Louis Riel

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Riel, Louis

(lwē rēĕl`), 1844–85, Canadian insurgent, leader of two rebellions, b. Manitoba, of French and Métis parentage. In 1869–70 he led the rebels of the Red River settlements, mainly Métis (people of mixed European–indigenous descent) and indigenous peoples, who felt that their rights were threatened by the transfer (1869) of the Hudson's Bay Company territory to Canada. When the government dispatched (1870) troops to face the rebels, the Red River Rebellion collapsed, and Riel fled the country. In that year, under the Manitoba Act, the Red River settlements were accorded a provincial government. Riel returned to Canada and was elected to the House of Commons, but was expelled (1874) and declared an outlaw (1875). In 1884 he returned to lead a group of indigenous people and Métis who were bent on securing titles to their lands in Saskatchewan. The uprising ended with an engagement (1885) at Batoche. He was captured, tried for treason, and hanged.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Riel, Louis


Born Oct. 23, 1844, in St. Boniface; died Nov. 16, 1885, in Regina. A figure in the Canadian national democratic movement.

In October 1869, Riel led an uprising in the Red River valley and became secretary of the National Committee of Métis, which directed the struggle of farmers against encroachments on their lands by the federal authorities. In December 1869 the rebelling farmers elected Riel president of the provisional government. In August 1870 a punitive expedition suppressed the rebellion. Riel emigrated to the USA.

The people of the province of Manitoba, which had come into being in 1870 as a result of the uprising, elected Riel to the Canadian parliament three times between 1873 and 1874, but he was not permitted to take his seat. In March 1885, Riel headed an uprising of métis settlers and Indians in the Saskatchewan River valley against the railroad companies and representatives of the federal authorities. In July 1885 the rebellion was suppressed, and Riel was hanged in accordance with a court sentence.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
There has been a move by some members of the federal government to pardon Louis Riel and rehabilitate his historical legacy from that of executed traitor to mistreated father of confederation.
Certainly, in the last 50 years, Louis Riel himself has come to have a different cultural significance: he has, in fact, been claimed by everyone--even by the government that hanged him for treason--as the visionary advocate of social welfare and multiculturalism.
Louis Riel as a revolutionary and as Canada's most celebrated 'traitor' has been a highly contested subject of debate since Riel's trial, the Red River uprising of 1869-70 and the Northwest Rebellion of 1885.
Louis Riel and many members of his provisional government left the area for fear of a violent retaliation for Thomas Scott's death.
Under the provisional government of leader Louis Riel, they made a stand against the military.
In response, the Metis, led by Louis Riel, stopped government surveyors and formed a provisional government.
Somers's operas include: The Fool (1953), The Homeless Ones (1955), Louis Riel (1967), Death of Enkidu: Part 7 (1977), A Midwinter Night's Dream (1988), Serinette (1990), Mario and the Magician (1992).
Louis Riel: The Heretic Poems By Gregory Scofield Published by Nightwood Editions
The Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia sat from 9 March 1870 to 24 June 1870 with Louis Riel as its president and a council with councillors representing the French and English communities equally.
After lengthy, negotiations with the federal government showed no progress in improving the situation, Metis leader Louis Riel established a provisional government at Batoche, and the infamous Northwest Rebellion was begun.