Monday is Louis Riel day in Manitoba. Seeing as I work for an aboriginal network based in Winnipeg, it is a stat holiday for me. I'm still undecided about how to celebrate.
I celebrated MLK day by listening to Public Enemy, but there aren't many revolutionary Metis rap groups out there.
For the non-Canadian (see the sidebar) or the people who would fail Grade 10 history, here is the Wikipedia description of Riel:
Louis Riel (22 October 1844 - 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government and its first post-Confederation Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence. He is largely regarded as a Canadian folk hero today.
Sir John A MacDonald had him executed, and he was convicted by these guys, a jury of six English Protestants:
MacDonald, a notorious raging alcoholic, had this to say about the Metis leader Riel:
He shall hang though every dog in Quebec bark in his favour
Metis is basically part French, part aboriginal, a dangerous combination in MacDonald's white English Canada.
Louis Riel was hanged for treason on November 16, 1885.
HE may have thought he was the Metis Messiah, but I won't hold that against a guy, especially when he had all the right enemies and died for his beliefs. Thanks Louis, I'll be thinking about you on Monday.