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A Research Essay on Louis Riel, Hero of the Metis

janbreeze 1 / -  
Aug 1, 2011   #1
Hi there, I am in social studies 10 summerschool course, my teacher had assigned my class to write an essay on Louis Riel, arguring on whether he is a hero or traitor. The essay is due tomorrow, I had spent a few nights on it and was just able to finish it up.

I would be so greatful if anyone is willing to help me by pointing out my mistakes.

PS: Because english is my second language, please help me by pointing out the grammar mistakes that i have made.

thank you!



Louis Riel, Hero of Métis

On November 16, 1885, a man known to be a lunatic, a murderer, a traitor of his country stood on the scaffold of Regina jail. This "traitor" had been fighting for the rights his nation all throughout his life; He had a strong determination to fight for what he believed in, and was sentenced to death in result of being persistent - which was addressed as "treason" in court. Despite the well education and a high social standing in which he possessed, the man faced discrimination, and did not have a voice even when he was wronged, just because his blood was mixed. This man was Louis Reil, a Métis leader who was willing to sacrifice himself for his culture and nation, identified as one of the most important figures in Canadian history.

Born in the Red River Settlement in 1844, Louis Riel grew up to be a bright student, he was sent to Montréal to train as a priest at an young age, but never graduated. Riel later became a lawyer, returning to the Red River area at the age of 24, just as Canada was negotiating with the Hudson's Bay Company for the purchase of Rupert's land. The inhabitants of red river were not taken into consideration, and the Canadian government seemed to have ignored the existence of the residents living on the land they were preparing to join with their confederation. Tension rose among the Métis when surveyors were sent to the red river valley and overlooked the Métis' claims to their property, since there were no legal claims. Fearing that the Canadian government would confiscate their land, a decision was made among the proud descendants of French Canadian voyageurs and native mothers-the Métis had to protect their people and land, no matter how difficult it was going to be.

Ambitious and well educated, Riel quickly took position as an important leader among the Métis of the Red River Settlement. He had no intention of rebelling against the Canadian government; in fact, the Métis were willing to enter Canadian confederation, but only under the condition of being provided protected rights by the government. After failed attempts to bring the Métis' issues into attention to the Canadian government, Riel made sure that the Métis were given a voice that would be heard by the Canadian government by setting up a "provisional government". McDougall, the Lieutenant Governor of the Northwest Territories was strongly anti-Métis. He did not provide any responsible answer to the requests of the Provisional Government. Facing ignorance by the arrogant Canadians, Riel was determined to fight for the rights and respect for his people. A party of Métis had earlier occupied Fort Garry; Riel was prepared for the worst. In early December of 1869, Just when John Schultz and 48 of his supporters were about to attack fort Garry, Riel lead a party of armed Métis and arrested the English "prisoners". Among the English men was Thomas Scott, an Orangeman who strongly loathed the Métis, he was violent and threatened to kill Riel once he was freed. It was not expected that Riel's decision to execute Thomas Scott would end up as one of his biggest mistakes, later costing him his life; at the time, the death of Thomas Scott was known to have ended the threat of war between the two governments, this event - the red river rebellion contributed to the negotiation of the creation of Manitoba. If Riel had not taken any actions for the rights of his people, they would be continuously ignored by the Canadian government. Riel's only intention was to improve the Métis' social status and remind the Canadian government of their existence, yet due to his lack of consideration of his actions, Riel was misunderstood greatly.

The execution of Thomas Scott led to an uproar among in Ontario; Riel had no choice but to flee for his safety, for he was in danger of being charged with murder. It was even during his exile; Riel did not forget his Métis people. He believed that fighting for the rights of the Métis was his destiny. In 1884, when he was summoned upon by Gabriel Dumont to return to Canada and help the Métis of Saskatchewan, Riel agreed without hesitate, leaving his career as a teacher in the United States. He sent a list of grievances to the Canadian government, requesting for equal rights for the Métis as others in the Northwest. This list of grievances was named the "Métis Bill of Rights". Although the government did receive the document, they did not respond to the Métis. When Riel proposed a second petition by sending a representative, Laurence Clark to Ottawa, They received nothing but a threatening message: the only answer the Métis would receive for their petition was bullets. The rumor of a force of Northwest Mounted police was on their way to arrest Riel; this was the last of his patience. The Canadian government refused to negotiate peacefully, and was determined to make war.

Preparation for war had begun among the Métis as Riel declared on March 19, 1885, "Justice commands us to take up arms." By March 26, The Northwest uprising had begun with the victory of the Métis at Duck Lake, but by shooting down twelve northwest mounted police members, the Métis were then forced to face the immense number of eight thousand Canadian soldiers ready for battle. Although the Métis had been able to stop a troop of nearly two thousand militia soldiers at fish creek, the lack of military supplies of the Métis during the battle of Batoche forced them to surrender to the Canadians.

The battle of Batoche resulted in the end of the Northwest Uprising. Devastated, Riel surrendered and took all the responsibility of the rebellion. Riel had spent all his life fighting for justice, dedicating his life fighting for the rights of the Métis. Yet it was his overpowering determination and faith in destinies did he become a contentious figure. Louis Riel died a tragic death at the age of 41, facing death; his last words were still defending his people. Riel died with the crime of treason to the Canadians, for he spent all he had fighting for his people, the Métis.

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