Manitoba Celebrates Louis Riel Day, Manitoba’s 1st Premier
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Manitoba Celebrates Louis Riel Day, Manitoba’s 1st Premier

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Louis Riel was a champion for Métis rights and freedom

Louis David Riel 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political leader of the Métis people of the Canadian Prairies. He led two revolutions against the government of Canada and its first post-Confederation prime minister, 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. Over the decades, he has been made a folk hero by Francophones, Catholic nationalists, native rights activists, and the New Left student movement. Arguably, Riel has received more scholarly attention than any other figure in Canadian history.

“Louis Riel’s people, the Red River Metis, are proud of our history and the legacy of our great leader. Truly, he was a father of Canada’s Confederation, who played a pivotal role bringing the West into Canada.

I hope every Manitoban takes a moment on this day to reflect on the leadership of Louis Riel and the Provisional Government, who created a province with a vision of inclusivity that included the protection of language and minority rights, along with the right to religious freedom. This vision is still felt today in the character and heart of this place we call home.” President of the David Chartrand, Manitoba Métis Federation

Although Louis Reil has been credited as being the founder of Manitoba, he has still never received the official recognition of being the province’s first Premier. Throughout the years, various Manitoban governments have made symbolic jesters of acknowledging Premier Riel for the role he played but, have all stopped short of giving him the official designation as Premier.

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