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Louis Riel: Patriote Canadien ?

par Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Qui était Louis Riel ? Était-il un patriote, un dissident, ou les deux ?

Louis Riel est né à Saint-Boniface (Winnipeg, Manitoba) le 22 octobre 1844, héritant de son père un mélange de sang français, irlandais et indigène, avec le français comme héritage dominant.

Sa mère, Julie, envoya son fils Louis pour devenir le premier prêtre Metis du Canada. Cependant,  la mort de son père en 1864 pesa fortement sur Louis et entraina une fin abrupte à sa formation au seminaire. Quatre mois avant de devenir prêtre, Louis rencontra une jeune fille de Montréal, en tomba amoureux, et décida de se marier. Il partit de l’université de Montréal sans obtenir son diplome.  Ses plans de mariage se sont alors effondrés quand ses parents de sa fiancée lui interdirent cette union à un Metis. Rendu amer par ce rejet raciste, Riel quitta Montréal en 1866, sans épouse, sans carrière, sans argent.

Retournant chez lui dans la colonie de Red River, Riel constata que les sauterelles avaient dévasté la terre. Avec la cession de l’influence de la Companie de la Baie D’ Hudson, le Canada de l’est et les Etats-Unis semblaient prêts à engloutir la colonie de Red River. Les Metis se sont sentis oubliés, ignorés et abandonnés sur le plan politique.

Sans consulter convenablement les 12 000 habitants de Red River, la Compagnie de la Baie d’ Hudson venda la colonie au Canada de l’est. Louis Riel rassembla les Metis en 1869 pour prendre le pouvoir du fort Garry, le centre nerveux de la CBH. Le but de Riel était de forcer le gouvernement fédéral à négocier l’admission du Manitoba dans la confédération comme province officielle, et non comme territoire. Le nom de la provinceManitoba, plutôt que l’Assiniboia, qui était le nom territorial, vena de Louis Riel lui-même.

Louis Riel a proclamé que le Metis étaient les sujets loyaux de sa majesté, la reine de l’Angleterre.  “Si nous sommes des rebelles”, a dit Riel, “nous sommes des rebelles contre la compagnie qui nous vendue, et qui est prête à nous livrer, et contre le Canada qui veut nous acheter. Nous ne sommes pas en révolte  contre la suprématie britannique qui n’a toujours pas donné son approbation pour le transfert final du pays. Nous voulons que les habitants de RedRiver soit un peuple libre”.

Les Américains ont observé la rébellion de Red River avec beaucoup d’intérêt. Ignatius Donnelly, un ancien lieutenant-gouverneur du Minnesota, dit : “Si les revolutionnistesde Red River sont encouragés et soutenus, nous pourrions dans quelques années, peut-être même quelques mois, voir les étoiles et les raies brandir de Fort Garry, des eaux du détroit de Puget Sound, et le long du rivage de Vancouver”. A l’été1870, Nathanial F. Langford et l’ex-gouverneur du Minnesota Marshall ont visité Riel au Fort Garry. Ils ont promis à Riel quatre millions dedollars, des pistolets, des munitions, des mercennaires et des approvisionnements pour se maintenir jusqu’à ce que son gouvernement ait été reconnu par les Etats-Unis. Riel refusa.

Après que William O’Donohogue ait déchiré le drapeau de  l’union Jack, Riel reposta immédiatement l’union Jack avec des ordres de tirer n’importe quel homme qui oserait le toucher. En dépit de sa réputation de rebelle, Louis Riel s’est montré un patriote canadien qui, à lui seul empêcha le Canada occidental d’être absorbé par les Etats-Unis. Riel a écrit cette prière dans son journal intime : Oh mon Dieu! Sauvez-moi du malheur d’être impliqué avec les Etats-Unis. Laissez les Etats-Unis nous protéger indirectement, spontanément, par un acte de providence, mais sans aucun engagement ou accord de notre part”.  Prophétiquement, Riel a également inscrit dans son journal intime: “Dieu m’a révélé que le gouvernement des Etats-Unis va devenir extraordinairement puissant”.

Les Metis sont une bande de lâches”, vantait Thomas Scott. “Ils n’oseront pas me tirer”. S’il n’était pas pour l’approbation de Riel du tir tragique de l’anglais Thomas Scott parRiel, il auraitpu aboutir au Cabinet fédéral de John A.Macdonald. La mort de Thomas Scott a fait de Riel l’homme le plus détesté du Canada.

Après sa fuite aux Etats-Unis, Riel a été alors élu comme MP du Manitoba.

La législature du Québec en1874 a passé une résolution unanime demandant au Gouverneur-Général d’accorder l’amnistie à Riel. La même année, après la réélection de Louis Riel comme MP, il est entré dans le bâtiment du parlement, a signé le registre, et a juré un serment d’allégeance à la Reine Victoria avant de se échapper pour éviter l’arrestation. La Chambre des Communes, outrée, l’a expulsé avec une majorité 56-vote.

Exilé au Montana, Riel s’est marié et est devenu un bon citoyen américain, respectueux des lois. En 1884, avec l’abattage du bison, plusieurs gens de premières nations et Métis mourraient de faim. Les Metis en Saskatchewan ont convaincu Riel de retourner au Canada. Riel a envoyé une pétition à Ottawa exigeant que les Metis recoivent les titres de la terre qu’ils occupaient et que les districts de Saskatchewan, Assiniboia et Alberta recoivent le statut provincial. Au lieu de cela, le gouvernement fédéral a établit une commission. En l’absence d’action concrète, Louis Riel et ses partisans ont décidé de renouveller leurs révendications en essayant de capturer le fort Carlton.

En raison du chemin de fer du Canadien Pacifique, mon arrière-grand-père Oliver Allen a été envoyé avec la milice de Toronto pour rapidement vaincre Riel à Batoche. Avec des pistolets Gatling américains avec 1.200 séries par minute, la bataille n’a pas duré longtemps. Tandis qu’il était dans l’ouest, Oliver Allen rencontra sa future épouse Mary Mclean, une journaliste de Regina bien disposé à l’égard de Louis Riel. Juste avant la pendaison de Riel, Mary Mclean s’est déguisé en prêtre catholique afin d’interviewer Riel, il a ecrit cette prière dans son journal intime : “Seigneur Jésus, je vous aime. J’aime tout lié à vous… Seigneur Jésus, faites-moi la même faveur que vous avez fait pour le bon voleur ; dans votre pitié infinie, laissez-moi entrer au paradis le jour même de ma mort”.

 

 

Tour Rev. Dr. Ed Et Marc Hird,

Un article pour les nouvelles du Rivage de Nord « Parlant Spirituel » Colonne

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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The Passion of Louis Riel

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

‘The first time I received the Holy Eucharist, I was trembling,” said Louis Riel.  Born at St. Boniface (Winnipeg) on October 22nd 1844, young Louis Riel had a very sensitive, passionate spirit with zero tolerance for bullying.  According to Mousseau, ‘nothing irritated him as much as an abuse of strength against the weak.’  Riel also had a deep life of prayer and fasting, commenting in his diary: “Fasting and prayer are the two great keys to success in time and eternity…Nothing can resist fasting when it is done with humility, sincerity and devotion.  Fasting opens prisons and releases the most hardened criminals…Three or four days of fasting accomplish more than an army on the field of battle…”

His mother Julie had wanted to be a nun.  Instead she sent her Red River prairie-born son in 1858 to Montreal to become Canada’s first Metis priest.  Riel was deeply impacted by his mother’s spirituality, noting that “the calm reflective features of my mother, her eyes constantly toward towards heaven, her respect, her attention, her devotion to her religious obligations always left upon me the deepest impression of her good example.” Riel was very Christ-centered, praying in his diary: “Lord Jesus, I love you.  I love everything associated with You.”

You can imagine the shock to his mother when Louis dropped out of the College of Montreal just four months before his ordination. Louis went to live with the Grey Nuns in their convent.  His father’s recent death had weighed very heavily on Louis as the new head of the Riel family.  Also complicating his ordination plans was that he had secretly become engaged to Marie Julie Guernon, only to have the engagement quashed by her racist parents.  In his diary, Riel commented: “Men can struggle as they will against the will of God and oppose its fulfillment, but they never succeed in excluding it from the guidance of human affairs.  God has everything in His care.  Have confidence in Jesus Christ…”

Returning to Winnipeg, he discovered agricultural, social, and political devastation, especially among his Metis people.  When Riel stood up for the rights of the Metis, he woke up our sleepy Canada nation.  After taking over the Hudson Bay Company’s Fort Garry, Riel successfully forced Prime Minister MacDonald to recognize Metis land rights, and to accept Manitoba into Confederation as a full Province, and not just another territory.  Riel stated to the Federal negotiator Donald Smith: ‘We want only our just rights as British subjects, and we want the English to join us simply to obtain these.’  On May 12, 1870, the Manitoba Act, based on the Métis “List of Rights,” was passed by the Canadian Parliament.

The tragedy of the Red River Rebellion was the Riel-authorized shooting of Thomas Scott.  As a result, Eastern Canada would settle for nothing less than Riel’s head on a platter.  Colonel Wolseley’s troops wanted blood.  Leaving Fort Garry, Riel said: “We have fled because it appears that we have been deceived.”  Bishop Tache later said regarding the promised amnesty: ‘The Rt. Honourable John A MacDonald lied like a trooper’

In escaping to the USA, Riel comforted himself, saying: “No matter what happens now, the rights of the Metis are assured by the Manitoba Act; that is what I wanted –my mission is finished.”  Writing to his good friend Bishop Tache on Sept 9th 1870, Riel said: “My life belongs to God.  Let him do what He wishes with it.”

The time of exile in the USA was very painful for Louis Riel.  Bishop Bourget comforted Riel telling him that “…God, who has always led you and assisted you up to the present time, will not abandon you in the darkest hours of your life.  For he has given you a mission which you must fulfill in all respects.”  Riel began to move more in the prophetic, sometimes experiencing intense joy and deep sorrow in church services. With a great effort, Riel tried to suppress his weeping: “My pain was as intense as my joy”.  In Riel’s diary, he memorably said: “The Spirit of God penetrated my brain as soon as I fell asleep…The Spirit of God affects us where He wishes, and to the extent that suits Him.”

Because of the intensity of his spiritual experiences, his friends hid Riel in a Montreal insane asylum.  After being released in 1878, Riel commented: “I did pretend to be mad.  I succeeded so well that everybody believed that I really was mad.”  Perhaps Riel’s insanity was like King David’s feigned insanity before the Philistines (1 Samuel 18:13).  Riel stated: “If I did disappear or if I should lose my mind, their relentless persecution may be relaxed…Then my enemies would probably cease persecuting my Metis people.”

In 1884, Riel returned from Montana with his family, at the urgent request of the starving Metis, to Batoche, Saskatchewan. Wilfrid Laurier, later to be Liberal Prime Minister, later declared on the floor of the House of Commons: “Had I been born on the banks of the Saskatchewan, I would myself have shouldered a musket to fight against the neglect of governments and the shameless greed of speculators.”  Riel unsuccessfully petitioned the federal government before attempting to capture Fort Carlton.  “I can almost say it”, noted Louis Riel, “our cause is shaking the Canadian Confederation from one end of the country to the other.  It is gaining strength daily.”

Riel’s cause however was militarily doomed.  Most of the 250 Metis had shotguns or old muzzle-loaders, but a few had only bows and arrows.  My great-grandfather Oliver Allen, as part of the 1,000-strong Toronto militia, had Sniders, Winchesters, cannon and a Gatling gun- the forerunner of the machine gun.  The Gatling gun had been loaned to them by the US Army, and operated by an American Lieutenant Arthur Howard. While conquering Riel, my great-grandfather met my great-grandmother Mary Mclean a Regina Leader news-reporter sympathetic to Louis Riel.  Right before Riel’s hanging, Mary Mclean, who was fluent in French, disguised herself as a Catholic priest in order to interview Riel.  Her newspaper editor had told her: “An interview must be had with Riel if you have to outwit the whole police force of the North-west.” Riel said to my great-grandmother on Nov 19th 1885: “When I first saw you at the trial, I loved you.”  Shortly after, my great-grandparents Oliver and Mary married and relocated to start life anew in BC!

Before Riel died, he passionately prayed in his diary: “Jesus, author of life!  Sustain us in all the battles of this life and, on our last day, give us eternal life.  Jesus, give me the grace to really know your beauty!  Grant me the grace to really love You.  Jesus, grant me the grace to know how beautiful You are; grant me the grace to cherish You.”

My prayer for those reading this article is that we too may discover the passion of Louis Riel for his Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Louis Riel: Canadian Patriot?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed and Mark Hird

Who was Louis Riel?  Was he a patriot or a dissident or both?

Louis Riel was born at St. Boniface (Winnipeg, Manitoba) on October 22nd 1844, inheriting from his father a mixture of French, Irish and Aboriginal blood, with French predominating.

Louis’ mother Julie sent her son Louis to become Canada’s first Metis priest.  The 1864 death of his father however weighed heavily on Louis, bringing about an abrupt end to his seminary training.  Four months from becoming a priest, Louis met a young Montreal girl, fell in love, and decided to marry.  He rashly left the College of Montreal without obtaining his degree, and then his marriage plans collapsed when his fiancée’s parents forbade this proposed union with a Metis.  Embittered by this racist-rejection, Riel left Montreal in 1866 – without a wife, without a career, without money.

Returning home to the Red River settlement, Riel found that locusts had devastated the land. With the demise of the Hudson Bay Company’s influence, both Eastern Canada and the United States seemed poised to swallow up the Red River settlement.  The Metis felt forgotten, ignored and politically abandoned.

Without adequately consulting the local 12,000 Red River people, the Hudson Bay Company sold the Red River settlement to Eastern Canada.  Louis Riel rallied the Metis people in 1869 to take over the local Fort Garry, the Western nerve centre of the HBC.  Riel’s goal was to force the Federal Government to negotiate Manitoba’s admission into Confederation as a full province, not just a territory. The provincial name Manitoba, rather than the expected territorial name Assiniboia, came from Louis Riel himself.

Louis Riel proclaimed that the Metis were ‘loyal subjects of Her Majesty the Queen of England’. “If we are rebels, said Riel, “we are rebels against the Company that sold us, and is ready to hand us over, and against Canada that wants to buy us.  We are not in rebellion against the British supremacy which has still not given its approval for the final transfer of the country…We want the people of Red River to be a free people…”

The Americans watched the Red River Rebellion with keen interest.  Ignatius Donnelly, a former Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, said: ‘If the revolutionists of Red River are encouraged and sustained…, we may within a few years, perhaps months, see the Stars and Stripes wave from Fort Garry, from the waters of Puget Sound, and along the shore of Vancouver.’  In the summer of 1870, Nathanial F. Langford and ex-governor Marshall of Minnesota visited Riel at Fort Garry.  They promised Riel $4 million cash, guns, ammunition, mercenaries and supplies to maintain himself until his government was recognized by the United States.  Riel declined.

After William O’Donohogue ripped down the Union Jack, Riel immediately reposted the Union Jack with orders to shoot any man who dared touch it.  Despite his rebellious reputation, Louis Riel showed himself to be a Canadian patriot who single-handedly kept Western Canada from being absorbed by the USA.  Riel prayed in his diary: “O my God!  Save me from the misfortune of getting involved with the United States.  Let the United States protect us indirectly, spontaneously, through an act of Providence, but not through any commitment or agreement on our part.”  Riel also prophetically noted in his diary: “God revealed to me that the government of the United States is going to become extraordinarily powerful.”

“The Metis are a pack of cowards”, boasted Thomas Scott, “They will not dare to shoot me.” If it was not for Riel’s sanctioning of the tragic shooting of the Orangeman Thomas Scott, he might have ended up in John A Macdonald’s federal Cabinet.  Thomas Scott’s death made Riel ‘Canada’s most hated man’.

After fleeing to the United States, Riel was then elected in his absence as a Manitoba MP. The Quebec legislature in 1874 passed a unanimous resolution asking the Governor-General to grant amnesty to Riel.  That same year, after Louis Riel’s re-election as MP, he entered the parliament building, signed the register, and swore an oath of allegiance to Queen Victoria before slipping out to avoid arrest.  The outraged House of Commons expelled him by a 56-vote majority.

Exiled to Montana, Riel married and became a law-abiding American citizen. In 1884, with the slaughtering of the buffalo, many First Nations and Métis were dying of hunger.  The Metis in Saskatchewan convinced Riel to return to Canada.  Riel sent a petition to Ottawa demanding that the Metis be given title to the land they occupied and that the districts of Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Alberta be granted provincial status.  The Federal Government instead set up a commission.  In the absence of concrete action, Louis Riel and his followers decided to press their claims by the attempted capture of Fort Carlton.

Due to the Canadian Pacific Railway, my great-grandfather Oliver Allen was shipped with the Toronto militia to quickly defeat Riel at Batoche.  Using an American Gatling gun with 1,200 rounds a minute, the battle did not last long.  While in the West, Oliver Allen met his future wife Mary Mclean a Regina Leader news-reporter sympathetic to Louis Riel.  Right before Riel’s hanging, Mary Mclean disguised herself as a Catholic priest in order to interview Riel.  Before Riel died, he prayed in his diary: “Lord Jesus, I love you.  I love everything associated with You…Lord Jesus, do the same favour for me that You did for the Good Thief; in Your infinite mercy, let me enter Paradise with You the very day of my death.”

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca