Louis Riel

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade May 2001

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Hero or traitor? Which was Louis Riel? Some think that he was a traitor to Canada but that is untrue. Riel was a hero to the Metis. He was their leader, he fought for them, and even died for them. He attempted to get the Metis their rights back after the Hudson Bay Company sold the Metis' land to the Canadian government without telling them. Canadians moved in and started taking over the Metis' land. The Canadians had more power, even though there was a higher population percent of Metis people because they were about to take over the land and they had more ways of inforcing their own laws. The Canadians told the Metis that they were planning to take over the government of the Metis settlement.1 Riel did everything he could to prevent this. Riel was the best educated man around and knew the French, English, and Cree languages2 so he had an advantage above the rest of the Metis who most likely knew only one language each.

Before they had official control of the Metis' land, the Canadian government sent out a group of surveyors to look at the land to see what would and wouln't grow and figure out a way to divide it up. The surveyors were looking at a piece of land that belonged to Riel's French speaking cousin, Andre Nault. When Nault tried to stop them from trespassing on his land it didn't work because they couldn't speak French and he couldn't speak English. The surveyors didn't stop so Nault went out to get assistance. Nault returned with a group of about eighteen men, led by Riel. The surveyors were using chains to mark off the land, so the group organized by Nault stood on the chain.3 Riel told the surveyors that they...