Essay on Louis Riel's Rebell: Metis Insecurity and the NW Rebellion of 1885

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1951 Words
Date:  2023-03-26


Louis Riel led the Northwest Rebellion of 1885, and it was as a result of the rising cases of insecurity among the Metis. The people of Metis experienced insecurity, issues with land and its ownership, and reduction of the significant source of food (Stanley, 1992). There are three different accounts of the flow of events. These accounts are from Thomas Flanagan, Douglas Sprague, Bob Beal and Rod Macleod.

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Sprague explains the reason the Metis failed to receive the land that belonged to them. There were methods used to solve the cases, and they included justification from the legislation. The property of the Metis children did not belong to them anymore because, according to the writer, they lacked the required connection or the transactions to safeguard the allocation of land to the children. Sprague portrays the Metis as people who were mistreated by the government (Sprague, 1988).

Flanagan portrays the responsibility the Metis played in the insecurities and troubles that they faced. Besides, the author claims that Riel played a more destructive cause compared to the constructive in the history of western Canada because he did not make things better by preparing the people for battle against the government. The author had unique and controversial ideas that were relevant to the political debates. The land claims and native rights depended on all opinions (Flanagan, 2000). Therefore, controversies played a significant role in Metis cases.

Beal and Macleod provide many sides of the story. There are the events that surrounded Riel and his role, the government officials, the people present during some of the events revolving the Northwest rebellion, and their opinion. The revolution, according to Beal and Macleod were, as a result, many complicated issues and not just the government failing to assist with the land titles. Many factors led to the rebellion. Besides, there were other groups of people involved who changed the way of living for the Metis. The Indians were desperate, and the white businesspeople had frustrations, the Metis were angry. Hence, these people lived in fear and lacked peace leading to the confrontations. The Metis had faced some challenges that would, later on, affect the supply of food. As a result, they had to act fast for their survival (Beal & Macleod, 1984).

The Metis and the Government

The main problem between the Metis and the government was the land taken from them. They needed the government to help with the issue of land ownership. There was a system used in the past where the divided and subdivided property was for specific purposes. Therefore, all the land was used for a precise reason, as stated by the government. The parts of the area were all different to cater to the various uses of land. However, there was the disruption of the initial system; hence, the demand for a new and different order from the Metis. There was a conflict between the plan of the government and the people. The Metis worked away from their homes and families. Therefore, their level of cultivation was limited compared to that of a resident that lived and spent most of their time at home (Braz, 2003).

According to Flanagan, the government tried to resolve the problem. The challenge was with the obtaining of the titles of the land, which delayed the processes. Flanagan clearly stated that there were no Metis forced out of their properties. There was a denial of resurveying the property of the community. However, the refusal to resurvey was due to the resources required for the process. Therefore, Flanagan explained that the problems between the Metis and the government were as a result of misinterpretation. The government listened to the plea of the Metis, and the response got received in the wrong way. The mistake was from both sides, making the government feel misjudged and the people felling misperceived (Flanagan, 2000).

The description from Beal and Macleod includes the opinion of the people apart from the events. The leader of the Metis, Gabriel Dumont, spoke indicating that the government stole their land. The government officials understood the issues of the Metis, yet the leader of the community claimed that the government was lying to them and grabbing their land (Beal & Macleod, 1984). Therefore, there is a contradiction from what Flanagan explained where he wrote about the government working on the problems. Sprague firmly put out the words of the Dumont, describing how the government cared less for the Metis and lacked to assist them with the land issues raised (Sprague, 1988). The problem got handled like a political case because of the groups that were involved and the methods used to calm the situation. Therefore, there lacked a peaceful resolution and people were ready to battle (Flanagan, 2000).

Louis Riel's Roles

The Metis lacked an individual that would lead them, especially with all the trouble they had. Besides, the Metis required a person that would assist them with forcing the government to help them with their claims. Gabriel Dumont, a Metis leader, suggested that Louis Riel, who was living in the United States, would help them fight for their property (Beal & Macleod, 1984). However, Riel had to come back to Canada with his family because he was an exile and lived in the United States of America. There was the excitement of Riel's arrival, and the community hosted him over the period. The Metis were hopeful and glad that their effort of bringing Riel back home was fruitful. It did not take long before people went to battle (Brown, 1999).

The chief factor of Fort Carlton, Lawrence Clarke, provoked the people leading to a protest and the recruitment of Riel, as explained by Sprague. The chief benefited from a police presence that would take place later, and he only cared for personal gains. The minister in charge of the police, Fred White, knew that Riel would want much more than negotiations. Therefore, White advised the Prime Minister to watch over Riel and the way he was going to handle the matter. There was an analysis of the Metis community and Riel's ability as a leader to avoid their victory. Besides, the government thought of arresting Riel but they left it at that. However, the government officials chose to use their right to privileges and their power to make sure that they got rid of Riel. The delayed negotiations of Metis led to the provoking of the members of the community. Then, there were Riel's demands that got openly rejected. Riel would form a provisional government as a response. The government officials mistreated the Metis and did not consider their plea. There was a warning to the members of the community not to question their demands because there were many bullets and police officers who would not hesitate to do their work, indicating that the government officials were ready for battle (Sprague, 1988).

Flanagan explains that the community that had Riel come back to Canada hoped that he would help them regain their land fast and peacefully. The events did not go as they had thought or planned. Riel took time trying to understand and find ways in which all the people involved would come together. Therefore, Riel wrote a petition that would resolve the problems among the Metis, English half-breeds, white people, and Indians. However, it was challenging to bring the groups together because they had different outlooks. As much as Riel was trying to bring the groups to some common ground, he believed that the Metis were the rightful owners of the land. Riel had planned a way he would help the Metis get back their property through the rebellions he led. Riel preserved the rights and culture of the Metis during the period the community faced the challenges with their properties (Braz, 2003). Besides, Flanagan revealed that Riel claimed that the government owed him money. Flanagan explained how Riel confronted the government and began some rivalry between the people and the government (Flanagan, 2000).

Beal and Macleod portray the events of Riel, which begin with his invitation back to Canada as a representative of the people. After his arrival, he met with the leaders and priests of the community to understand their problems, thoughts, and demands. Therefore, Beal and Macleod provided a clear and detailed flow of events compared to Flanagan and Sprague. The leaders explained the circumstances and the task he was to do which was to put down a petition. There was a contradiction between Flanagan's report and that of Beal and Macleod. In Beal and Macleod's view, there was no point when Riel claimed that the government owed him a large amount of money. Besides, Beal and Macleod stated that Riel had no concern for the money (Beal & Macleod, 1984). The other writers failed to explain the attachment Riel had to politics and religion (Brown, 1999). Besides, he had a personality that made it hard for him to connect with people. For example, he had a good relationship with Reverend Father Andre. However, their relationship was not as good as it was at the beginning (Beal & Macleod, 1984).

The assessment of Riel as an individual contradicted because Beal and Macleod defined him as a religious person, then Flanagan suggested that he had asked for money from the government because he owed him (Brown, 1999). Hence, Flanagan portrayed Riel as a person that took advantage of his position and got a chance to benefit or solve his issues (Flanagan, 2000). All three accounts mention Lawrence Clarke informing the people that they would get shot if they questioned or followed up on their petition or demands.

The Trial of Riel

Riel had been a leader of western Canada that was against the government. Hence, the trial of Riel is a famous one in the history of Canada. Riel surrendered because the Canadian military contained and conquered the resistance movement. The ordeal happened in July 1885 and took five days. In the end, the accused was found guilty and executed by hanging.

Sprague gives a brief explanation of the events of the trial. The main idea is that the government had several controversies. Many of the people were determined to get rid of Riel. Some people would have spared Riel, but they chose not to because of the image and respect for the government. According to Sprague, some details lacked during the trials leading to controversies in the court. He believed that the government had taken over the land that belonged to the Metis (Sprague, 1988). Therefore, the trial was unjust in Sprague's opinion.

The charge, according to Flanagan, was suitable, the venue was okay, and all the questions asked were proper. Flanagan felt like Riel took things in his hands and improperly handled them. The government had tried to help the people with their issues but they needed more time to be able to handle all the problems faced by the Metis. Therefore, the Metis were wrong to fight government officials instead of giving them time to accomplish their tasks and fulfill the demands (Flanagan, 2000).

There were many participants in the trial of Riel, as explained by Beal and Macleod (Bea & Macleod, 1984). There are similarities with Sprague's elaboration of the events. According to Beal and Macleod, the prosecution was orderly. Besides, there was a time where the public was allowed to communicate their opinions and thoughts about the case after the hearing. Afterward, there were assumptions and beliefs that the trial was one failure of the court and the justice system. Flanagan, Beal, and Macleod agreed that the conviction was said to be a failure of the judicial system or unjust (Beal & Macleod, 1984).


The accounts of the writers conclude that the people involved in the Northwest rebellion of 1885 failed to have peaceful solutions. There were many schemes and personal desi...

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Essay on Louis Riel's Rebell: Metis Insecurity and the NW Rebellion of 1885. (2023, Mar 26). Retrieved from

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