Photo of Louis Riel, n.d.

Louis Riel, n.d.

Louis Riel returned to the North-West Territories to lead the Métis in their struggle against the Canadian government.
R.P.A.-G. Morice, Histoire de l'Église catholique dans l'Ouest canadien..., vol. 2 (Montreal: Granger Frères, 1915)

Two years of poor crops and hard winters added to grievances that both the Métis and White settlers of Saskatchewan held against the government. The promised railroad that was to provide farmers access to Eastern markets was slow in coming, and the government was also negligent in providing surveyors to outline settlement plots and to safeguard the unusual river lots of the Métis people from encroachment by squatters from the East. Anticipating a repetition of the Red River troubles, the Métis began to fear for the loss of their religious and language rights once more. Louis Riel had forced the government to negotiate the protection of these rights in 1870, and he was currently residing in Montana, readily accessible to serve the Métis community again. In May 1884, a group of prominent representatives of the community travelled to St. Peter's Mission and invited Louis Riel, with his wife and children, to rejoin his people in the Canadian West. Although Riel had changed greatly from the man who had taken such a prominent role in the Red River Resistance, he undertook the task. He was greeted enthusiastically by the Saskatchewan Métis on his return on 8 July 1884 and quickly became the focus of efforts to gain the attention of Ottawa once more.

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