Welcome back to another humanities portfolio post! Before COVID-19 took over the world, my humanities class focused in on a story that would lead us to further understand ethical judgement. Louis Riel was one of many Canadians to shape our country in one way or another and studying him gave us insight on how Manitoba was established. Our driving question was, “how can we present past actions and decisions through images to help us make decisions of what is fair or unjust?” In order to answer said question, we researched different ethically questionable events in Canadian history with a a partner and decided whether the outcomes were fair or unjust.
The first activity we did was a basic current event. It was a seemingly simple task that ended up giving me a boost of curiosity towards the rest of the project. Our task was to research an event similar to that of the Wet’suwet’en protests in BC. I choose to focus on the protests at the Clayoquot Sound and learned that these protests were some of the largest in Canadian history. To finish off the assignment, we had to share our thoughts. This is where I got my first taste of deciding whether the outcome was fair or not. I ended up having a very mixed opinion about the ordeal which was challenging but very good practice for what was coming up later in the project.
Alongside studying Louis Riel, we were assigned a partner to research another topic with. Ryan and I chose to do the Chinese Head Tax. We started out doing some initial research and eventually started making drafts of our images that would later end up on our class’ instagram page dedicated to the project. This part of the project allowed for me to really get into my element and dig deep into the subject. I learned tons about the Head Tax and the severity of the discrimination. Knowing all that I do now about the ordeal, I can confidently say it deserves way more recognition. After compiling our research and making our images, my partner and I had to decide if the matter was fair or unjust and it really goes without saying that everything that went down with the Head Tax was horrific. As I said before, it deserves more recognition for how utterly unjust it was.
The title of this project is, “Let’s Get Riel,” and it fits. (Shoutout to Ms. Maxwell for the name!) throughout the entirety of the project we read a comic book entitled, The Louis Riel Comic Strip. The book tells the story of a Métis rights activist named Louis Riel. His story is really exciting and interesting and grabbed my attention as a reader. Considering this is a portfolio post, I probably shouldn’t get carried away and retell the entire story so instead I’ll just recommend reading the comic. Spoiler alert, Louis Riel dies. Riel spent his life fighting for the Métis and the Red River Settlement (which is now part of Manitoba.) He constantly challenged the Canadian government and tools risks that made fellow politicians weary. He fought long and hard and made some very, very ethically questionable decisions along the way. At one point he was emitted to a mental asylum due to him being convinced that he was the next prophet. At the end, he was charged with execution and was hung for his crimes.
My class held a debate on the subject of whether his death was unjust or fair. We were randomly separated into the two teams and had one of our classmates, Ben moderate the debate. I was arguing that his death was unjust and offered a rebuttal that I was quite proud of. In the end the our closing statement was a bit weaker than that of the opposing side and it lead us to defeat. The debate really helped me in our final milestone. We had an in class writing assign,ent in which we had to deliver our personal opinion on Riel’s death. I came to the conclusion that he was neither a hero nor a villain. Some of his actions seemed more heroic, but as time went on he seemed to grow simultaneously tired and restless. His actions became more irrational but his motive was still clear.
In conclusion, this project taught me a lot. I learned to analyze past events and judge controversy in ways I can document and understand. I really enjoyed this project as it allowed for me to get into my element and really brought out the best in my researching abilities. I am now able to recognize and comprehend ethical dimensions like never before and I can connect my opinions to that of others. Finally, I have to end this post on the following note because once again Ms. Maxwell amazed me in the seemingly weirdest way possible. Enjoy the exit video and see you in the next post!
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.