Louis Riel tastes good. I don’t know what that means, but it is one of many complex portrayals of Riel that we had to analyze in this project.
Our driving question for this project is, “How have the portrayals of Riel changed over time?” To somehow answer this driving question, we explored Canadian history and analyzed different representations of Riel. Meanwhile, we also worked on our writing skills to learn how to effectively convey our findings. This would lead us to our end goal of creating a multi-paragraph response answering the driving question.
To first understand who Louis Riel is, we read textbook paragraphs about him. We learned about the Red River Rebellion, the Métis, Riel’s actions, and his execution. This gave me a basic understanding of Riel, needed to write a paragraph about his portrayals. Another activity we did was looking at and discussing different statues of Riel. This activity gave me insight into the many different ways Riel is depicted. Some viewed him as a rebel or a madman, and some thought of him as a hero.
A main focus of our project was to learn to analyze ideas and make supported conclusions. We had to be able to analyze different historical sources and perspectives to support our statements and ideas in our paragraphs. Sources I used in my paragraph range from historic accounts to modern-day books. The portrayal of Riel varies in my sources, but I used them to support my topic sentence that the Canadian government’s relationship with Indigenous people has led to a shift in the portrayal of Riel. Additionally, I provided evidence in our paragraphs with quotes, sources, etc.
While studying Riel, we worked on our writing skills to be able to better articulate and present our paragraphs. One of our lessons was about synonyms, words that have the same or nearly the same meaning as another word. Learning how to use different words to more effectively communicate our ideas or to spice up the writing was a valuable skill, as it can completely change how you want to convey your writing.
My final essay on Riel:
The Canadian government’s relationship with indigenous people has led to a shift in the general portrayal of Louis Riel: “For decades, Louis Riel was condemned as a rebel and a traitor. Today, he is considered the founding father of Manitoba, a visionary thinker and protector of the minority rights and culture”- UM Today News, 2017. This statement highlights the shift in the portrayal of Riel from a rebel to a hero. While the portrayal of Riel has become more positive in recent times he is still often depicted as a controversial figure. For example, in Chester Brown’s graphic novel “Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography,” the portrayal of Riel is quite complex. Despite being shown as a charismatic hero, the novel also touches on his mental health challenges. Not painting him in the best light. Another example would be the statueq of Louis Riel created by Marciean Lemay and Etienne Gaboury, where Riel looks disproportionate and malnourished. While some may argue these were abstract representations of Riel, heroes aren’t usually shown negatively. These representations may allude to the early reputation of him being a madman or insane. According to the Canadian Encyclopaedia, serval scholars have noted that it was usually Riel’s friends, rather than his enemies, who attempted to cast him as insane.
On November 16, 1885, Louis Riel was hung for treason. Since he opposed the government,(regardless of his motives)he was initially classified as a rebel by historians and citizens. He is often portrayed negatively in official Canadian historical accounts. The book “Canada and its Provinces: A History of the Canadian People and Their Institutions,” was published between 1913 and 1917 has evidence of Riel’s negative portrayal in earlier decades. In a volume, Riel is depicted as a selfish rebel half-breed. It is very one-sided and fails to mention the perspectives of Louis Riel and the Metis people.
Improving the relationship between Indigenous peoples, including the Métis, and Canadians has been a gradual process over recent decades. According to carnac.go.ca, an official website of the government of Canada, Reconciliation with the Indigenous means to acknowledge the past and its present-day impacts. That means understanding historical wrongs, like the unfair treatment of Metis people. Which allows more people to sympathize and understand Riel’s actions and motives. His motives were to protect the rights and land of his people. A Canadian Heritage Minutes video portrays Riel as a righteous hero for the Metis. It emphasizes Riel’s desire to lead his people to equality and freedom. In addition, it shows the perspective of the Metis people, and how they consider Riel their pride and hope. In conclusion, the various portrayals of Louis Riel have been due to the different perspectives on his actions. People understand more perspectives on Riel’s story, leading many more to view him as a hero.
– I got feedback from my teachers and classmates which helped me to create a better paragraph.
This short project taught me about how perspectives of people can change throughout history, Metis history, how to analyze sources, Louis Riel, synomyms, and how to write a paragragph.