname attached to someone from a large familyJean-Baptise had ten siblings, possibly some with similar names to his. LIrlande is French for Ireland; it is unknown how the nickname came about, but regardless, this is likely where the error stems from. That being said, the Irish were seen by English Protestants as little better than savages,109 so it may have simply been an attempt to slander Riel and have no reference to his grandfather at all. Riels maternal grandparents are both of French descent. As to the other claim, the Northwest Rebellion had years of warnings. The white settlers and the Mtis had voiced their concerns to Governor Dewdney and sent numerous petitions to Ottawa requesting their land claims be settled. The Plains Indians had also

Bruce Braden Peel; Ernest Boyce Ingles and Norman Merrill Distad. Peel's Bibliography of the Canadian Prairies to 1953. (Google Books, 2003). 212. 107 Anonymous. The Riel Rebellion of 1885. (Montreal: Witness Printing House, 1885). 1. 108 Anonymous, 1. 109 Both Collins and Begg make mention of the English settlers distaste for the Irish in Red River.



complained about starvation and failed treaty promises to the Indian Agent. The settlers and Mtis became tired of being ignored and sent for Riel to come back from Montana to help. The local clergy and North-West Mounted Police also warned Macdonald, who did nothing in response. Riel re-issued petitions and eventually an ultimatum; it too was ignored and a provisional government was announced. Macdonalds response was to

send 500 North-West Mounted Police to the region in case things got serious. This was not the actions of a government with no idea that a rebellion was looming.

THE METAMORPHOSIS BEGINS -1869 By the end of the Second World War, Riel revisionism had gotten underway. This was largely due to the competent scholarship of George F. G. Stanley and his book, The Birth of Western Canada: A History of the Riel Rebellions (1936) as well as A. S. Mortons, A History of Canadas West to 1870-71(1939). Stanleys account of the rebellions was not only a serious academic attempt at capturing these events, it was also the first to recognize their significance in relation to Canadian Confederation and the development of the West as a whole. Stanley picks up on the various nuances of the French versus English,110 Catholic versus Protestant111 and West versus East struggles.112

This rivalry has its roots in Europe and goes back to the Norman invasion of England (1066). The French were the first to colonize Eastern Canada or New France (1534) as it was known until after the Sevens War (1754-59 and 1762-63); which resulted in the loss of New France. Canada, now called British North America, had a French majority until the Loyalists emigrated from America after its War of Independence (1775-83). The English Protestant loyalists assumed supremacy over the now indigenous French, who have been struggling to resist English Anglicization polices ever since. 111 The divide between Catholics and Protestants also came over from the Old World. Once the British had power in Canada many anti-Catholic laws were put into place and privilege of religion was granted to the Protestant Church. Government support of both Catholic and Protestant schools in Manitoba were part of the Manitoba Act of 1970 that Riels government helped create. Among many other issues, the support of Catholic schools from public tax dollars is still an issue today. 112 At the time of Confederation and before (via the fur trade), Eastern Canada saw the west as its rightful source of resources. As Manifest Destiny swept both America and Canada, the west became the




Mortons book is the first to provide a specialized focus on Western Canada and helped inaugurate a whole new field of study for Canadian historians.113 Whereas much of the partisan rhetoric that had been traditionally part of the literature on Riel has been eliminated from Stanley and Mortons works, they are still a product of their time and culture. Thus, the bias of European supremacy remained intact as well as a general unwillingness to completely vindicate Riel or to judge the Macdonald government too harshly. This is evidenced by Stanley and Mortons next book on Riel, which they co-authored and published in 1956Alexander Begg's Red River Journal and Other Papers Relative in the Red River Resistance of 1869-70. With thirty more years of consideration and investigation into Riels rebellions as Stanleys earlier book calls them, the authors now purposely chose the term resistance in reference to the Red River Troubles. This change in perspective may seem slight, but to Canadian History and Riels legacy it is of paramount importance, because it marks the first time that a historian recognized the legality of the Red River Uprising. What changed Stanley and Mortons minds? New evidenceevidence obtained not from Riels writings or that of his biographers; but instead from the newly considered nationally archived Macdonald Papers.114, 115 Within these five-hundred volumes of government documents,

target of English immigration as a means of securing the northern portion of the continent and ensuring Protestant values and English commerce and trade were spread from sea to sea. The west wanted equality. 113 Conrad, 1. 114 Donald G. Creighton. Sir John Macdonald and Canadian Historians. The Canadian Historical Review. (Vol. XXI, No. 1 Toronto: 1948). 1. 115 Sir John A. Macdonald died in 1843, following which Sir Joseph Pope spent the next twenty years collecting and compiling Macdonalds papers for his biography of the nations first Prime Minister, which he published in 1917. The papers then moved to the possession of Baroness Agnes Macdonald, Macdonalds second wife. The Baroness bequeathed them to the Public Archives in 1920. Following this the papers were organized and catalogued and made available to the public. In 1948 Macdonald

Bilsky parliamentary debates, newspapers, periodicals, pamphlets, memoirs, and autobiographies is Macdonalds incriminating correspondence to the appointed Lieutenant Governor, William McDougal, which clearly states that Riels government was not rebellious, but legally established.116 It reads as follows: An assumption of the government by you, of course, puts an end to the Hudsons Bay Companys authorities, and Governor McTavish117 and his council118 would be deprived even of the semblance of legal right to interfere. There would then be, if you were not admitted into the country,119 no legal government existing and anarchy must follow. In such a case, no matter how the anarchy was produced, it is quite open by the Law of Nations for the inhabitants to form a government ex necessitate,120 for the protection of life and property, and such a Government has certain sovereign rights by the jus gentium [i.e. Law of Nations121] 122


Unfortunately for Macdonald, McDougal did not receive the letter in time and had already secretly entered the territory in question and declared himself the government

biographer, Donald Creighton, suggests that the collections remained underutilized by historians, which may explain why Stanley and others had not previously discovered the McDougal letter. 116 Creighton, 1. 117 McTavish was the Governor of Ruperts Land for the Hudsons Bay Company and encouraged Riel while a prisoner at the fort to establish his own government. 118 The Council of Assiniboia was, from 1821 until 1869, the appointed administrative body of Rupert's Land. 119 Macdonald is aware that Riels men met McDougal at the border and refused him entryhe took refuge in Montana. 120 Used in law, but typically written ex necessitate rei, which is Latin for the necessity of the thing or under special circumstances. 121 According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, jus gentium, (Latin: law of nations), in legal theory, that law which natural reason establishes for all men, as distinguished from jus civile, or the civil law peculiar to one state or people. Roman lawyers and magistrates originally devised jus gentium as a system of equity applying to cases between foreigners and Roman citizens. The concept originated in the Romans assumption that any rule of law common to all nations must be fundamentally valid and just. They broadened the concept to refer to any rule that instinctively commended itself to their sense of justice. Eventually the term became synonymous with equity, or the praetorian law. In modern law, there is a distinction between jus gentium privatum, which denotes private international law, otherwise known as conflict of laws, and jus gentium publicum, which denotes the system of rules governing the intercourse of nations. 122 Macdonald, Sir John A. Macdonald to McDougal, November 27, 1869: 42/648. Macdonald Papers: National Archives of Canada. (Ottawa:1869). 29-31.

Bilsky before he snuck back to the safety of the United States.123 Thus, Riels Provisional


Government was established within the Law of Nations, making it a legal maneuver on the part of the Red River folk. Upon hearing of McDougals actions Macdonald was now legally bound to recognize Riels government and deal directly with them regarding their entry into Canada. This resulted in the creation of the Province of Manitoba by Parliaments passing of the Manitoba Act in 1870. Therefore, the discovery of this letter changed how historians viewed the Red River Resistance and shed new light on Macdonalds treatment of the affair. Another document found that exposed Macdonalds agenda toward the Mtis of the newly formed Manitoba is his letter to his former Finance Minister, John Rose, in which he admits that he feared that the longer he [Riel] remains in power, the more unwilling he will be to resign it Under these circumstances the preparations for an expeditionary force must not be delayed.124 Thus, the proclaimed errand of peace, Canadas first military expedition, under the command of Colonel Garnet Wolseley was now seen for what it really wasa mission to suppress Riel, the French settlers and the Mtis. This is further evidenced by the makeup of the 10th Royal Grenadiers of Toronto who were part of Wolseleys commandof their 250 men a staggering 148 were Orangemen.125 Furthermore, Macdonalds own son, Hugh John Macdonald, was part of that expedition and in a 1911 interview published in the Winnipeg Telegram, he reported on
Interestingly, because Macdonald knew there would be delays with the transfer of Ruperts Land to Canada, he had not yet issued the proclamation with the correct date to McDougal, so the one McDougal used was a fake date which he had made up and had even forged the Queens signature on it. 124 George Parkin, R. Sir John A. Macdonald: The Makers of Canada Series, Volume VII. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1928). 160-61. 125 Alex Rough. Canada: the History of the Murder of Thomas Scott. (Accessed: January 26, 2011). 1.



the regiments first order of business upon reaching Red River: that was to chase down any French or Mtis supporters of the resistance and meet out justice. The first man they came across was Elzar Goulet, whom they chased through town to the banks of the river. In an effort to get away Goulet tried to swim to the other side while the soldiers threw stones at himGoulet drowned and the soldiers made no effort to recover the body.126 Hugh Macdonald recalled a large body of soldiers chasing Goulet who made a record run to the river.127 Macdonalds son claimed they were struggling to bring him to justice.128 This and other evidence made it clear to Stanley and Morton that the so called rebellion at Red River was actually a legal resistance of a predominately FrenchCatholic western community attempting to protect their rights against an imperialistic eastern English Protestant (and at the time Orange) government. Furthermore, it now appeared that the Canadian governments first order of business was to forcibly overthrow the legally established ruling party in Red River. Moreover, a legal government (like the Provisional Government in Red River) had a right to protect the life of its people and its property, making Scotts crimes a valid case of treason and his sentence in line with the Law of Nations. Hence Macdonald bribed Riel with $1000.00 to leave the country instead of trying to convict him of murder.129 Stanley and Mortons work set the general tone for how the Red River Troubles would be subsequently viewed by historians.

George R. D. Goulet. The Trial of Louis Riel: Justice and Mercy Denied. (Calgary: Ltd., 1999). 29. 127 Hugh John Macdonald. Interview with Hugh John Macdonald. Winnipeg Telegram. (Winnipeg, July18, 1911). 1. 128 Macdonald, Hugh, 1. 129 Goulet, 31.


Bilsky Regrettably, the historical revisions made by Stanley and Morton in 1959 were either not recognized by or not communicated to the general public. Thus, Canadians went on thinking of Riels Red River Resistance as a rebellion and of him as a jealous


murderer. This cultural mindset is evidenced by the many fictional interpretations found in Canadian literature and music regarding Monsieur Riel.130 Albert Braz notes that Collins caricature of Riel as nothing more than a jealous miscreant and not as the capable leader who had bested Macdonald, led to the Mtis heros being written off in literature thereafter.131 As early as Ernest Henhams 1897 novel entitled Menotah: A Tale of the Riel Rebellion, Monsieur Riel is depicted as never having been the prime factor of the revolution. [But] himself a dull man of irregular habits, yet one whose mind might easily be swayed.132 Thus, Riel, powerless to act as a sole leader, was nothing more than a puppet of a bright young Canadian with the skill and flattery needed to orchestrate the creation of Manitoba and bring it into confederation.133 This phenomenon of Riel remaining persona non grata regarding the founding of Manitoba and as a Father of Confederation can be seen in Canadian literature as late as Margaret Laurences novel The Diviners (1970). In fact, the government did not even recognize Louis Riel in this manner until March 10, 1992 when the House of Commons passed a special resolution honouring Riel as a founder of Manitoba and recognizing his contribution to the development of western Canada.134 Regardless of whether the

A selected list of cultural representations of Riel has been provided in the bibliography. Braz, 51. 132 Ibid., 55. 133 Ibid., 55. 134 Ian Murray. Bill C-297, An Act to Revoke the Conviction of Louis David Riel: Private Members Business Ottawa: House Publications Parliament of Canada, 1996. /HousePublications/Publication.aspx? DocId=2332644&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=35&Ses=2#AN ACTTOREVOKETHECONVICTIONOFLOUISDAVIDRIEL. (Accessed: January 26, 2011). 1335.


Bilsky Canadian public was listening or not, Canadian historians and political scientists continued to research and revise Riels legacy.


BUILDING ON STANLEY AND MORTON With perceptions and interpretations of the Red River Resistance reaching a common theme among Riel scholars, they began to focus on the events of the 1885 North-West Rebellion. In the year following Stanley and Mortons book Father R. E. Lamb published his Thunder in the North: Conflict over the Riel Risings... 1870 and 1885 (1957). As the title suggests, Father Lamb covers both the Red River Resistance and the North-West Rebellion. Following Stanleys lead, he too avoids the use of the term rebellion. Father Lambs purpose was not to discover anything new about the historical events, but to focus on the conflicts arising over those events. Thus, his account follows closely that of Stanleys, with the only addition being some speculation as to the culpability of the Macdonald government in both events. What Father Lamb does add is a careful investigation of the reactions of both Ontario and Quebecincluding parliamentary debates, newspapers and public rallies. His conclusion is that the trial of Riel was particularly influenced by politics. Father Lamb cites one of Macdonalds aids warning him if Riel is spared by any action of the government, it means the utter disruption of the Conservative party in the province of Ontario as well as in the outlying ones. If he is punished, it means a mere surface excitement in Quebec.135 Whoever this aid might have been he obviously underestimated the French reaction. For after the hanging of Louis Riel, in November

C. E. Lamb. Thunder in the North: Conflict over the Riel Risings... 1870 and 1885. (New York: Pageant Press Inc., 1957). 190.


Bilsky 1885, the soon-to-be Premier of Quebec, Honor Mercier, cried out, Louis Riel, our brother, died unjustly to a huge crowd of 50,000 people.136 Mercier rode the wave of outcry over Riels execution and the treatment of the French Mtis in the west to a


provincial victory in 1887 and started the first nationalist party in Quebec.137 Thus, Louis Riel's death was the first post-Confederation step in what was to become and still is Canadas national unity crisis. 138,139 Following Father Lambs book, Stanley came out with a biography entitled, Louis Riel (1963), which reflected a careers worth of research into the life of the man whom some believe to be Canadas most enigmatic character. Stanley was tireless in tracking down every scrap of extant evidence on Riel. Interestingly enough, before Stanley began to write this book he felt that he knew all the answers140 and he set out to provide his readers with all those answers as seen by this following quotation: Playwrights, polemicists and even musicians were willing to do something about Riel; historians appeared to hold aloof.141 Nevertheless, as he learned more about Riel the person, he became less certain just what the answers were.142 As a result the book is perhaps the most balanced and nonpartisan approach in Riel studies to date. Louis Riel is therefore a great resource of information for students and scholars looking to know more about Riel

Ral Menard. Bill C-297, An Act to Revoke the Conviction of Louis David Riel: Private Members Business Ottawa: House Publications Parliament of Canada, 1996. /HousePublications/Publication.aspx? DocId=2332644&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=35&Ses=2#AN ACTTOREVOKETHECONVICTIONOFLOUISDAVIDRIEL. (Accessed: January 26, 2011). 1350. 137 Goulet, 243. 138 These various nuances of this claim will be explained in the third chapter. 139 Ral, 1350. 140 Stanley is referencing his earlier publication of a pamphlet for the Canadian Historical Society entitled Louis Riel: Patriot or Rebel? (1961), in which pamphlet he made several sweeping judgments of the Mtis leader. 141 George F. G. Stanley. Louis Riel. (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1963). xi. 142 Stanley, xi.


Bilsky himself. However, for a broader investigation of Riel and his era one should read the


more up-to-date text by D. N. Sprague entitled, Canada and the Mtis: 1869-1885(1988). Spragues book benefits from Stanleys lifetime commitment to Riel, which culminated in his exhaustive five-volume set, The Collected Writings of Louis Riel/Les Ecrits Complets De Louis Riel (General Editor, 1985).143 With all of Riels writings, poems, memoirs and correspondences in one location, Spragues research was surely simplified. As a result he was able to focus more on the impact of Riels people, the Mtis, on Canada as a whole. Thus, Sprague offers the wider context that allows one to recognize the patterns and influences that shaped our nation. Through a comprehensive social-economic approach he successfully challenges the widely held view that the Canadian state acted in good faith. By demonstrating a significant amount of duplicity within the Macdonald government and in their treatment of Mtis grievances, Sprague draws conclusions, according to Stanley, that no historian has ever drawn before and posits that Macdonald purposely provoked the rebellion to finance his railroad and legacy.144 A more extensive and specific account of the prairie context can be found in Gerald Friesens, The Canadian Prairies: A History (1987). At nearly twice the length of Spragues book, Friesen leaves little to the imagination. Furthermore, due to the wider scope of Friesens book, there is less opportunity for personal opinion from the author and more material from which to highlight trends and patterns. As a result of the

This collection took over a decade to compile and constitutes a copy of every piece of extant writings penned by Riel and many by others. A large portion has been retained in its original French. The project was funded by a Canada Council Grant. 144 D. N. Sprague. Canada and the Mtis: 1869-1885. (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier Press, 1988). 177. This opinion is shared by others, including George Goulet who wrote The Trial of Louis Riel: Justice and Mercy Denied (1999).


Bilsky numerous calls for Riels exoneration in the past couple of decades,145 there has been a renewed interest in Riel biographies. Maggie Siggins, Thomas Flanagan and Joseph Boyden have each recently written one respectively. Maggie Siggins Riel: A Life of Revolution (1994) is an account that is so well written that it reads like a novel. For an entry-level book into Riels life that is


approachable students and scholars of Riel need look no further. Joseph Boydens dualbiography, Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont (2010) is part of the new Extraordinary Canadians Series, which is presumably meant as a modern version of the Makers of Canada Series (1902-08)a series in which Riel was not included.146 The decision to treat Riel and Gabriel Dumont together was misguided at best. Riel is the most published political figure in Canadian history;147 and his complex life cannot be remotely examined in such a concise manner. Boyden, primarily a novelist, is also not a historian, which fact will quickly become evident to readers familiar with Riel or his era. Unfortunately, it appears that this book was rushed out for the 125th anniversary of Riels death with little attention to its subject and his place in history. Thomas Flanagans, Louis David Riel: Prophet of the New World (1996) is far more nuanced; so much so, that if one were not familiar with Flanagans work they would be hard pressed to say whether he was for or against modifying the Mtis mystics legacy. Flanagan deeply explores the inner workings of Riels person, with a strong focus on his periods of insanity and his religious mysticism. Flanagans stance on Riels
LEGISINFO. Bills Re-Introduced. The Library of Parliament's research tool for finding information on legislation. The House of Commons of Canada. LOP/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language=E&Session=15&List=search (Accessed: January 27, 2011). Since 1992 there have been more than thirteen Bills or special resolutions put to the house concerning Riels legacy and the revocation of his conviction. 146 Lawrence B. A. Doughty. Makers of Canada Series: Index and Dictionary. (Toronto: Morang & Co., Limited, 1912). 23. 147 Stanley, Collected Writings, preface.



insanity is that Riel should not be written off as insane because he was a religious fanatic who considered himself a prophet, supreme pontiff or priest king; but rather, that modern readers need to consider the Ultramontanism148 and Millenarianism149 that was prevalent at the time.150 Flanagan remains a Riel critic, and his purpose is to discredit the modern celebration of Monsieur Riel by highlighting the Metis leaders mental illness and eccentric religious beliefs as well as to posit that Riel was an unfortunate puppet of the Catholic Church.151

THE BIRTH OF A MARTYR - 1885 Documentary evidence has shown that Monsieur Riel was undoubtedly one of the rightful and legal founders of Manitoba; and as such, one of the Fathers of Confederation. The early accounts of Riels Red River Rebellion have all been revised by modern historians to reflect this reality. What about the North-West Rebellion of 1885? Many have argued that regardless of whether Riel was sane or not at the time of the North-West Rebellion the extant evidence shows that similar to the politically manipulated fallout of the Red River Resistance, Riel did not receive justice in 1885 either. The final topic of this chapter will explore this evidence and its relevance to the much-called-for revision of Riels conviction for high treason (i.e. his exoneration).152

The Canadian Encyclopedia states, Ultramontanism in Canada, as in Europe where it began during the French Revolution, was the theory of those who rejected any compromise by Catholicism with modern thought, and demanded the supremacy of religious over civil society. Its central tenet was an attachment to the person of the pope and belief in the doctrine of his infallibility. 149 Websters dictionary defines millenarianism as a belief in a coming ideal society and especially one created by revolutionary action. 150 Roger O'Toole. Review: Louis David Riel: Prophet of the New World. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, (Vol. 19, No. 3. Sep., 1980). 312. 151 Flanagan, 245. 152 Articles of the nature are listed in the bibliography under the section entitles, Riel Media Articles and Revisionism Media Articles.




Queens Council George R. D. Goulets lengthy and exhaustive investigation into the legality of Monsieur Riels trial has been published in a book entitled, The Trial of Louis Riel: Justice and Mercy Denied (1999). However, I would be remiss not to mention the key source for Goulets book, The Queen vs. Louis Riel: Accused and Convicted of the Crime of High Treason (1886). This publication by the Queens printer contains the transcript of the trial in Regina and the appeal to the Court of Queens Bench of Manitoba as well as the appeal to the Privy Council of England. Also included are the petition for a medical evaluation of the accused and a list of the petitions for commutation sent to Ottawa.153 Needless to say The Queen vs. Louis Riel is not a quick read and one should have at least some legal knowledge to begin to grasp its contents. Well-respected historian and prolific author Desmond Morton re-published The Queen v Louis Riel in 1974 with an extensive introduction. Nevertheless, that of Goulets has eclipsed the historians account, as impressive as it is. At the time of publication George Goulet was a retired thirty-five year veteran Queens Council who practiced law in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and Bachelor of Laws degree, with first-class honors from the University of Manitoba, as well as a Master of Laws degree from the University of Toronto. He has published books on law and is an amateur historian. Justice and Mercy Denied is indicative of a life of academic excellence. The book is both thorough and accessible and Goulet does a good job explaining and providing legal background to the legalesethough, admittedly this can, at times, seem tedious and dry.

Brown Chamberlin. The Queen vs. Louis Riel: Accused and Convicted of the Crime of High Treason. (Ottawa: Queens Printer, 1886). Intro.


Bilsky Before covering the charges against Louis Riel, one must put the case into context. Macdonald had gone up against Riel during the Red River Resistance and had


come out the loser. Not only was he forced to deal with Riel, but also Macdonald had to bribe him to leave the country, because of political unrest in Ontario; and because Macdonald needed the local seat of Provencher for Cartier to run in.154 This time there would be no bribe; instead, the Orangeman swore that he would see Riel hang, though every dog in Quebec bark in his favor.155 To ensure that Riel did indeed hang, Macdonald asked his Minister of Justice and fellow Orangeman, Alexander Campbell, to prevent Riel from reaching Winnipeg. Because in Macdonalds mind if Riel were to be tried in Manitoba, there would be a miscarriage of justice.156 Macdonald knew that a trial in Manitoba would be before a Court of Queens Bench, an independent Superior Court Judge with the security of tenure and a jury of twelve men, of whom half would be French-speaking.157 Whereas in Regina Riel would go before a stipendiary magistrate and a justice of the peace, who were appointed at the pleasure of Macdonald, and a smaller jury of six men, none of whom were required to speak French.158 Furthermore, Macdonald was aware that his appointed magistrate, Hugh Richardson, had the right to personally handpick the jurors. Thus, Riel, a French-speaking, Roman Catholic-reared, Mtis was tried by an Englishspeaking, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant magistrate and six males, all English-speaking, Anglo-Saxon Protestants.159

154 155

Goulet, 31. Parkin, 224; also Stanley, Louis Riel, 367. 156 Macdonald Papers, Vol. 197. 82819. 157 Goulet, 48. 158 Ibid., 48. 159 Ibid., 65.



Macdonalds interference did not stop there. The Prime Minister also selected the Crowns team of lawyers. He chose five men: Christopher Robinson, Britton Bath Osler, George Weelock Burbidge, Thomas Chase Casgrain and David Lynch Scott. When asked for an opinion on whether Macdonald could have an accused tried for high treason before a magistrate court, Robinson and Osler replied that it would be anomalous and inappropriate.160 Regardless, they assisted Macdonald in preparing for the defenses inevitable challenge to the jurisdiction. Thus, they advised Macdonald that the law in the Northwest Territory made no provision for a grand jury.161 Osler then informed Macdonald of the Connor case, which was presently awaiting its appeal hearing in Winnipeg. Osler was lead counsel in the case. It was up for appeal because it was a capital punishment case that was held before a magistrate court in the Northwest Territory.162 Coincidentally, the magistrate for the Connor case was also Hugh Richardson. Macdonald arranged for Osler to go to Winnipeg. Then Justice Minister Campbell wrote Chief Justice Wallbridge, who had also been appointed by Macdonald, and informed him of the importance of the case, that Osler would argue it well and that he urged the court should give as early a decision upon the point as they can.163 Chief Justice Wallbridge got the message and returned a positive ruling for the Crown in record time. Of course, the Connor case was then cited by the crown and Magistrate Richardson as precedence for capital offence trials by a magistrate court in the Northwest Territory.164 A Canadian Lawyer magazine article decried that this communication from the federal

160 161

Macdonald Papers, Vol. 62. File 596. Goulet, 49. 162 Ibid., 81. 163 Ibid., 82. 164 Ibid., 62.

Bilsky justice minister to a judgea communication which materially affected the


administration of justice in both the Connor and Riel casesis a stunning revelation.165 Macdonald also had a dubious connection to the lead counsel for the defense, Charles Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was married to the sister of Macdonalds Minister of Militia and Defense, Adolf Caron. Caron was responsible for the military expedition that resulted in Riels capture. He was also a co-partner in a Quebec law firm with crown prosecutor Casgrain and, as shocking as it may seem, the defenses lead counsel, Fitzpatrick. Whether this conflict of interest influenced Fitzpatrick or not is uncertain. However, Riel sent implicit instructions to his supporters in Quebec that he wished to be tried on the merit of his actions and would not enter a plea of insanity, yet Fitzpatrick built his case on Riels alleged insanity.166 Fitzpatrick declared to Riels supporters that the Mtis leader was not of sound mind and continued to disregard Riels instructions regarding his defense.167 During the trial, in an unprecedented disturbance, Riel stood up in court to ask Magistrate Richardson if he could question the witnesses. Riel was distraught with Fitzpatricks lack of ability to cross-examine witnesses and ask the right questions. Fitzpatrick objected telling the magistrate once he [Riel]168 has counsel he has no right to interfere. Fitzpatrick then told the court that if Riel did not cooperate with his team they would quit the case. Magistrate Richardson then asked Riel if he wanted their counsel and he responded by saying: I want their service but I want my cause to be defended

165 166

Ronald L. Olesky. Louis Riel and the Crown Letters. Canadian Lawyer (February, 1998). 13. Goulet, 93. 167 Ibid., 93. 168 Ibid., 122.



the best which circumstances allow.169 He went on to complain, they cannot follow the thread of questions. They lose more than three-quarters of opportunities to make good answers.170 Riel was not far from the truth, for at the time the crown had bested all of the defenses expert witnesseseven getting one of them to say he was no expert on insanity, which Fitzpatrick did not even address.171 When it looked as if Riel would choose to represent himself and decline the services of Fitzpatrick and his team, Fitzpatrick objected saying that it was too late for [Riel] to disavow or refuse counsel.172 When questioned by the magistrate as to why they were not proceeding along the path Riel had instructed them, Fitzpatrick blurted out that they were working for parties before checking himself and continuing, who were really our clients in this case.173 Strangely the magistrate did not question Fitzpatrick any further and instructed Riel that he had no choice but to sit down, be quiet and accept the better judgment of his counsel.174 Fitzpatrick never divulged who these other parties were. Were they Riels financial backers in Quebec or was this the manifestations of the aforementioned conflict of interest? Regardless of the answer, it is clear that Magistrate Richardson should have declared a mistrial at this point.175 Instead, he denied Riel of that justice.

169 170

Ibid., 120. Ibid., 122. 171 Chamberlin, 251. 172 Goulet, 223. 173 Chamberlin, 50. 174 Goulet, 223. 175 Goulet, 225.



With Macdonalds influences firmly established, it is now prudent to examine the charges themselves. Riel was tried for high treason against the Queen on six counts. There were three charges of high treason under the laws of local allegiance and three under the laws of natural allegianceall under the 1351British Statue of Treasons. Goulet explains, natural allegiance was the legal obedience, which a subject owed to his or her sovereign at all times, and in all places, so long as the relationship of the subject and the sovereign subsisted.176 Local allegiance, he goes on to state, is the allegiance owed by an alien while he or she is resident or continues within the dominions and the protection of the English Crown.177 The first three charges should never have been laid, because Riel had become a United States citizen while in exile and the Naturalization Act of 1870 states that the a subject of the crown ceases to be a British citizen when they voluntarily naturalize to another country.178 The three remaining charges under local allegiance were also not legally valid, because, as Goulet reveals, the 1351 Statute of Treasons only applied to the Realm of the Queen. The realm is defined in English law as England, Wales and the adjacent narrow seas (and in one instance Ireland).179 Canada is not, nor ever was, considered in English law as part of the Queens realm; and as such, Riels charges should have been dismissed on this technicality. One might argue that the technicality under which statute Riel was charged is insignificant, because the Crown could have had him tried under a different one.

176 177

Ibid., 49. Ibid., 50. 178 Ibid., 51. 179 Ibid., 267.



However, with no other stated purpose by the Crown counsel and Macdonalds intent on seeing Riel hang as evidenced by his own utterances,180 it appears that they insisted on the archaic 1351 Statute of Treasons, because it was the only remaining statute that allowed for a death sentence.181 The more appropriate statute and the one the defense assumed was being applied, until the Crown counsel corrected them, was the 1868 Canadian Treason-Felony Statute, which did not permit the death penalty, but rather life in prison.182 If Riel had been charged with high treason under that statute he would never have hanged. One could point out, as Goulet did in detail, how Macdonald influenced Riels appeal trial and the subsequent commission to establish his post-trial sanity so that the death-sentence could be carried out; but further evidence is hardly required to establish the complete lack of justice and mercy shown to Riel. In the end, it appears that Macdonald made good on his promises that the cold-blooded murder in 1870 [of Thomas Scott] will never be forgotten by the whites in Manitoba or Ontario183 and that he would see Riel hang, though every dog in Quebec bark in his favor.184 Thus, Riel, who in the eyes of many was first deemed a rebel, is now more often viewed as a martyr. Now that the Macdonald Papers and The Collected Writings of Riel are being utilized by professional historians who work free from political repercussions and now that qualified legal experts have reviewed Riels trial, it appears that there exists overwhelming evidence in favor of the reconsideration of Riels 1885 legacy. Many have speculated that if Riels trial had not been tampered with, he would not have been found
180 181

Parkin, 224; also Stanley, Louis Riel, 367. Ibid., 55. 182 Ibid., 189. 183 Ibid., 26. 184 Parkin, 224; also Stanley, Louis Riel, 367.



guilty. Macdonald himself even admitted as much when he acted to ensure that the trial took place in Regina. What that outcome might have been, no one will ever know for sure; but one thing that is certain, is that there is enough evidence available to overturn the conviction on either the grounds of the above legal technicalities or gross injustice due to illegal political influence. This does not mean, as revisionist critics claim, that Riel should be excused of responsibility for his involvement in the armed North-West Rebellion. It only suggests that Riels sentence and trial process were both an act of injustice. Riel supporters want this recognized, but his critics do not want to condone armed rebellions. Perhaps the middle ground would be a collaborative narrative, which states that Riel did in fact break the law and was culpable for leading an armed rebellion against Canada; but, that the Canadian government had also failed to make good on promises to Northwest Territory settlers, Mtis and Indians according to Canadian law. Thus, after exhausting all legal avenues the Northwest Territory inhabitants felt they had little choice but to declare a rebellious provisional government. After all, as Canadians they had been denied their right to the responsible government, which the rest of the nation had enjoyed. A further collaboration would be to allow that the old adage it takes two to tango held true in 1885. That is, that the Northwest Territory parties were rebellious, but due to political agendas and federal policies the government had also forced the regions hand and responded with guns instead of grace. Thus, responsibility for the Rebellion and the lives lost lie at the feet of both parties and those who fought on both sides were heroes in their own rights.



Of course, the 1885 North-West Rebellion is similar in many ways to that of the 1837-38 rebellions of Upper and Lower Canada. The difference was that a British commission reviewed those events and established that the rebels were in fact being oppressed by the state and were entitled to responsible government. The result was that prisoners were released, property was restored and both sides shared the culpability for the rebellion. In the end leaders were not hung, but rather, many returned to politics. Canadians on both sides of the Riel question should acknowledge these similarities and the collective responsibility of the rebellion of 1885.

A COLLABORATIVE FUTURE Why should modern Canadians care about Riels trial though? Why should they revisit the causes and actions of the North-West rebellion? Why should the members of parliament have to go through the lengthy process of overturning the conviction of a man who has been dead for 125 years? The answer to that question lies in the aforementioned national divisions that are couched within Riels legacy; that is, the traditional dichotomies of English/French, Euro-Canadian/Aboriginal, Protestant/Catholic and East/West. Earlier, in this chapter there was mention of how historians and biographers were presenting Riel as either a hero or a villain and that when the Macdonald Papers began to be used, a common narrative on Riels Red River Resistance arose, at which point Stanley and Morton joined forces to tackle the North-West Rebellion. This reconciliation of divergent Riel narratives and subsequent collaborations toward future goals provides us with a microcosm of the possible national healing process that Riels

Bilsky revision has the potential to unleash. This theory will be explained and explored in the next chapter.





This chapter will outline how the age-old Canadian conflicts between the French and English, the Natives and Europeans, the Catholics and Protestants and the Wests struggle against the paternal policies of Eastern Canada can all be found within Louis Riels life story. It will also provide examples of how they are still being manifested today. With this correlation in mind, there will be a discussion on the common development of the publics view toward national history. This will include a commentary on relevant themes in Canadian fictional literature and an historical overview designed to contextualize the broad legacy of power-relations among colonized peoples, beginning with Athens and Sparta and continuing up to the European settlement of North America. The discussion will then draw conclusions from that timeline and apply them to the 1992 Parliamentary revision of Riels Red River legacy,185 positing its effect on the subsequent stream of minority reconciliation as evidenced by the following: The 1995 Quebec referendum versus the 2009 Angus Reid poll on separatism; the 1999 creation of Nunavut; the 2003 Royal apology to the Acadians; and the 2008 federal apology for Indian Residential Schools.186 Finally, the chapter will explain the
As part of Bill C-297 on March 10, 1992 the House of Commons passed a special resolution honouring Louis Riel as a founder of Manitoba and recognizing his contribution to the development of western Canada Ian Murray. 186 Indian Residential Schools were off-reserve residential boarding schools designed to take the Indian children away from their communal and familial influences in order to strip the Indian out of them and replace it with European values and culture. According to the Assembly of First Nations data, the first

Bilsky importance of the current national discourse187 on Riel reinterpretation for both the country and its Mtis in regards to the effects of their shared traumatic past.


EMBEDDED DICHOTOMIES Jean-Baptiste Riel, Louis Riels paternal grandfather, was a French voyageur188 who followed the custom of the day and married a Franco-Chipewyan Mtisse woman named Marguerite Boucher.189, 190 Although there is not a lot known about Jean-Batiste and his wife, it is known that in 1822, after spending time working out west for the Hudsons Bay Company, Jean-Baptiste returned to Berthierville, Quebec to settle down with his family.191 In 1838, following in his fathers footsteps, Jean-Baptistes eldest son, Louis Riel (senior), travelled to the West in the service of the Hudsons Bay Company as a voyageur.192 It is suspected that Jean-Baptiste and Louis were involved in the 1837-38

school opened in 1840 and the last closed in 1996. The schools were managed by the Catholic, Anglican, United and Presbyterian Churches of Canada on behalf of the government. Tens of thousands of children suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse while in the Indian Residential Schools program; and it has been reported by Scotsman reporter Lorraine Mallinder that thousands either died or went missing. The government of Canada apologized for this atrocity in June 11, 2008 and offered a $1.9 billion compensation package to survivors. 187 The word national has been used, because over the past year there have been newspaper editorials discussing the past and currently proposed revisions of Riels legacy from every province in Canada. 188 A voyageur was contracted by a licensed trading company, like the Hudsons Bay Company or their rivals, the Northwest Company, to transport supplies to interior posts, collect, trap and return furs to the relevant headquarters. They often had to travel great distances each day with 90 lb. packs on their backs. They went by canoe when possible and portaged when not. Conditions were dangerous due to harsh terrain and risk of Indian attack. See Marrie-Anne: The Extraordinary Life of Louis Riel's Grandmother. 189 W. L. Morton. Louis Riel (1817-1864). Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Vol. IX, 1861-70. (Toronto: 2000). 25&&PHPSESSID=h0nh4ar5d0p8q7lalhrdk47cg7. (Accessed: February 21, 2011). 1. 190 It was favorable for voyageurs to marry Indian women because they held survival skills, fur treatment skills and had tribal connections, which could help trade. Marrying a Mtisse woman was one step better, because they offered all of the above, but could readily speak both French and at least one native tongue; thus eliminating the need to learn the language for ones self or to hire an interpreter. For more on this practice read Maggie Siggins book, Marrie-Anne: The Extraordinary Life of Louis Riel's Grandmother. 191 Morton, W. L., 1. 192 Ibid., 1.



Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada; because shortly after Louis arrival in Red River his fellow Mtis began to fly the Papineau Standardthe flag of le Mouvement Patriotein protest over the racist and religious oppression they were suffering under English rule. 193, 194 Jean-Baptiste Lagemodire and his wife, Marie-Anne Gaboury were Louis Riels maternal grandparents.195 Lagemodire was a French coureur des bois.196 During his early years as a trader he had an Indian wife la faon du pays,197 with whom he had three daughters.198 After returning to Lower Canada he married Gaboury in 1806. At this point in time it was tradition that traders would venture into the dangerous wilds of the

Alexander Ross. The Red River Settlement: its Rise, Progress and Present State-with some Account of its Native races and General history to the Present Day. (London: Smith Elder and Co., 1856). 359. 194 The 1837 Rebellions comprised the Upper Canada Rebellion and the Lower Canada Rebellion, which took place in the months between October of 1837 and December of1838. Led by William Lyon Mackenzie King and Robert Baldwin, the Upper Canada Rebellion was fought over issues of British favoritism. The government was controlled by the Family Compact, which sought to ensure British dominance of government, land ownership and the economy. Another issue was the privileges given to the Anglican Church, especially land grants. The rebellion was forcibly put down by the British military and its supporters were arrested or deported. The Lower Canada Rebellion was caused by unrest over English dominance in all sectors and the oppression of the Catholic Church even though the colony was predominantly French; in short, they wanted responsible government or independence. It was led in part by Louis-Joseph Papineau and his group of rebels was called le Patriotes (the patriots), because they grew out of a movement to repatriate Lower Canada to France known as le Mouvement Patriote (the patriot movement). Their flag comprised of three horizontal stripes (from top to bottom) of green, white and red and is still seen today by supporters of an independent Quebec. 195 Siggins, 6. 196 Coureurs des bois were similar to voyageurs except they were not contracted to a single trading company like a voyageur would be. They were also excellent woodsman, adventurers and businessmen and many worked as explorers. Originally, under the control of New France, they operated illegally, but the vocation became a legitimate one after the British took over. 197 la faon du pays is French for the way of the country. According to historian Walter K. Miles: When a person is desirous of taking one of the daughters of the Natives, as a companion, he makes a present to the parents of the damsel, of such articles as he supposes will be acceptable, and, among them, rum is indispensable, for of that the savages are fond, to excess. Should the parents accept the articles offered, the girl remains at the fort with her suitor, and is clothed in Canadian fashion. The greater part of these women, as I am informed, are better pleased to remain with the white people, than with their own relations. Should the couple, newly joined, not agree, they are at liberty at any time, to separate; but no part of the property, given to the parents of the girl, be refunded. As cited in 1770's Ancestor a Fur Trader, The Pacific Northwesterner, (Vol. 21, Winter, 1977 No. 1), 2. 198 Lynne Champagne. Jean-Baptiste Lagimonire (1788-1855). Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Vol. VIII, 1851-1860. (Toronto:2000). (Accessed: February 21, 2011). 1.


Bilsky untamed West on their own before returning to their families at the end of the season.


Unwilling to part from her new husband, Gaboury insisted on accompanying him during the harrowing journey and the grueling trading season.199 The couple never returned to Lower Canada. Instead, after six years of life trading and hunting on the prairies, they settled in Lord Selkirks Settlement at Red River.200 In 1815, with tensions between the Northwest Company and the Hudsons Bay Company threatening the violent end of the settlement, Lagemodire was hired by the Hudsons Bay Company to deliver emergency dispatches to Lord Selkirk in Montreal about the fate of the settlement. He is famous for making the treacherous six-month, 1800-mile, winter journey on foot! After that journey he also returned to Red River on foot in the summer of 1816 with dispatches from Selkirk, which encouraged the settlers to stand firm; because, as he informed them, help was on the way.201 For his harrowing services to the settlement, Selkirk granted Lagemodire a plot of land on the Seine River at its juncture with the Red River, where he and his wife brought up four boys and four girls.202 Lagemodire is recorded as being one of the first French Canadians to take-up permanent residence in the Northwest.203 His wife is remembered as the first Caucasian woman to travel west of the great lakes and the first European woman to settle in the Northwest.204 In 1844 Lagemodires daughter, Julie, married Jean-Baptiste Riels son, Louis, and settled next to her parents farm in Saint Boniface.205 Louis Riel (Sr.) became famous
199 200

Siggins, 32. Champagne, 1. 201 Ibid., 1. 202 Ibid., 1. 203 Ibid., 1. 204 Siggins, Introduction. 205 Morton, W. L., 1.



in his own right in 1849 after he spoke in defense of his fellow Mtis, Pierre-Guillaume Sayer, at the trappers trial for illegal trading. The Hudsons Bay Company had declared a trade monopoly on furs and other resources after their 1824 buy-out of the North West Company.206 Riel (Sr.) argued that the company was infringing on their rights. The Assiniboia Council still found Sayer guilty, but buckled under the immense pressure brought by Riel (Sr.) and his Mtis followers, who showed up armed and in large numbers to the trial.207 Thus, they recommended mercy and freed Sayer without punishment. Riel (Sr.) interpreted the sentence as tantamount to a surrender of the monopoly and encouraged his countrymen to trade with whom they pleased.208 Free trade was enjoyed in the Red River region from then on. Riel (Sr.) went on to successfully pressure the courts to allow defendants the option to have trials conducted in French.209 The respected Mtis leader and his wife were devout Catholics and were very involved in the parish church at St. Boniface under the guidance of Bishop Tach. They had eleven children, and their first born, a son, was named Louis Riel.210 Louis, who was one-eighth Chipewyan and seven-eighths French, grew up with the strong FrenchCatholic influence of his parents; but also learned to admire his native roots under the tutelage of his maternal grandmother who had learned to love and respect native traditions and peoples during her years on the buffalo hunt.211 Tach was so impressed with Louis intellectual abilities and religious devoutness that he arranged for the
Friesen, 43. Morton, W. L., 1. 208 Ibid., 1. 209 Ibid., 1. 210 Lewis H. Thomas. Louis Riel (1844-1885). Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Vol. XI, 1881-1890. (Toronto: 200). SESSID=h0nh4ar5d0p8q7lalhrdk47cg7. (Accessed: February 21, 2011). 1. 211 Siggins, Introduction.
207 206

Bilsky thirteen-year-old boy to travel to Montreal to attend the Collge de Montral and begin training to become Canadas first Mtis priest.212 Louis left for Seminary in 1858. While in college Louis was provided with a classical university education on top of his religious instruction. He studied European


history, Literature, and Law as well as some Latin and Greek.213 He even began to write poetry during this time. Louis father died in his final year (1864) a blow to Riel, which caused him to rethink his calling.214 Thus, Louis left school that spring and went to work as a law clerk in Montreal. He soon fell in love with a young woman in Montreal, but was refused her hand by her father who disapproved of Riels Mtis blood.215 In 1866, after struggling in both business and romance in the English dominated Province of Canada, the heartbroken Riel slowly made his way back to Red River.216 In 1869, the year following his arrival at home, the newly formed Dominion of Canada had entered negotiations with England, which would see the transfer of Prince Ruperts Land from the British owned Hudsons Bay Company to the Dominion of Canada.217 Riel soon entered into a battle of words with Ontario poet Charles Mair in the Montreal press.218 Mair, who had been overly critical of the Mtis in Red River, was the Macdonald appointed Minister of Public Works and part of a survey team sent to Red River in anticipation of the transfer to Canada. Without much leadership among the settlers, Rielreportedly ambitious, well-educated, bilingual, young and energetic,

212 213

Thomas, 1. Flannagan, 14. 214 Thomas, 1. 215 Flannagan, 34. 216 Thomas, 1. 217 Friesen, 178. 218 Thomas, 1.

Bilsky eloquent, deeply religious, and the bearer of a famous namewas a natural choice as their leader.219 Perhaps also in Riels favor was the fact that he had experienced firsthand the English-Protestant Canadian disdain for the largely French-Catholic, Irish-Catholic,


Scots-Presbyterian, French-Catholic Mtis and English half-breed settlers of the west.220 Furthermore, he had been exposed to Canadian notions of manifest destiny and the calls for the exploitation of western resources and land to fund and fuel the economy of Eastern Canada, which gave him insight into the bigger picture.221 Of course, Riel had also studied the history of British North America, including le Mouvement Patriote,222 which meant that he knew that his French ancestors had been fighting for equal rights against the English since the turn of the seventeenth-century, culminating the 1837-38 Rebellions. He was most likely aware of the attempted secession of French Lower Canada as outlined in the 1838 Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada.223 As a member of the Collge de Montral and a confidant of Bishop Tachs, Riel was privy to the institutionalized oppression of Catholics at the hands of the English and was influenced by a wave of Ultramontanism that swept through Quebec in the last half of the nineteenth century.224 He had also suffered English prejudice against his Indian blood. In short Riel had experience in both worldsthe French-Catholic Mtis Northwest and
Ibid., 1. Flannagan, 51. 221 Ibid., 62. 222 During the 1837-38 Rebellions Louis-Joseph Papineau and his group of rebels was called le Patriotes (the patriots), because they grew out of a movement to repatriate Lower Canada to France known as le Mouvement Patriote (the patriot movement) 223 The Declaration of Independence of Lower Canada was written by Robert Nelson in February of 1938, while in exile in the United States with other rebel leaders. The full text has been translated into English and can be found in Sir John Colbornes, Report of the State Trials, before a general court martial held at Montreal in 1838-9:exhibiting a complete history of the late rebellion in lower Canada, Volume 2 (Montreal: Amour and Ramsey, 1839) in Appendix No. 14 on page 562. 224 Flannagan, 132.
220 219

Bilsky English Protestant Canada. Thus, Riel became a natural intermediary for east-west, French-English, Protestant-Catholic and European-Aboriginal relations in Red River. This brief history of Riel and the legacy left to him from both his parents


demonstrates how this Mtis man from Red River came to embody in some measure each of these Canadian historical fault-lines. In his story, we see the struggle between Indians/Mtis and the European establishment; the fight for cultural survival and equality of the French against the English ruling parties; the centuries old campaign for religious domination of Catholics by Protestants; and the aspirations for western economic autonomy from the control of Eastern Canada. Most of these dichotomies still exist today. Western farmers are constantly fighting the controlling regulations of the federally run Canadian Wheat Board, calling for more freedom to plant what they see fit and the ability to trade directly within world markets.225 Protestant persecution of Catholics, even from within the Orange Order, has been a thing of the past in Canada since the late 1960s.226 However, according to historian Callum Beck, who specializes in Canadas Protestant-Catholic relations, there are still some examples of the divide, especially in Newfoundland; and of course, some prejudice and bias, plus some concerns over inter-marriage; and you get some fights between rival gangs in Newfoundland and even in Ontario in recent years around the separate schools.227 Mtis and Indian

See Farmers Oppose Tories' Wheat Board Policy And Strong-Arm Tactics in the Vue Weekly at the following link: default.aspx?i=5606 or Top Court Ruling a Defeat for Canadian Wheat Board in the Vancouver Sun at this link: story.html. 226 Callum Beck. Letter between Brent Bilsky and Callum Beck Summarizing Anti-Catholicism in Modern Canada, dated February 28, 2011. Taken from The Creation of the Protestant-Catholic Divide on P.E.I. (Doctoral Dissertation, Open University in England). 1. 227 Beck, 1.


Bilsky populations across Canada are slowly seeing the crimes committed against them being recognized and dealt with by the federal government.228 The French language debate is


still a relevant issue for francophone populations throughout Canada, including the recent rollback of early French immersion in New Brunswick.229 Furthermore, over the last several decades, as Riel has become more and more recognized as a symbol of these four minority groups, other modern Canadian minorities have begun identifying with him and are claiming him as a human rights hero for their own causes.230 Thus, any revision of Riels legacy has the potential to profoundly affect each of these four national issues; and perhaps other significant Canadian minority issues as well. Riel may represent each of these traditional fault lines to some degree, but has Canada as a nation reached the level of national maturity needed to face these distasteful and divisive issues? That is, are Canadians, at a place in their history where they can begin to be critical of their own past? Before answering these questions, it is helpful to understand the wider development of national identities and the publics perception of that development.

For example: The Indian Residential Schools class-action suit against the Government of Canada was recently settled in 2008 and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was given a five-year mandate to investigate, record, document and provide a process of healing and reconciliation to the victims of the Indian Residential School travesties. 229 See: NB Students Wont Begin French Immersion Until Grade 5: Second language Education in Early Immersion Scrapped in CBC NEWS article dated March 14, 2008 as found at the following link: 230 For a discussion of this phenomenon go to the following parliamentary debate link:




The poleis231 of Athens and Sparta joined forces in 480BCE to fight off Xerxes I of Persia.232 This alliance ended with Athens betrayal of Sparta and the subsequent subjugation of the other Greek poleis by Athens to establish its domination of what would become the nation of Greece.233 The polis of Rome did likewise with their decimation of the Etruscans during the birth of the Roman Republic in 508BCE and the subsequent invasion of the entire Mediterranean worldincluding that of Greece.234 In 768 Charlemagne became King of the Franks in Western Europe and proceeded to expand his rule over his own people and that of his neighbors.235 By his death in 814 the Frankish kingdom covered much of Western Europe and the roots for the nation of France had been planted. William the Conqueror sailed from Normandy to England and defeated that newly unified nation in 1066, disposed of the English elite and established a Frenchspeaking aristocracy.236 Spain and Portugal left their shores in the 15th and 16th centuries and conquered or colonized much of South America, the Caribbean and parts of North America, sometimes at the expense of entire races.237 My point is that, nations are rarely, if ever, born peacefully; rather, they are most often born as a result of one race or people group invading and dominating another.

A polis or poleis were the independent city-states, which existed in ancient Greece before the nation unified. 232 Anthony Snodgrass. Archaic Greece: The Age of Experiment. (Los Angles: University of California Press, 1981), 33. 233 J. B. Bury. A History of Greece: To the Death of Alexander The Great. (New York: Random House Inc., 1943), 113. 234 Simon Hornblower. Antony Spawforth ed. The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 549. 235 Jackson J. Spielvogel. Western Civilization Volume 1: To 1715. 6 ed. (Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2006), 259. 236 David C. Douglas. William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England. (Berkley: University of California Press: 1967), 11. 237 Spielvogel, 312.


Bilsky The nation of Canada is no different, in that it too was born as a result of the violent oppression of its indigenous inhabitants. In 1534 the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, landed on the Gaspe Peninsula and claimed it for France.238 In 1604 Samuel de


Champlain tried to begin the first permanent settlement in New France at St. Croix Island before he moved in 1605 to the more favorable location of Port Royal.239 In 1608 he established the settlement of Quebec (modern day Quebec City). Of course, North America was already populated with a great many indigenous Indian tribes and nations. As the French settlers at Port Royal evolved into a distinct people they came to be known as Acadiens,240 whereas the settlers of the Quebec region came to be called Canadiens.241 Both groups mixed well with the surrounding Algonquin Indian tribes until the English and Dutch colonies to the south tried to establish dominance over the region in 1640s during the Beaver Wars.242 The French and English, along with their various First Nations allies, would continue to fight for lasting control of the region during a series of inter-colonial wars that did not end until 1760 at the close of the Seven Years War and the northern expansion of British North America. This ended over a century of Anglo-French military conflict, leaving the British in charge, the French subjugated and the Indians utterly decimated.

Spielvogel, 403. J. M. Bumsted. The Peoples of Canada: A Pre-Confederation History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 67-8. 240 Acadiens and Canadiens are the original French spellings of the more common English versions (Acadians and Canadians). 241 Bumsted, 68, 77. 242 Bumsted, 79.


Bilsky COLONIAL OPPRESSION After British victory in North America, the English turned to full-scale


colonization. This included an intentional centuries-long Anglicization policy that would systematically replace the Indians pagan savagery with European civilization and religion.243 Initially, missions and schools were set up and credit was extended at all Hudsons Bay Company trading posts to encourage the use of European tools and goods. By the turn of the nineteenth century hunting was discouraged and agriculture and business were pushed.244 Finally, in 1910 Indian affairs minister Duncan Campbell Scott announced that the Anglicization of the Indian was the final solution to Canadas Indian problem and argued that through his Indian Residential Schools program, he would breed out the savage and breed in the European civilization.245 Of course, this was all for the benefit of the Indian. At least that is what Canadians were told by the Department of Indian Affairs and/or many Canadian religious leaders; and what they chose to believe as something historian Michael Ignatieff calls one of their conscienceclearing founding myths.246 Colonies are often established through the destruction or oppression of the local population. Historically, the process of colonization usually meant invading an area for its resources, and wiping out or enslaving the indigenous population. It is not pretty or moral or just or heroic! However, truth this harsh does not motivate the public or soldiers to commit atrocities in the name of resources, land, wealth and progress. Thus,
Ibid., 326. Ibid., 327. 245 Duncan Campbell Scott. Department of Indian Affairs Minister, D.C. Scott to B.C. Indian Agent-General, Major D. McKay: April 12, 1910. Department of Indian Affairs Archives. RG Series, (1910). 10. 246 Michael Ignatieff. The Nightmare From Which We Are Trying To Awake. The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources, ed. Budd, Adam. (New York: Routledge, 2009). 321.
244 243



for centuries one of the ways ruling classes and governments have convinced their people that their cause was a just cause, a moral causeone that was their duty to carry out was to couch these harsh realities in heroic or moral propaganda and myths.

FOUNDING MYTHS The Athenians sought to better the other Greek poleis with their advanced democratic forms of government and philosophy.247 The Romans took over the Mediterranean to ensure peace and order to the regionthe famous Pax Romana.248 Charlemagnes offering to humanity was structure, education and the Christian religion.249 The British Empire was convinced that, as the most industrially and morally advanced race on the planet, it was their duty; in fact, they felt it was the White mans burden, to bring civilization and true Christian religion to the world.250 In short, just as the crusaders of the Middle Ages went out to vanquish the infidels for the glorious moral reason that God wills it, the English flocked to Canada to do their part for God, country and humanity. Of course, behind these altruistic claims laid a strong selfish desire for land, wealth and power. These larger-than-life goals or ideologies helped sustain many of the pioneering settlers of Canada. It is one of the things that got them through the bitter cold winters. It is one of the reasons that they kept risking their lives when trying to settle hostile Indian territories. To know that those who went before them had suffered too, to know that

Snodgrass, 44. Hornblower, 555. Pax Romana is literally translated from Latin as peace be to the Roman. 249 Spielvogel, 260. 250 Rudyard Kipling. As quoted in Citizens of the Empire. The National Archives. (1899). (Accessed: February 21, 2011). 1.


Bilsky those who won the day on the Plains of Abraham, and defeated the Americans in 1812 had also given their blood, sweat and tears for the good cause was motivating and


uplifting. It also relieved their guilt, helping them sleep at night. One only has to look at early Canadian literature for evidence of this phenomenon. Literature of a nation can often reflect how its population views itself; and this is arguably true for Canadian literature. Literary critic David Staines points out in his 1983 Modern Humanities Research Association article entitled, Crouched in Dark Caves: the Post-Colonial Narcissism of Canadian Literature, that the focus of the early Canadian authors and Confederation Poets was commonly the vast and terrifyingly beautiful landscapes and wilderness of the Canadian frontier combined with the sad, but inevitable, decline of the Indian races.251 This made good sense; because as Staines also indicates, the taming of the wilderness was a significant problem for nation building in the New World. Also, by propagating the theory that the Indian races throughout Canada were declining on their own, the idea of saving them from extinction through Anglicization was all any good Christian could be expected to do.252 This myth that the Indian nations within Canada, if left to themselves, were on an irrevocable path to extinction and damnation was just one of many that Canadians told themselves to make sense of the crimes of their founding fathers and contemporary peers. Respected and well-published psychohistorian Michael Ignatieff, in his book entitled The Warriors Honor: Ethnic War and the Modern Conscience (1998), aptly points out that all nations depend on forgetting: on forging myths of unity and identity that allow a

David Staines. Crouched in Dark Caves: the Post-Colonial Narcissism of Canadian Literature. The Yearbook of English Studies, Colonial and Imperial Themes. Spec. Issue of Modern Humanities Research Association 13.1 (1983). 261. 252 Staines, 261.


Bilsky society to forget its founding crimes, its hidden injuries and divisions, its unhealed wounds.253 The unity and identity that Ignatieff is referring to here is the collective identity and morality of a national psyche. While he recognizes that a nation is made of many different groups, each with differing moralities, as a historian he is also aware that we tend to vest our nations with consciences, identities, and memories as if they were individuals.254 In a helpful metaphor that reveals the relationship between such myths


and national wounds and divisions, Ignatieff describes history as a nightmare from which we are trying to awake. He explains that a nightmare is nightmarish, because there is no saving distance between the dreamer and the dream.255 Noting that history becomes a nightmare, when, the past is not the past,256 Ignatieff argues that this often happens during a quarrel, [when] past, present, and future are ablaze together.257 Before Stanleys revisions, for Canada and Riels legacy the quarrel, as Ignatieff puts it, was whether the Mtis provisional government at Red River was valid or treasonous; and now the quarrel is whether or not Riels actions in 1885 deserved the death sentence that he received; and whether he should be remembered as a traitor or a defender of human rights. For the Mtis, the perceived victims in this dispute, and those in power (or those against any revisions), the events surrounding the 1885 Northwest Rebellion happened in the past; but they matter in the present and affect the future all at once. It is all too close to be reconciled. Ignatieff argues that in order to awake from the nightmare and distinguish between myth and truth we must recover the saving
253 254

Ignatieff, 321. Ignatieff, 320. 255 Ibid., 320. 256 Ibid., 320. 257 Ibid., 320.



distance between past and present.258 But, are Canadians ready to recover that distance? Can Canadians handle the truth?

REACHING MATURITY In his paper, David Staines argues that as the colony overcame the challenges of the Canadian landscape, authors like Fredrick Phillip Grove, who wrote Settlers in the Marsh (1925) began to focus on the promises of the future.259 He says that this was in line with government rhetoric and especially important following the devastating losses of human life after World War One. Furthermore, with the Great Depression and World War Two now behind them, Canadian writers Adele Wiseman and Mordecai Richler continued writing about the future possibilities of the true North, strong and free.260 Stories like these, of a future promise and hope, helped keep the Canadian publics morale up throughout the post-war years. They were inspiring and promising all at once. It seems that Canadian literature was no longer focusing on the hagiography of both its founding heroes and their ideologies. With peace and maturity often comes a phase of retrospection. Thus, by the nineteen-sixties the futuristic focus had declined as the nation and its writers matured and began to look to the pastsomething that Staines says they had not yet done.261 He goes on to note that this growing orientation to the past indicates an acceptance of cultural maturity and a consequent examination of a history as of yet untold; one, which

258 259

Ibid., 320. Staines, 262. 260 Ibid., 263. 261 Ibid., 263.



might offer some possible order that may explain the present and prepare the way for the future.262 Of course, these trends were not only evident in literature. As western nations like Britain and France were releasing many of their colonies to self-rule, Americans and Canadians also began to look at their own past actions towards their colonized populations. The American Indian Movement was founded in 1968. Despite a section of the 1927 Canadian Indian Act that forbade First Nations people from forming political organizations to represent their interests Native Canadians also made many attempts to do the same in the seventies.263 In 1982, with the support of Parliament, the Assembly of First Nations was formed to formally challenge the Canadian government on Native issues, including recognition of theirs and Riels role in the founding of Canada.264 By the last half of the twentieth century, Canadians were ready to look critically at some of their founding myths. The once triumphant policies of colonization and the Indian Act went under the microscope. Minority groups began to challenge the statusquo national history narratives and demanded a more inclusive and critical approach to Canadian History.265

HISTORICAL RECONCILIATION BEGINS One of the first notable critical revisions of a Canadian historical figure of national significance was that of Louis Riel. After a decade long effort to recognize the

Ibid., 263. Michael Posluns and Anthony J. Hall. Assembly of First nations The Canadian Encyclopedia: Historica-Dominion. Params=A1ARTA0000352. (Accessed: February 21, 2011). 1. 264 Posluns, 1. 265 Conrad, 3.


Bilsky interpretive discoveries of Stanley and Morton on March 10, 1992 the House of


Commons passed a special resolution honouring Louis Riel as a founder of Manitoba and recognizing his contribution to the development of western Canada.266 This hard-fought and long-awaited acknowledgement and show of respect toward the Mtis people of Canada was an historical shift in national policy. Furthermore, it was an unqualified success compared to the last time Parliament tried to revise its view of an historical narrative so close to Canadas volatile French/English division. In 1849, the French-controlled parliament of the Province of Canada passed the Rebellion Losses Bill, which would see the government pay for damages to French citizens by government forces during the 1837-38 Rebellions.267 This infuriated the English who saw it as recognition that the Rebellions were nothing more than legal protests.268 It also resulted in the Houses of Parliament being burned to the ground during English rioting, which lasted more than a week.269 Thus, the 1992 peaceful amendment of Riels Red River legacy signaled to Canadians that the flag of historical reconciliation had been raised. Louis Riels hanging had a profoundly negative effect in Quebec. It has even been claimed, Louis Riel's death was the first post-Confederation step in what was to become Canadas national unity crisis.270 Lower Canadas bid to secede in 1838 was put to rest in part by the British military and in part by the 1840 Act of Union, which

Murray, 1335. Parliamentary Scribe. From the 18th day of January to the 30th day of May, 1849. Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. (1849). Archived on Early Candiana Online. (Accessed: February 20, 2011). 143. 268 James Moir Ferres. The Disgrace of Britain is Accomplished! Montreal Gazette. (Montreal: April 25, 1849). Extra. Archived on Early Canadiana Online. (Accessed: February 20, 2011). 9. 269 Parliamentary Scribe, 262. 270 See Chapter II, page 31.


Bilsky provided Anglophone Canada with responsible government.271 The idea of an independent Republic of Quebec all but disappeared from the Canadian political landscape for the next forty-five years; that is, until the hanging of Louis Riel in 1885. How significant was the execution of Riel for Macdonalds provincial conservative counterparts? Prior to the first election after Riels execution, which was held in 1887, the Conservative government had held power in Quebec a formidable 19 out of 20 years since its creation.272 As outlined in chapter two, Honor Mercier led his


Parti National to parliament on a wave of outcry over the murder of Riel. This was the first nationalist government in Quebecs history.273 Aside from a five-and-a-half-year stint of appointed Premiers following one narrow Conservative victory (1891-97) the Conservative Party of Quebec has suffered a 114-year shutout!274 To date, the Conservative Party has yet to win another Quebec election.275 In short, 1885 does not just mark the year of Riels death, but also the beginning of the death of Conservative rule in Quebec.

THE DOMINO EFFECT We have just seen how enormously significant Riels execution was to Quebec politics; but how significant was Parliaments 1992 revision of his Red River legacy to Quebec politics? While it certainly provided some measure of saving distance from the past, it could not stop the groundswell of separatist determination that had been building
S. J. Jacques Monet. Act of Union. The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.thecanadian (Accessed: February 20, 2011). 1. 272 Web-master. Quebec General Elections. Qubec (Accessed: February 20, 2011). 1. 273 Goulet, 243. 274 Qubec, 1. 275 Ibid., 1.

Bilsky in Quebec since the 1980 Quebec Referendum. Thus, three years after Riel had been honored by Parliament another referendum was held. In 1995, the Quebec Referendum on separation was made possible by a strong Party Quebecois victory in the 1994 election.276 Quebec narrowly remained part of


Canada with the no vote victorious by 50.6% to 49.4%.277 One would like to think that the federal governments 1992 recognition of Riel contributed to the narrow victory of the non-separatists. Even though the separatists did not gain their independence, they did begin more than a decade of discourse with the federal government on their historical grievances and present desires. The result was that each side of the quarrel shared their perspectives, compromises were made and the past hurts moved further into the past. So much so, that in a 2009 Angus Reid poll, the separatist vote had dropped from its 49.4% high in 1995 to just 28%.278 This makes sense and speaks to the profound effect of History on a countrys future. As Ignatieff asserts, a reckoning is possible only when a publicly sponsored discourse gives it permission to happen.279 Since 1992, when Canada began to fly the flag of reconciliation by revisiting their hidden injuries and divisions, much progress has been made toward a reckoning of unhealed wounds.280 For instance, after a twenty-three year dialogue with the Inuit, in 1999 the federal government enacted the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act of 1993, which resulted in
276 277

Ibid., 1. Web-master. 1995 Referendum. Qubec elections-et-referendums/referendums-quebecois/referendum-de-1995/. (Accessed: February 20, 2011). 1. 278 Jaideep Murkerji. Separation for Canada Unlikely for the Majority of Quebecers. Angus Reid Strategies Quebec Public Opinion Poll. (Montreal: Angus Reid Strategies, 2009). 1. 279 Ignatieff, 325. 280 Ibid., 321.

Bilsky the creation of the new Inuit Territory of Nunavut. The territory was established to


address historical grievances surrounding the 1953-55 Relocation and the Inuits right to responsible government. The last time the Canadian map changed was in 1949 with the inclusion of the province of Newfoundland into Canadian confederation. Another ripple from the flag of reconciliation was that of the apology to the Acadians by the federal government and British Crown for the 1755 Acadian Deportation. After a thirteen-year long dialogue with the Canadian government and Her Majesty the Queen, in 2003 the Acadians received recognition of their historical mistreatment. Euclide Chiasson, head of the Socit Nationale des Acadiens said that this recognition, this proclamation is very important for our people; it is not about the past, it is about the future.281 Chiasson meant that by bringing healing to a past wound, the Acadian people could now focus their energies on the future. As Ignatieff pointed out, the past continues to torment, because it is not the past.282 By seeking recognition of their sufferings via an apology, the Acadians were trying to gain a saving distance from the past, so that it no longer dictated their present identity. Like a brisk breeze gaining speed over the bald prairie, the winds of historical revisionism increased in strength. During the next historic apology the metaphorical flag of reconciliation was standing straight out. This time the federal government apologized to the Indian and Mtis victims of the Indian Residential Schools program. Open discussions about the human rights abuses at Residential Schools began in 1990 between the Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian government. A class action suit was brought against the government in 1996, which was concluded in 2008 with an official
Euclide Chiasson. Royal Regrets Offered for Acadian Expulsion. Acadian Genealogy Homepage. (2003). (Accessed: February 22, 2011). 1. 282 Ignatieff, 328.

Bilsky apology and a monetary settlement of $1.9 billion.283 Furthermore, the Truth and


Reconciliation Commission of Canada was given a five-year mandate to facilitate further healing and to create an historical archive on the Indian Residential Schools atrocities.284

THE ROLE OF TRAUMA Ignatieff explains in his book why South Africas Truth and Reconciliation Committee has had a degree of success at staving off a vengeful civil war and instead has promoted national healing. He attributes Archbishop Tutus success to his commissions promotion of national unity and reconciliation and the healing of the traumatized, divided, wounded polarized people.285 This has come by seeking narratives of what happened as well as narratives that attempt to explain why it happened and who was responsible.286 Given this informed understanding, victims felt they did not need to punish the transgressors in order to put the past behind them.287 This meant that the power block would walk away with their legitimacy undermined, but their power in tack.288 In short, if the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada can manage to convey that peace and healing does not come from vengeance; but rather, from the admission of guilt and the recognition of wrong doing and an understanding of the suffering caused; then perhaps it too will successfully complete its mandate. Regardless

Stephen Harper. Prime Minister Harper Offers Full Apology on Behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential Schools System. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. (2008). (Accessed: February 22, 2011). 1. 284 TRC. Frequently Asked Questions. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (TRC: Winnipeg, 1999). 1. 285 Ignatieff, 321. 286 Ibid., 321. 287 Ibid., 321. 288 Ibid., 322.


Bilsky of the outcome, the very fact that the government is committed to this process of


revisiting and rewriting the Indian Residential School past with a critical eye speaks to its desire to help the victims gain that saving distance from the past and begin to look toward the possibilities of the future. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is thus poised to benefit both the corporate and individual lives of the nation, its Indians and Mtis. Canadas Indians have for centuries suffered racist treatment at the hands of the Caucasian population, as have the Mtis. However, the Mtis have at times also suffered ethnic rejection from full-breed Indians. Thought of as half-breed mongrels, many Mtis have experienced oppression from both Caucasian Canadians and Native Canadians. If one adds to this reality the Indian Residential Schools program, the mistreatment which they have historically received from the government and ruling classes for their beliefs and the suppression of their Michif languages, the Mtis may be one of the most oppressed and polarized people in Canada. Their many wounds run deep; so much so that the Mtis National Council has struggled to effectively articulate a Mtis identity.289 In a paper on the historiography of trauma, psychohistorian Adam Phillips says that identity and ones past are deeply intertwined.290 Similar to Ignatieff, who also draws upon Freuds theories, Phillips argues that without the proper distance from the past, one

Editorial. Mtis Identity Matters. Winnipeg Free Press. (February 9, 2011) http://www. A10. So far the Mtis National Council has defined being Mtis as the following: a person who selfidentifies as Mtis (with no definition of identifies), traces his or her roots to the historic Mtis ancestral homeland (note not to a Mtis bloodline and the ancestral homelands have yet to be defined), is distinct from other aboriginals and is accepted by the Mtis nation (by what guidelines?). 290 Adam Phillips. Close-Ups. History Workshop Journal. Vol. 57 (2004). 143.


Bilsky cannot see the past clearly.291 He likens this to the changing shapes and double images


one sees when they are standing nose to nose with someone and looking into their eyes. Clarity is impossible at this distance. Phillips also notes that the effects of trauma often lead to overload and incapacity to think and feel.292 Survivors of a trauma, says Phillips, do not have a history; there is a history, but not for them; because they are too close and often can make nothing of their experience.293 The Mtis are undoubtedly the victims of great trauma. It is no wonder that they are struggling to articulate a cohesive cultural identity. Their past is not theirs: it has been stolen and abused. In short, it is all ablaze with the not so distant past (and often present) traumas of racism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, religious abuse, the loss of place, the loss of culture, the loss of language, the loss of life and the loss of livelihood. With these facts in mind, the importance of the past and the current attempt to further revise Riels legacywhich is intrinsically tied to Mtis history and identity becomes even more evident. It is also essential to understand that these traumas, or past wounds as Ignatieff calls them, are national traumas in that Canada as a nation played a role in them; and thus its collective identity is also tied up in these events. Therefore, all Canadians stand to benefit from revisiting past wounds and divisions like Riels legacy with a critical eye. If Ignatieff and Phillips are correct, then as Canadians address the oppressed, conflicting and inaccurate histories within their national narrative, they will gain a saving distance from the nightmare of their colonial past and will become free to aim all their energies toward a healthier, more informed future.
291 292

Phillips, 143. Ibid., 143. 293 Ibid., 149.




For most of the past century Canadian children learned an inspiring and heroic story about the nations first Prime Minister. It had to do with Sir John A. Macdonald accomplishing the impossible goal of unifying the diverse peoples of Canada in spite of vast geographies and two dangerous rebellions. In that story Macdonald took the highroad when confronted by Louis Riels 1869 illegal provisional government. By using his political prowess and statesmanship to peacefully welcome the newly formed province of Manitoba into Canadian Confederation, Macdonald skillfully protected the prairies from annexation by the United States. Fifteen years later, the now religious fanatic Riel rose again to challenge the Dominions claim to what would become the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Riel and his army of Mtis and Indian savages terrorized the settlers in the region and plotted to once again carve out a country for themselves. Thanks to Macdonalds foresight the Canadian Pacific Railway was nearly half finished and provided quick transport for westward Canadian troops to quell the North-West Rebellion. The expedience and success of the campaign led to new funding with which to complete the railroad. On November 7, 1885 the last spike was driven to mark the completion of both Macdonalds beloved Canadian Pacific Railway and the unification of the nation. Fittingly, Louis Riel, that enemy of Canadian unity, was hung for his crimes the following week.

Bilsky Today Canadians are taught that the story is not that simple. By the 1930s


historians had uncovered secret correspondence between Macdonald and his staff, which clearly stated that the nations first Prime Minister was fully aware of the legality of Riels position. Macdonald understood that the citizens of Red River had the legal right under the Law of Nations to form their own government; and as such, he was forced to deal with them with words instead of weapons. Further uncovered evidence revealed that Macdonald had paid Riel a substantial bribe to leave the country and to not run for office in Manitoba. By omitting these events, early Macdonald biographers bolstered the Prime Ministers heroic image and sought to retain the nations collective memory of the significance of Macdonalds actions in the shaping of Canada. In spite of the critics, who feared that this kind of historical revisionism would forever tarnish the valiant and courageous memories of the nations founders, Macdonalds popularity has gone largely unscathed. He remains to this day the single most popular Prime Minister in Canadian history. 294 However, the amendments to the account of the Red River Uprising did not come easily or without challenge. They only found their way into textbooks after tireless peer review and evidential verification. Whereas modern professional historians have come to embrace and welcome responsible and balanced interpretive history, the general public is far more skeptical. Historian Ian Mortimer states the public tends to view revisionist theories of well-known historical incidents tied closely to its own lineage with skepticism.295 This helps explain, as evidenced in chapter one, why there are still those who misunderstand revisionism or feel threatened by the fluidity of History and will not give up on their traditional
Elizabeth J. Ballard and Peter Suedfeld, Performance Ratings of Canadian Prime Ministers: Individual and Situational Factors, Political Psychology 9, no. 2 (June 1988): 291, 294. 295 Ian Mortimer. Revisionism Revisited. History Today. Vol. 54. Issue 3. March 2004. 23.

Bilsky perspectives. Newspapers right across Canada have featured editorials debating the question of Riels exoneration. In the comments sections of these online papers a significant number of readers still insist on the fixedness of History. Such parochial views obscure the authentic historical record, and thus retard the maturation of Canada.


Yet as people all across the nation gather to celebrate this Year of the Mtis and remember Riel on the 125th anniversary of his execution, it appears that Canadians and their government are closer than ever to agreeing on a further amendment of Riels legacy.296 These adjustments began in 1956 with Stanley and Mortons findings and continued right up to the recent book by Goulet. Each has contributed to this gradual change in public opinion. As David Staines pointed out earlier, a growing orientation to the past indicates an acceptance of cultural maturity and a consequent examination of a history as of yet untold.297 Furthermore, he posited that this examination might offer some possible order that may explain the present and prepare the way for the future.298 For a history to be as of yet untold it cannot be the history commonly propagated by one side of a division or the other; but rather, it must be a fresh collaborative synthesis of the various sides. Without this willingness or ability to look critically at their past, Canadians will simply not be able to get beyond what Ignatieff calls the forging myths of unity and identity that allow a society to forget its founding crimes, its hidden injuries and divisions, its unhealed wounds.299 If, as psychohistorians Ignatieff and Phillips have demonstrated, identity and history are irrevocably intertwined,

Joanne Villeneuve. $55m For Metis Employment Project. Brandon Sun. (September 12, 2010). Accessed: September 26, 2010. 1. 297 Staines, 263. 298 Staines, 263. 299 Ignatieff, 321.


Bilsky then as long as Canadians resist this type of collaborative reinterpretation of Canadas collective identity/history, Canada will remain a tenuous mosaic of cultural, linguistic, religious and geographical tensions.


The myths that hide the founding crimes of the nation also fulfill another role: the role of denial and oppression of minority histories/identities. If the reconciliatory benefits of historical revisionism are recognized by the majority of Canadiansas it presently seems they indeed have been recognized by their governmentthen the nation has the potential to become a cohesive mosaic of cultures, languages, religions and regions. This type of interconnection is that which comes from working together to establish a unified, balanced and critical history. Then, and only then, will competing groups of Canadians be able to begin to break free from the repetitive cycle of dispute caused by the divisive traumas of their colonial past. Ironically, this cycle ensures that the past conflicts of culture, language, religion and region will manifest in the present and repeat in the future; which thus means, in one sense, that the future has already been determined. However, if the healing of the above divisions through a collaborative synthesis of the various competing histories helps breaks this cycle, then the future will, at least in this manner, cease to be dictated. The future, like the history that was as of yet untold before the synthesis took place, is now as of yet unmade. This has already been somewhat evidenced by the surge of reconciliation offered to minorities by the Canadian government following the 1992 amendment of Riels Red River legacy. The francophone populations of Quebec are more content and the separatist debate shows no sign of reappearing. The Inuit of Nunavut have broken a two

Bilsky hundred year cycle and regained self-government. The Acadian deportation has been officially recognized for the tragedy that it was, effectively giving Acadians back their


past and allowing them to create a new future after centuries of denial and rebuffs. The Indian Residential Schools apology has begun the long journey of reconciliation between Canada and its indigenous population; that, if done well, may help break the endless cycles of abuse in many Native communities. As Cristen Cogner points out in her article on historical revisionism, revisionist history is complicated by the fact that people's identities are strongly linked to their histories.300 Therefore, because Riels history encompasses many of Canadas national fault lines, it has the potential to affect the nations collective identity not just that of the Mtis. Mtis and Riel supporters are now seeking to have his conviction for treason overturned and the injustice of his trial recognized so that they can regain a saving distance from their past and can begin to find healing for their beleaguered identities. By working toward a balanced and fair amendment of Riels conviction with the Mtis Canadians may also begin to regain a saving distance from the traumas of the atrocities of their colonial past. Finally, by embracing a critical revisionist view of their past, in the words of the African poet, Ben Okri, Canadians Ought to shine to the world And tell everyone That history, though unjust, Can yield wiser outcomes. And out of bloodiness Can come love Out of slave-trading Can come a dance of souls
Cristen Cogner. How Revisionist History Works. How History Stuff Works. (2011). Accessed: March 21, 2011. 1.

Bilsky Out of division, unity; Out of chaos, fiestas. City of tradition, conquests, And variety; City of commerce and the famous river, Tell everyone that the future Is yet unmade. - Lines in Potentis301


Ben Okri. Lines in Potentis. 40 Artists, 40 Days - Online Tate. (2002). http://www. Accessed: March 21, 2011. 1





To aid the reader in locating a particular source within a bibliography of this size and complexity the annotated bibliography, which follows has been broken up into ten sections, each with their own heading. The groupings are first by topic, beginning with sources on Louis Riel, then those on Historiography and finally the General Sources. Each section has been further divided by the type of source (i.e. primary, secondary, textbook, biography, journal article, media article and etcetera). Finally, each of these sections is organized alphabetically.

PRIMARY SOURCES ON LOUIS RIEL Begg, Alexander. The Creation of Manitoba: A History of the Red River Troubles. Toronto: Hunter Rose and King, 1871. Pp. 1-408. Print. Beggs account of the troubles are personal and full of biases; and as such, as the oldest source and one of the closest to its event, this book serves as a perfect example of inaccurate and partisan history. It is also one of the only books that deals solely with Red River. Chamberlin, Brown. Ed. The Queen vs. Louis Riel: Accused and Convicted of the Crime of High Treason. Ottawa: Queens Printer, 1886. 1-221. Print. This publication issued by the Queens Printer, Brown Chamberlin, is a collection of the transcripts from Riels trial and appeals to the Queens Bench and the Privy Council of England. This is an excellent primary source for those not intimidated by legalese. Morton, Desmond. Intro. to The Queen v Louis Riel, by Queens Court of Regina. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974. Pp. 1-383. Print. This transcription of Riels trail is another excellent source to support the need for Riel revisionism. It reveals how the crown appointed magistrate (an Orangeman) consistently hinders the defense from obtaining the legal rights of their client, which supports the call for Riels conviction to be overturned. Riel, Louis. The Collected Writings of Louis Riel / Les Ecrits Complets De Louis Riel Volumes 1-5. Edited by Stanley, George F. G.; Raymond Huel; Gilles Martel; Thomas Flanagan; et al. Edmonton, Alberta: The University of Alberta Press, 1985. Pp. ix-2569. Print. Revisionist history is serious history. It aims to clarify and reveal a more accurate interpretation of the true events of the past. This collection of Riels writings is



essential in that pursuit; for, if one is to sift through the pages and pages of claims concerning Riel, they must first become acquainted with the man himself. . Selected Poetry of Louis Riel. Translated by Paul Savoi. ed. Glen Campbell. Toronto: Exile Editions Limited, 1993. Pp. 1-60. Print. I have included Riels poetry because it also serves the above purpose of getting to know Riel. Furthermore, a persons poetry, like their personal correspondence or journals, can disclose to the historian a more intimate side of the subject. Thus, it gives the historian a deep insight into their subjects character. Stanley, G. F. G. and A. S. Morton, eds. Alexander Begg's Red River Journal and Other Papers Relative in the Red River Resistance of 1869-70. Toronto: The Champlain Society, 1956. Pp. xiii-636. Print. This edition of Beggs journals has the best of both worlds. First, it aids the historian in understanding the contemporary biases toward Riel. It also provides readers with the fresh insights of Stanley and Morton, which reflective process is itself the beginning of the revisionist process.

HISTORY TEXTBOOKS CONCERNING LOUIS RIEL Anonymous. The Riel Rebellion of 1885. Montreal: Witness Printing House, 1885. Pp. 1-47. Print. This publication serves as a typical example of the type of political propaganda that was prevalent following the execution of Riel as both the French and the English fought for public opinion. Bumsted, J. M. The peoples of Canada: A Pre-Confederation History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. vii-599. Print. Bumsteds text is an admirable rendering of Pre-Confederation British North America. The inclusion of general works of this era will go a long way in delivering the essential contexts to the Riel story and prevent any conclusions from being too parochial. Conrad, Margaret, Alvin Finkle. Canada: A National History. Second Ed. Toronto: Pearson Longman, 2007. Pp.iii-489. Print. Biases are impossible to completely eradicate; and thus it is important to read many views of the same story. Conrad and Finkels obvious bias is that they are trying to provide minorities with a voice in this national history text. Best intentions aside, they miss the mark when it comes to the Mtis. Friesen, Gerald. The Canadian Prairies: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987. Pp. xiii-534. Print. This text is solely focused on the prairies, which illustrates the immediate contexts influencing Riels decisions and those influencing how he was received. Especially highlighted is the East versus West economic struggle that was just beginning in Riels era.



Goulet, George R. D. The Trial of Louis Riel: Justice and Mercy Denied. Calgary: Ltd., 1999. Pp. 1-286. Print. Goulets treatment of The Queen vs. Louis Riel is both detailed and extensive. His legal expertise has brought insight into the field of Riel studies previously unknown to historians. This book reveals very pertinent evidence for the revision of Riels conviction for high treason. Guillet, Edwin C. Early Life in Upper Canada. Toronto: Ontario Publishing Company, 1933. Pp. xiii-782. Print. Again, perspectives are everything when it comes to history. This text contributes to the overall picture of Riels era and Canadas history in general with a lengthy look at the eastern Canadian (Ontario) mindset and contexts. Lamb, R. E., C.S.B. Thunder in the North: Conflict over the Riel Risings... 1870 and 1885. New York: Pageant Press Inc., 1957. Pp. 1-354. Print. The passage of time is often beneficiary to the study of the things said and done. Thus, this text has been added for the purpose of demonstrating this theory. More than sixty years after the death of Macdonald, Lamb is freer to take a more critical look at the troubles than those who came before him. Doughty, Lawrence B. A. Makers of Canada Series: Index and Dictionary. Toronto: Morang & Co., Limited, 1912. Pp. 1-198. Print. The index to the Makers of Canada Series as an apt resource to understanding what kinds of people were considered influential to the growth of Canada in the early twentieth century. Morton, A. S. A History of Canada West to 1870-71. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1939. Pp. xi-334. Print. This text mirrors that of Guillets, but has still been included to show that Ontarios history was for a long time seen as Canadas history, while the West was largely ignored. It also offers yet another perspective. Ross, Alexander. The Red River Settlement: its Rise, Progress and Present State-with some Account of its Native races and General history to the Present Day. London: Smith Elder and Co., 1856. Pp. 1-416. Print. Ross provides readers with a tireless account of his recollection of life in Red River, which is slanted somewhat from his English Protestant perspective. The many details about communal and personal affairs paint a vivid picture of the settlement. Sprague, D. N. Canada and the Mtis: 1869-1885, Foreword by Tomas R. Berger. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier Press, 1988. Pp. xii-204. Print. This is the first focused look at Mtis culture and history and how it influenced and was influenced by Canada as a whole. As revisionist history goes, this text begins to more accurately address the role that the Mtis played in the formation of the nation.



Stanley, George F. G. The Birth of Western Canada: A History of the Riel Rebellions. Toronto: Longmans, Green & Company, 1936. Pp. xi-526. Print. Stanleys text is absolutely essential as an early recognition of the importance of Riel in the formation of the Westsomething Begg or Collins would never have considered.

BIOGRAPHIES OF LOUIS RIEL Boydon, Joseph. Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2010. Pp. 1-224. Print. It is the most recent biography on Riel; and it is by a Mtis. However, due to the poor scholarship of this account and its decidedly literary nature the only significance of this book is that it is part of the Extraordinary Canadians Series, which is designed to pay tribute to the makers of Canadaa style of series which is not new, but Riels inclusion in one is definitely new. Collins, J. E. The Story of Louis Riel: the Rebel Chief. Toronto: Collins Inc., 1885. Pp. 1-135. Print. Collins novel was passed off as an historical biography for decades and subsequently influenced much of the writing on Riel in the early twentiethcentury. Therefore, though it is really a novel, it is important to students of Riel if they are to understand how it shaped his legacy. Also, Collins use of the captivity narrative genre is fascinating. Flanagan, Thomas. Louis 'David' Riel: 'Prophet of the New World'. Toronto: University of Toronto Press Inc, 1996. Pp. 1-240. Print. Now we get into the various personas of Riel as Flanagan reveals the mystic side of the Mtis leader. This book is so balanced that the reader has a hard time determining whether Flanagan is pro-Riel or against himbrilliant. Howard, Joseph Kinsey. Strange Empire: Louis Riel and the Mtis People. Toronto: James, Lewis & Samuel, 1952. Pp. vi-601. Print. Following Beggs and Collins footsteps, Kinsey, yet another reporter, retells the story of Riel. However, the passage of time has benefited the work as it is far more balanced than its predecessors. Siggins, Maggie. Marie-Anne: The Extraordinary Life of Louis Riel's Grandmother. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2008. Pp. xi-307. Print. Although not directly on Riel, Siggins book beautifully illustrates the geographical and cultural context of the early West so well that it should not be overlooked. It also gives insights into Riels family legacy.



. Riel: A Life of Revolution. Toronto: Harper Collins, 1994. Pp. xviii-507. Print. As a modern biography Siggins book makes available a well-researched revision of Riels story to historiographers and students of Riel studies that carries on Stanleys tradition. Stanley, George F. G. Louis Riel. Toronto: Ryerson, 1963. Pp. 1-433. Print. Following Kinseys biography Stanleys contribution utilizes the more scientific methods of a university-trained historian. Finally readers are treated to a biography on Riel that relies heavily on primary sources, documents and Riels own writings. Stanley has ushered in a new era of Riel studies. Weibe, Rudy. Scorched Wood People. Toronto: New Canadian Library, 1977. Pp. 1351. Print. Wiebe is well known in the literary world for being a well-respected amateur historian, as well as one who has successfully given voice to those who have not had the opportunity to speak or be heard. Thus, I have added this selection as an early attempt to put Riel into a fully positive light by a non-indigenous author.

JOURNAL ARTICLES AND COLLECTIONS CONCERNING LOUIS RIEL Braz, Albert. The Absent Protagonist: Louis Riel in Nineteenth-Century Canadian Literature. Canadian Literature First Nations writing Series #167 (Winter 2000): Pp 45-61. Print. In this article the ever-astute Braz demonstrates to his readers that a common theme running through Riel biographies and other cultural literature centered on him is that Riel himself is missing. Rather than being so much about Riel, these works are often more about their authors than anything else. Macedo, Paul. Effort to Recognize Riel Gains Steam. Alberta Sweetgrass (December 31, 2001): Pp. 12-16. Print. This article denotes the near completion of Riel revisionism as Macedo posits that Riel is now recognized as a Father of Confederation and no longer a traitor. Morell, W. P. Review: Alexander Begg's Red River Journal and Other Papers Relative in the Red River Resistance of 1869-70. The English Historical Review. Vol. 73, No. 286 (January, 1958): Pp. 178-179. Print. Morell provides his readers with a brief overview of Stanley and Mortons book. Unfortunately, like many other authors, Morell has wasted valuable review space with a tertiary summary of Riels legacy.



O'Toole, Roger. Review: Louis David Riel: Prophet of the New World. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Vol. 19, No. 3. (Sep., 1980). Pp. 310-312. Print. OToole offers insight into Flanagans underlying position as a Riel critic and reveals the possible agenda of discrediting Riel to modern readers as sane, but a religious flake. Salloum, Habeeb. Louis Riel's Last Stand. Military History (May 2006): pp. 22-28. Print. Salloum brings an important viewpoint to the table, that of the military legacy of the rebellions. For many people, one of the biggest encumbrances in the way of embracing Riel as a hero is the memory and honor of the fallen soldiers who fought to quell the rebellions. This is often revisionisms biggest challenge. Stanley, G.F.G.; Paul Driben; Ken Hatt; K.S. Coates and et al. 1885 and after: Native Society in Transition. Edited by F. Laurie Barron and James B. Waldram. Regina: Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina, (1986): Pp. 1-306. Print. One of the ways in which the passage of time contributes to a more accurate history is that over time historians can test the validity of promises and perceived agendas by their fruit. For instance, whether the Manitoba Act and treaties were upheld can and does reveal something of those who ratified them.

CULTURAL REPRESENTIONS OF LOUIS RIEL Braz, Albert. The False Traitor: Louis Riel in Canadian Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003. Pp. vi-245. Print. This is an expanded version of Brazs earlier article and should be required reading for anyone hoping to understand the evolution of Riel revisionism. Charland, Maurice. "Newsworld, Riel, and the Mtis: Recognition and the Limits to Reconciliation." Canadian Journal of Communication vol. 32 (Fall 2007): pp. 9-27. Print. The author explores the various reactions of the Mtis people to Riels evolving legacy. This piece is directly relevant to the third chapter on reconciliation and identity. Langager, Ross. "History in the Gutters: A Critical Examination of Chester Browns Louis Riel: A Comic-strip Biography." Master Thesis, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta., 2007. Pp. 1-115. Print. Chester Browns Riel comic-strip biography is just one of many cultural representations of the Mtis leaders life. Cultural depictions often act as forerunners to revisionist histories because fiction traditionally has been given a longer leash when criticizing status-quo positions; hence, Langagers review of it and its inclusion herein.



Moss, Jane. "Playing with History: Qubec Historical Plays from the Quiet Revolution to the Referendum." The French Review 63, no. 2 (December 1989): pp. 337-346. Print. This is another review of cultural works on Rielbut this time a review on one of the many stage plays portraying Riels life. The special importance of this one is that is focuses on French plays thus delivering a rare insight into the Francophone outlook. Reid, Jennifer. Louis Riel and the Creation of Modern Canada: Mythic Discourse and the Postcolonial State. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2008. Pp. 1-314. Print. Postcolonial theory is a great example of modern methodologies, which drive revisionism. By looking at Riel through a postcolonial lens, Ried offers insights which early, though competent, scholars like Stanley and Morton could not. Zapf, Donna Doris Anne. "Singing History and Performing Race - An Analysis of Three Canadian Operas: Beatrice Chancy, Elsewhereless and Louis Riel." PhD diss., University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia., 2004. Pp. 1235. Print. If one doubts the impact of artistic representations of history, then they only have to look at the effects of Tompson Highways plays, novels and music about the Indian Residential School debacle to realize that art can go places historians cannot. Art often challenges societies taboos and self-censorship, helping highlight where revisions are needed.

NEWS MEDIA ARTICLES CONCERNING LOUIS RIEL Austin, Edie. Season Preview: So Much To Read, So Many Authors To Meet. Montrealgazette.Com. (September 16, 2010). http://www.montrealgazette. com/news/season+preview+much+read+many+authors+meet/3535773/story. html#ixzz10floh5oi. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. This article supports my claim that Riel books are still being written and put me onto Joseph Boydens new biography of Riel, which is significant because it is part of a national history series recognizing the figures who contributed to the making of Canada. It is also significant because Boyd is Mtis. Bliss, Michael. Sir John A. Macdonald: Canadas First Prime Minister. My Town (August 23, 2010). Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. The importance of this article is that it points out that historians have traditionally sung the praises of Macdonald; but are now beginning to criticize him for introducing a legacy of corruption into Canadian politics. Not even the nations most beloved leader can hide from revisionism.

Bilsky Clarkson, Adrienne. Governor General in Whirlwind Of Activities: Controversy Ebbs, Canada Falls In Love With Vice-Regal Couple. (November 19, 2005). http://teachers.colonelby. com/bduncan/history/for.html. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Integral to my claim that high-ranking Canadian leaders are weighing in on the debate surrounding Riels legacy is this article detailing Clarksons plea to Canadians to finally recognize what was really going on at Red River and in Saskatchewan.


de Souza, Andrew. All Nations Gather In Prince Albert Again. Prince Albert Daily Herald. (September 8, 2010). Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. This is another example of Riels supporters gathering to celebrate his life and achievements, which fact supports the thesis of chapter three, that the country is closer to accepting a revised narrative of Riel. Goldring, Peter MP. Riel: An Anomaly, Not a Hero. In Human Sciences and History Unit: Revisionist History. (September, 1999). Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Another account of a politician publically entering the debate on Riel is found in Goldrings anti-revisionist lecture. Goldring voices many of the standard arguments against revisionism, including the besmirched-honor of our veterans. . The Truth About Louis Riel. Conservative Party of Canada Riding Newsletter: Goldring. Issue 91. (December, 2009). http://www.scribd. com/doc/27135370 /Peter-Goldring-s-Louis-Riel-pamphlet. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. A decade later Goldring is still defending the Macdonald government and its policies. However, this time his newsletter almost gets him thrown out of his parliamentary chair: this is proof of the widespread approval of Riel revisions. Harrison, David. Battleford Siege Nothing More than a White Mans Truth. Edmonton Journal. (August 20, 2010). Battleford+siege+nothing+more+than+white+truth/3421077/story.html. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Here we have yet another article challenging the old truth. This time it is from the Edmonton Journal, which supports my claim in chapter three that the Riel Issue is a national issue and not just a Manitoba and Saskatchewan issue.



Kalbfleisch, John. What If ? Its an Enticing Game For Professional Historian and Amateur Buffs. Montreal (September 11, 2010). life/What/3509380/story.html. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Again, this article helps my national theory for it comes from far away Montreal. Thus, we have an eastern voice and a French voice. Truly, everyone is talking about Riel. Lawrence, Rebecca. Actors Wanted for the Trial of Louis Riel. Moose Jaw Times Herald. (August 23, 2010). Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. This is yet another trial re-enactment of Louis Riel. There have been countless reenactments of Riels trial where the audience then votes on the verdict (overwhelmingly not guilty). This is just one of the ways in which the arts can assist the revision of bad history. Note that Saskatchewan is now represented. MacIntyre, Hugh. In Support of Giving Louis Riel a Pardon. Western (July 21, 2010). 2010/07/in-support-of-giving-louis-riel-a-pardon.html. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. I have included this as another article in support of Riel revisionism and a Manitoba voice. Martin, Melissa. Speaking Up on Bilingualism in Canada. Winnipeg Free Press. (September 25, 2010). Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Martin details how Riel has become not just a Mtis figure but also a Francophone figure, supporting my claim that in Riels story lies the French/English debate as well. Mitchel, Karen. Construction on Upper Fort Garry Project Begins. CTV (September, 24 2010). CTVNews/20100924/wpg_upper_fort_garry_100924/20100924/?hub=Winnip egHome. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. This article is evidence of how far the tide has turned in Manitoba. First, a statue of Riel is commissioned for the parliament buildings in Winnipeg; then, a public holiday in his honor is announced and now the government is renovating the location of Riels provisional government of 1869.



Norris, Brian. Letter of the Day: Riels Legacy Unclear. Winnipeg Free Press. (September 3, 2010). to_the_editor/riels-legacy-unclear-102134669.html. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Whereas revisionism of Riels story is widespread, there are still some who do not agree. I have included this article as an example of those who see revisionism as an off-color four-letter word. Shelly, Chris. National Post Editorial Board: The Unpardonable Louis Riel. National Post. (July 19, 2010). /2010/07/19/national-post-editorial-board-the-unpardonable-louis-riel/. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. In support of my national theory I have included this interesting article from our national newspaper, which again features the voices of those who cannot understand why it is valid to re-write history. Siggins, Maggie. "Exonerate Riel? Certainly." Winnipeg Free Press, December 4 2010, sec. A, p. 18. exonerate-riel-certainly-111312224.html. (accessed December 17, 2010). Internet. Finally, a professional historian enters the public debate on Riels legacy. This is the only example of academias reaching out to the general public that I could find and I commend Siggins for it. Teillet, Jean. "Putting history in a noose." The Globe and Mail, November 16 2010, sec. A, p. 6. (accessed December 17, 2010). Internet. Jean Teillet is a Vancouver-based lawyer and great-grandniece of Riel, giving me a West Coast voice in support of my national theory. Furthermore, Teillet echoes much of the third chapters thesis about Riels story having far-reaching national significance in reconciliation and identity. Villeneuve, Joanne. $55m For Metis Employment Project. Brandon Sun. (September 12, 2010). Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Here we have proof of the wholesale change of heart of the Canadian government toward Riels people, the Mtis, from that of the Macdonald era. This is all part of the federally mandated Year of the Mtis inaugurated this year by an all-party unanimous vote in parliament.



TEXTBOOKS CONCERNING HISTORIGRAPHY (Revisionism, Trauma & Development) Bentley, Michael. Companion to Historiography. Oxon, UK: T & F Books, 2007. Pp. 1-1024. Print. This unique reference work provides a general guide to the study of the way history has been written, offering 45 substantial essays that examine the techniques, approaches, and biases that have influenced historians to the present. . Modern Historiography: An Introduction. London: Routledge,1999. Pp. 1211. Print. After a short introduction to the history of historical writing, Bently explains the broad philosophical background to the different historians and historical schools of the modern era. Budd, Adam. The modern Historiographical Reader: Western Sources. New York: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xiii-534. Print. Adam Budd guides readers through European and North American developments in history writing since the eighteenth century. I have utilized this source in both my first and third chapters, especially Michael Ignatieffs article on reconciliation. Cohen, Floris H. The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1994. Pp. 1-680. Print. Cohen critically surveys a wide range of scholarship since the nineteenth century, offering new perspectives on how the Scientific Revolution forever changed the way we understand history. Gilderhus, Mark T. History and Historians: A Historiographical Introduction. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1999. Pp. 1-140. Print. As a survey of historical thinking in the West from ancient times to the present, this accessible text focuses on historiography, philosophy of history, and historical methodology, introducing all the main issues. Iggers, Georg G. Historiography in the 20th Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge, 2nd Ed.. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan, 2005. Pp. 1-208. Print. This a well-informed introduction to some of the key views of history adopted by professional historians over the last century, from which one can gain an understanding of historiography in general. Jenkins, Keith. Why History? Ethics and Postmodernity. London: Routledge, 2005. Pp. 1-230. Print. Designed to provoke discussion, this book asks whether and why a good knowledge and understanding of the past is desirable. In the context of current postmodern thinking, Keith Jenkins suggests that the goal of "learning lessons from the past" actually means learning lessons from stories written by historians and others.

Bilsky Lee, Hermione. Biography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Pp. 1-170. Print. Given the volume of biography in history and Riel studies, it is important to research just what is expected of a biography and how those expectations have changed with time.


JOURNAL ARTICLES AND COLLECTIONS ON HISTORIGRAPHY Antoniou, Giorgos. The Lost Atlantis of Objectivity: the Revisionist Struggles Between the Academic and Public Spheres History and Theory, Theme Issue 46. (December 2007). Pp. 92-112. Print. Indispensible to students of revisionist history, this lengthy article explains the positives and the pitfalls of revisionism and how it relates to negationism. I have utilized it extensively in chapter one. Becker, Carl. "Everyman His Own Historian" The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources. Edited by Adam Budd. New York: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xiii-534. Print. Becker relates the study of history to the memory of things said and done, as well as introduces the fact that historians cannot be entirely scientific and objective; nor do we want them to be. I have used this in support of my arguments in chapter one. Blackburn, Carole. Differentiating Indigenous Citizenship: Seeking Multiplicity in Rights, Identity, and Sovereignty. Canada American Ethnologist, Vol. 36 No. 1. (February 2009). Pp. 66-78. Print. This article will be used to support my thesis that a peoples history is integral to their identity. Butterfield, Herbert. The Whig Interpretation of History: The Underlying Assumption. The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources, ed. Budd, Adam, New York: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xiii-534. Print. Butterfield examines the whig biases found in the practice of history; and thus, demonstrates that historians are often partisan or bias in other ways. Carlyle, Thomas. The Hero as Divinity. The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources, ed. Budd, Adam, New York: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xiii-534. Print. Here Carlyle discusses his theory of history utilizing the Great Man theory, while also warning against hero-worship or hagiography. Again this is proof that many pitfalls await historians treasured objectivity.



Cristen Cogner. How Revisionist History Works. How History Stuff Works. (Accessed: March 21, 2011). Pp. 1-4. Internet. Cogner provides readers with a brief yet informative overview of the development and meaning of historical revisionism in the United States. Conrad, Margaret. How Historians Complicate Things: A Brief Survey of CanadianHistoriography. 5. (Accessed: September 26, 2010). An expanded version of an entry on Historiography in W. H. New ed., Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press (Forthcoming). Internet. This article by Conrad explains how the trends, methodologies, or lack thereof, and biases of historians have complicated and continue to complicate the objective telling of history. ; Jocelyn Ltourneau and David Northrup. Canadians and Their Pasts: An Exploration in Historical Consciousness. The Public Historian- Public History in Canada, Vol. 31, No. 1 (February, 2009): pp.15-34. Print. Here Conrad et al. review the trends in Canadian history in order to shed light on how these trends have affected the telling of Canadas history. Ignatieff, Michael. The Nightmare From Which We Are Trying To Awake. The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources, ed. Budd, Adam, New York: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xiii-534. Print. Ignatieff brilliantly describes how revisionist history, identity and reconciliation can work together toward a brighter future through the theoretical lens of psychohistory. Macaulay, Thomas Babington. History. In The Modern Historiography Reader: Western Sources, ed. Budd, Adam, New York: Routledge, 2009. Pp. xiii-534. Print. This is another brilliant article from within Budds reader, which investigates what the historians role is and how history should be studied and recorded. McKillop, A.B. Historiography in English. The Canadian A1ARTA0009244. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Similar to Conrads article on the history of historiography in Canada, this one by A. B. McKillop adds another perspective and fills out conclusions that Conrad makes. McPherson, James. "Revisionist Historians." American Historical Association, September 2003. /0309pre1.cfm/ (accessed December 17, 2010). Internet. As president of the AHA, McPherson speaks for over 14,000 historians when he champions revisionist history in this speech.



Mortimer, Ian. Revisionism Revisited. History Today. Vol. 54. Issue 3. March 2004. Pp. 20-27. Print. Mortimer looks at the theory of revisionist history from the perspective of identity trauma in this article, which adds a whole new level to understanding revisionism. Phillips, Adam. Close-Ups. History Workshop Journal. Vol. 57 (2004). Pp. 142-49. Internet. Phillips article discusses the challenges that trauma or subjects effected by or topics surrounded by trauma pose for psychohistorians and historiographers. Rudin, Ronald. "Revisionism and the Search for a Normal Society: A Critique of Recent Quebec Historical Writing." Canadian Historical Review 73, no. 1 (March 1992): 31-60. Print. This article marks the shift in Francophone historiography from the Differential Theory toward one of normalcy; and it therefore supports my claims that modern historians are challenging traditional views of national history. Seltzer, Alan L. Woodrow Wilson as Corporate-Liberal: Toward a Reconsideration of Left Revisionist Historiography. The Western Political Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 2. (Jun., 1977). Pp. 183-212. Print. Seltzers article explores the validity of Leftist revisionist history in the United States political arena. This article should provide insight into how revisionism has been treated or mistreated. Vargas, Manuel. The Revisionist's Guide to Responsibility. Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, Vol. 125, No. 3. (Sep., 2005). Pp. 399-429. Print. Vargas examines the ethics of revisionism, discussing the responsibilities that come with revising history. This article will add to my understanding of revisionism in general.

NEWS MEDIA ARTICLES CONCERNING REVISIONIST HISTORY Baker, Carolyn. U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didnt Tell You. The Peoples (September 12, 2010). /Books.php/2010/09/12/u-s-historyuncensored-what-your-high-sc. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Like several of the media articles that follow this one, it is one of the several examples I have included which give witness to the type of literary wars that go on in the name of or against revisionism. With a media littered with articles like these, it is no surprise that revisionism has had such a bad name. Beck, Glenn. Becks Crash Course: Revisionist History. Fox News: Glenn Beck Transcript. (September 9, 2010). /0,2933,600982,00.html. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet.



After reading and watching Fox Newss anchor Glenn Beck try to scare the American public by crying revisionism! I wonder why professional historians do not defend their trade against these types of shenanigans. Botkin, Geoffrey. Why the Public School System Teaches Revisionist History. AIPNEWS.COM. (January 13, 2010). forums/thread-view.asp?tid=16829&posts=1. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Here is another example of the revisionist debate in the media today. This one is in support of my assertion that revisionism should be taught in our schools. Cuthand, Doug. Revising Offensive History is to Deny Reality. The Star Phoenix. (January 21, 2011). history+deny+ reality/4143167/ story.html. Accessed: January 22, 2011. Internet. In this article Cuthand bemoans the new editions of Mark Twains, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which have substituted the word nigger for a more sensitive slave. He claims this is revising history and denying reality and relates it to the revisions that have taken place in regards to Riel. Chao, Vincent Y. DPP Lawmakers Slam Revisionist History Curriculum. Taipei Times. (September 14, 2010). archives/2010/09/14 /2003482855. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. I have included this article to demonstrate that the public revisionism scare tactics are not only prevalent in North America, but around the world. Degan, Tom. Rewriting History. LA (September 11, 2010). http://www. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. This is yet another article in the press about revising history! Like so many others, this is another partisan-sponsored article where one politician attacks another as a revisionist while maneuvering for power. McDowell, Adam. Washing Blood Off Their Hands. National Post. (September 25, 2010). story.html. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. This National Post article is reporting on the Frenchs revising the history of the FLQ crises; and states they are washing blood off their hands. Revisionist scaremongering or valid observations aside, it supports my claims in chapter one about the medias use of revisionism. Shaw, Martin. The Rwandan Genocide: A Revisionist History. Mercator.Net. (September 20, 2010). rwandan_genocide_a_revisionist_ history/. Accessed: September 26, 2010. Internet. Here we have an excellent example of revisionism being blamed for negationism. It also is another global example of this phenomenon.



GENERAL SOURCES CITED THROUGHOUT Amazon. (History Books and Biographies Retailer Database [accession number Side Bar]; accessed December 6, 2010). Internet. During a historiographical research project on how Sir John A. Macdonald has been treated by Canadian historians, I was shocked at the sheer volume of books available on Riel (Macdonalds nemesis) when compared to those published on Macdonald. Riels popularity is no doubt due to his controversial legacy. Ballard, Elizabeth J. and Peter Suedfeld. "Performance Ratings of Canadian Prime Ministers: Individual and Situational Factors." Political Psychology 9, no. 2 (June 1988): Pp. 291-302. Print. This study of the popularity and performance ratings of Canadian Prime ministers shows that regardless of the revisions to early more hagiographical works on the nations leaders and founders their popularity remains high. One reason stated was that Canadians recognize the need for dishonesty and double talk to be successful in politics and that there is a handicap which a strict ethic or morality can bring to the office. Bury, J. B. A History of Greece: To the Death of Alexander The Great. New York: Random House Inc., 1943. Pp. 1-599. Print. This is an excellent resource for classical history studies. Brook, Taylor M. Joseph Edmund Collins. Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online: Volume XII. _nbr=6040&interval=25&&PHPSESSID=7ovb9jim3q785g73hvc4kkkg26 (Accessed: January 26, 2011) 1. Internet. Brook provides an in-depth and well-organized biography of Collins early life and various careers. He does an excellent job at remaining balanced while reporting on such a morally ambiguous character. Callum Beck. Letter between Brent Bilsky and Callum Beck Summarizing AntiCatholicism in Modern Canada, dated February 28, 2011. Taken from The Creation of the Protestant-Catholic Divide on P.E.I. (Doctoral Dissertation, Open University in England). Pp. 1. In this letter, professor Beck summarizes the decline of Protestant persecution of Catholics in Canada. A more in depth and detailed account of this phenomenon can be found within Becks doctoral dissertation.



Champagne, Lynne. Jean-Baptiste Lagimonire (1788-1855), Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Vol. VIII, 1851-1860. Toronto: 2000. (Accessed: February 21, 2011). Internet. This is a very brief yet informative biographical entry on Louis Riels maternal grandfather, which provides Riel students with familial background on Louis Riel. Chiasson, Euclide. Royal Regrets Offered for Acadian Expulsion. Acadian Genealogy Homepage. 2003. (Accessed: February 22, 2011). Internet. This document outlines the history of the Acadian expulsion and the 1990 petition to gain recognition of the suffering it caused. Creighton, Donald G. Sir John Macdonald and Canadian Historians. The Canadian Historical Review, Vol. XXI, No. 1. 1948. Pp. 1-13. Print. Creighton reviews the history of History in Canada while positing several reasons why there have not been more works published on Macdonald. He also mentions the availability of the Macdonald Papers as an excellent but under-used source. Douglas, David C. William the Conqueror: The Norman Impact Upon England. Berkley: University Of California Press: 1967. Pp. 1-488. Print. Douglas book provides readers with an articulate account of William the Conquerors impact on British royalty and culture. Editorial. Mtis Identity Matters. Winnipeg Free Press. (February 9, 2011) http://www. A10. This article articulates the struggle that the Mtis National Council is having while trying to define Mtis identity and the perceived ramifications of said definitions. Ferres, James Moir. The Disgrace of Britain is Accomplished! Montreal Gazette. Montreal: April 25, 1849. Extra. Archived on Early Canadiana Online. (Accessed: February 20, 2011). Pp. 9. Internet. This document contains a commentary of the events surrounding the burning of Parliament in 1849, including the Gazette article outlining the outrage of the English.



Harper, Stephen. Prime Minister Harper Offers Full Apology on Behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential Schools System. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. 2008. (Accessed: February 22, 2011). Internet. This article outlines the history of the Indian Residential Schools case and the settlement, including excerpts from the official apology by Prime Minister Harper. Hesiod. Theogony; Works and Days; Shield. Translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis. Baltimore, Maryland: The John Hopkins University Press, 2004. Print. Hesiod is one of the earliest thinkers to discuss the origins of history and its attributes. Undoubtedly, his connections between memory and history have been referenced and expounded upon for centuries. Hornblower, Simon, Antony Spawforth ed. The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Pp. 1-702. Print. This is an excellent and very in depth resource for classical History studies. Kipling, Rudyard. As quoted in Citizens of the Empire. The National Archives. (1899). democracy/citizens_empire.htm. (Accessed: February 21, 2011). Internet. Kiplings quote as found in this informative time provides readers with an idea of the moral motivations propagated by the elite of the Empire when it came to the colonization of the races. Kries, Steven. "Plato: The Allegory Of The Cave." The History Guide: Lectures On Modern European Intellectual History, May 13, 2004. http://www.history (Accessed Sept. 26, 2010). Internet. Platos thinking and philosophies have affected the history of human thought for centuries and it is still very applicable to modern thinking and historiography. LEGISINFO. Bills Re-Introduced. The Library of Parliament's research tool for finding information on legislation. The House of Commons of Canada. LOP/LEGISINFO/index.asp?Language= E&Session=15&List=search (Accessed: January 27, 2011). Internet. These transcripts provide insight into the views held by the various party speakers and a record of the process of re-writing Riels legacy in Canadian history. Macdonald, Hugh John. Interview with Hugh John Macdonald. Winnipeg Telegram. Winnipeg, July18, 1911. Found at Library and Archives Canada Archival Number 7547339. Pp. 1. Print. This newspaper article offers insight into the Canadian militias behavior and perceived mission to quell the legally established and recognized provisional government of Red River in 1870. Furthermore, it shows that Macdonalds views were not scandalous or morally repugnant as of 1911.

Bilsky Macdonald, Sir John A. Macdonald to McDougal, November 27, 1869: 42/648. Macdonald Papers: National Archives of Canada. Ottawa: 1869. Print. This is a fascinating piece of incriminating evidence. One wonders why Macdonald did not dispose of this type of correspondence.


Menard, Ral, Ian Murray, et al. Bill C-297, An Act to Revoke the Conviction of Louis David Riel: Private Members Business Ottawa: House Publications Parliament of Canada, 1996. Publication.aspx?DocId=2332644&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=35&Ses=2# ANACTTOREVOKETHECONVICTIONOFLOUISDAVIDRIEL. (Accessed: January 26, 2011). Internet. This transcript of the second reading of Bill C-297 demonstrates the cross-party support to exonerate Riel, as well as some interesting claims about the significance and effects of Riels hanging for Quebec politics. Monet, S.J. Jacques. Act of Union. The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.the 29. (Accessed: February 20, 2011). Internet. This article explains the cause and results of the 1840 Act of the Union. Morton, W. L. Louis Riel (1817-1864). Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Vol. IX, 1861-70. Toronto: 2000. k47cg7. (Accessed; February 21, 2011). Internet. This is a very brief yet informative biographical entry on Louis Riel Sr., which provides Riel students with familial background on Louis Riel. Murkerji, Jaideep. Separation from Canada Unlikely for the Majority of Quebecers. Angus Reid Strategies Quebec Public Opinion Poll. Montreal: Angus Reid Strategies, 2009. Pp.1-8. Print. This poll signifies the waning support for separatism in Quebec and demonstrates that the concessions since the 1995 Quebec Referendum have helped make Quebecers feel part of Canada and its future. Ben Okri. Lines in Potentis. 40 Artists, 40 Days - Online Tate. (2002). http://www. (Accessed: March 21, 2011). Internet. This is the Tate Onlines page featuring Ben Okris poem, Lines in Potentis, which has as its theme the fluidity of history. Olesky, Ronald L. Louis Riel and the Crown Letters. Canadian Lawyer (February, 1998). Pp.1-39. Print. This article is a great entry point into the world of law for Riel scholars. Olesky highlights the injustices of Riels trial and Macdonalds interference therein.



Parkin, R. George. Sir John A. Macdonald: The Makers of Canada Series, Volume VII. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1928. Pp. 1-386. Print. This early biography on Macdonald offers some great resources in regards to his interactions with Riel, quotes, correspondence, and etcetera. Parliamentary Scribe. From the 18th day of January to the 30th day of May, 1849. Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada. 1849. Archived on Early Candiana Online. 00952_8/151. (Accessed: February 20, 2011). Pp. 143. Internet. This journal contains all of the Province of Canadas Parliamentary activity during the English uprising that resulted in the burning of Parliament in 1849. Peel, Bruce Braden; Ernest Boyce Ingles and Norman Merrill Distad. Peel's Bibliography of the Canadian Prairies to 1953. Google Books, 2003. (Accessed: January 26, 2011). Pp. 899. Internet. Peels bibliography is a massive resource for finding contemporary literature from any decade in its purview. Posluns, Michael and Anthony J. Hall. Assemby of First nations The Canadian Encyclopedia: Historica-Dominion. /index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0000352. (Accessed: February 21, 2011). Internet. This article provides readers with a brief overview of the development of the various Indian rights movements, which culminated in the founding of the Assembly of First Nations. Rough, Alex. Canada: the History of the Murder of Thomas Scott. (Accessed: January 26, 2011). Pp. 1. Internet. This web page serves two purposes: it provides modern readers who may be ignorant of the phenomenon of Orangism with insight and it gives a classic example of partisan propaganda against Riel. Scott, Duncan Campbell. Department of Indian Affairs Minister, D.C. Scott to B.C. Indian Agent-General, Major D. McKay: April 12, 1910. Department of Indian Affairs Archives. RG Series 10, 1910. Print. This correspondence by the British Columbian Indian Agent-General to Scott was in regards to the elevated death rate of Indian children when taken to Indian Residential Schools. Scotts remarks are excellent evidence of the institutionalized racism toward Indians in Canada at the time. Snodgrass, Anthony. Archaic Greece: The Age of Experiment. Los Angles: University of California Press, 1981. Pp. 1-413. Print. This is a great resource for students of Greek history.

Bilsky Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization Volume 1: To 1715. 6 ed. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 2006. Pp. 1-389. Print. This overview of Western Civilization is well laid out, very readable and wellillustrateda great general source.


Staines, David. "Crouched in Dark Caves: the Post-Colonial Narcissism of Canadian Literature." The Yearbook of English Studies, Colonial and Imperial Themes. Spec. issue of Modern Humanities Research Association 13.1 (1983): 259-269. Print. David Staines article on Post-Colonial narcissism is a fascinating look at the development of Canadian literature during its history. Staines then notes a significant maturation in the 1960s, in which Canadian authors began to address the countrys past. Unfortunately, he fails to appreciate the healing effects these stories have on a personal and national level; and thus, bemoans the length of this trend and mistakes it for narcissism. Thomas, Lewis H. Louis Riel (1844-1885). Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. Vol. XI, 1881-1890. Toronto: 200. (Accessed: February 21, 2011). Internet. This is a great entry-level biography of Louis Riel. It provides quick references to the major events of his life and an impressive bibliography; making it an excellent resource. TRC. Frequently Asked Questions. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. TRC: Winnipeg, 1999. Pp.1-8. Print. This brochure outlines the mandate and mission of the Truth Reconciliation Commission. Web-master. About Canada's History (Accessed: December 15, 2010) http://www. About-us.aspx. Internet. This site contains statistical resources on the magazines readership, but I encourage readers to utilize the many resources and links this site has to offer. Web-master. Quebec General Elections. Qubec (Accessed: February 20, 2011). Internet. This is a list of all Quebec Premiers since Confederation and the party affiliates. Web-master. 1995 Referendum. Qubec elections-et-referendums/referendumsquebecois/referendum-de-1995/. (Accessed: February 20, 2011). Internet. This document shows the results and topic of the 1995 Quebec Referendum.