It’s Louis Riel Day in Manitoba

Reid Dickie

Louis Riel said, “I am more convinced everyday that without a single exception I did right, and I have always believed that. As I have acted honestly, the time will come when the people of Canada will see and acknowledge it.” Today is that day, Louis. We celebrate your contributions with a holiday.  

I gleaned a few of Louis’ thoughts: “We may be a small community and a Half-breed community at that – but we are men, free and spirited men and we will not allow even the Dominion of Canada to trample on our rights.” “Deeds are not accomplished in a few days, or in a few hours. A century is only a spoke in the wheel of everlasting time.” “My people will sleep for one hundred years when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.”

Just before Riel was hanged a guard asked him for a souvenir. Riel’s reply: “I have nothing but my heart and I have given it long ago to my country.” 

Don’t miss the irony that while we are honouring a man who fought and died for the rights of Metis and all Manitobans, we are confronting a federal government intent on taking away more and more of our rights and freedoms.

2 Comments

Filed under Local History, Manitoba Heritage, Manitobans of Note, Pioneers

2 responses to “It’s Louis Riel Day in Manitoba

  1. mrG

    whoa … that statue actually looks like Riel! what happened to the old one? (the one hidden by the concrete cylinder so it couldn’t be seen from the street) And it’s a full-fledged bank-holiday too? My how times have changed.

    • Indeed they have, Mr G! The original Louis Riel statue on this same site was erected in 1971. An abstract sculpture by Marcien Lemay and Etienne Gaboury the first commemoration depicted Riel’s “tortured soul” and was enclosed in a tall cylinder open to the north and south. It was a controversial thing, as you can tell by the picture. The statue was moved in 1996 and can now found on the grounds of St. Boniface College, 200 ave de la Cathedrale in Winnipeg. Yup, full bank holiday as well!! The coffee shops are full and the streets are empty.

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