Louis Riel Day, 2010

"There is after all nothing like a war or a rebellion to create a live[ly] interest in geography."

With that justification The Illustrated War News presented a "Map of the North-West Territories," covering the central Canadian prairies from Edmonton and Calgary in the west to Winnipeg in the east. The accompanying text gives an account of the military columns (Middleton, Otter, Strange) converging on the simultaneous Native and Métis rebellions.

Several weeks later, the "Plan of Position at [the] Battle of Batoche, May 12th, 1885" appeared as a full-page sketch.  Published several weeks after the battle, the map was compiled by "Messrs. Burrow and Denny, D.L.S." at a scale of "20 chains to the inch."

Both maps are courtesy the University of Alberta's Peel's Prairie Provinces.

In last year's post I pointed out that Riel has been adopted by a range of groups for a range of purposes since his death. An excellent article by Douglas Owram, traces the emergence and evolution of "The Myth of Louis Riel," from a troubled defender of French Canada, largely ignored by the English, to a symbol of western alienation, anti-imperialism, minority rights, and aboriginal autonomy. He concludes that "Louis Riel may not be a symbol of Canadian values so much as a form of national penitence for our shortcomings."

Finally, here are the full lyrics to Rhythm Activism's song, "Louis Riel," transcribed from the live album, Resist Much - Obey Little.


Owram, Douglas. "The Myth of Louis Riel." in Readings in Canadian History; Post - Confederation. 3rd ed. Francis and Smith, eds. (Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1990) p. 119.