by David Doyle
Louis Riel, prophet of the new world and founder of the Canadian province of Manitoba, has challenged Canadian politics, history and religion since the early years of Confederation. In Canada's most important and controversial state trial, Riel was found guilty of "high treason," sentenced to hang and executed on November 16, 1885. With 2017 being Canada's sesquicentennial of the initial Confederation of four British colonies, and with the question of reconciliation on the minds of many, the celebrations must recognize that the brutal execution of Louis Riel remains Canada's "great divide." Was the 1885 execution of Riel the hanging of a traitor? Or the legal murder of a patriot and statesman? Tried in a territorial court, Riel called out for justice, for an "inquiry into his career." To date, no such inquiry has been called. The spiritual and political father of the Metis nation and Western Canada remains branded a traitor to Canada. Weaving together Riel's words, writing, and historical research, long-time Riel activist David Doyle provides Louis Riel with the opportunity for the first time to give his evidence and assume his proper place in Canada's history.