The entire team at 95.7 Elmnt FM would like to acknowledge that today, November 16th, is Louis Riel Day in the province of Ontario. It was on this day in 1885 that Louis Riel was executed. He was sentenced to death for fighting for the rights of the Métis people. Today is intended for people to remember the sacrifice he made, and reflect on our nation’s history.
Louis Riel dedicated himself to defending the Métis way of life, fighting against colonial expansion, and organizing rebellions against colonial oppressors. This included the Canadian Party, which was a group of anti-French, anti-Indigenous, and anti-Catholic Canadians, as well as Prime Minister John A. Macdonald. Louis Riel‘s rebellious nature would take him across Canada and the United States, but he would eventually make his last stand in Saskatchewan, where he led the North-West Rebellion. This rebellion would fail, and Riel would be ordered to hang for treason by an all-white, all-Protestant jury.
Louis Riel developed a reputation as a so-called “traitor”, but in truth, he was a hero to the Métis people, as he stood up for their rights at a time when many powerful people were trying to suppress them. Therefore, Louis Riel Day is about restoring the narrative that Louis Riel was a revolutionary, and more importantly, a hero. By acknowledging Louis Riel Day, you are doing your part to move away from the colonial interpretation of historical events, and move towards a narrative that celebrates diversity and reconciliation.