Louis Riel Day, 2009

While most provinces are celebrating Family Day today, Manitoba's mid-February, anti-cabin fever holiday is Louis Riel Day. This doesn't have much to do with maps, except for the famous incident where Riel and others stood on the Riel 1Riel 1Riel 2Riel 2measuring chains of the federal surveyors. Derek Hayes tells the story in Canada: An Illustrated History and reproduces a map (p. 152) showing the spot where the Métis confronted the surveyors. Riel's group appears to have hit upon the consummate act of passive resistance to the state, at least at the onset. 

Today, Riel has been adopted by a range of groups. My personal favorite is a remix of "Louis, Louis" by the Quebec alternative band, Rhythm Activism. I quote:

Riel 3Riel 3"Louis Riel was a Dunkin' Donuts waitress, with three kids to support and an ulcer, who came home each night, soakin' her feet and smokin' a Camel filtre, dreaming: that the three-piece bedroom set, on sale at Eaton's, would be in a home of her own one day."

The photos are of a Louis Riel doll action figure which has been on my shelf for longer than I can remember. If anyone out there knows anything about these dolls action figures, *please* let me know. The background photo is Miguel Joyal's statue of Riel in front of the Manitoba Legislature Building. 

See also:  Early Surveying and Mapping in Manitoba by Allen C. Roberts, M.L.S, N.Z.L.S.; Significant Dates in Canadian Surveying Mapping and Charting, by Angus C. Hamilton and Lou M. Sebert (1996); Louis Riel and the North-West Rebellion by William Waiser (Canada Annotated Bibliographies, 1998/99).