Louis Riel: Failed Hero

874 Words4 Pages
In Canadian history, those who have helped bring the provinces and territories together have the distinction of being named a “Father of Confederation”. Despite the stature of such a title, it has gone to those who seem undeserving. Louis Riel, an unofficial Father of Confederation, has been described as “a sad, pathetic, unstable man who led his followers in a suicidal crusade and whose brief glory rests upon a distortion of history,” by G.F.G Stanley. Sir John A. MacDonald, one of the ‘official’ Fathers, has been described by Will Ferguson as “a man of great flaws”. In modern times, however, people who contribute outstandingly to Canada get to grace the face of postage stamps. In order to honour Louis Riel, who founded the province of Manitoba, Canada Post made the decision to give him his own stamp, much to the dismay of some historians. However, despite Riel and MacDonald’s controversial legacies, they equally deserve their own postage stamps for outstanding contributions to Canada. Although he lived quite an full life, the most important work that Louis Riel did was stopping the land transfer in the Red River Valley. For years, the Métis peoples used this land for the annual buffalo hunt, which was the main economic driver of their economy. However, as the Hudson’s Bay company was selling their vast holdings of land in Métis territory, they were understandably upset at the collapse of their economy, and turned to Louis Riel (a former law clerk) to liberate their homeland. Louis Riel and a band of Métis warriors eventually made the decision to capture Upper Fort Garry, and declared a provisional government. During the rebellion, the provisional government arrested Thomas Scott, a land surveyor. He was planning a large counter-rebellion to restore control of the Red River Valley to the government of Canada, who had recently began negotiating the
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