Report # 42 Batoche Saskatchewan
The hottest news item in the summer of 1885 was the uprising in the West.. I don't know what John A McDonald was doing at that moment in Ottawa, (probably clapping himself on the back) but hundreds crowded the railway station in late summer at Regina to see Louis Riel. His legal council advised Louis to plead insanity but he was too astute to go for that. He valiantly pleaded the Métis cause hoping right up to the last moment some one would hear their cry for help.
Unfortunately, the jury in Regina were mostly loyal white European immigrants, agricultural dependent and unable to relate to either the Métis or their cause. As anticipated he was found guilty of treason. Even though the jury did recommend leniency, early in the morning of Oct 16 1885, only 5 months and 5 significant battles after it all began, Louis Riel was led to the gallows in Regina and hung. But the political and social waves caused by what happened here and in Regina, still wash up against the stone walls of Parliament Hill.
The debate was never abandoned but has been fiercely argued ever since. Slowly if reluctantly, recognition is coming. Rumor has it Riel may be posthumously pardoned by the Government of Canada, maybe even named a Father of Confederation. Gabriel Dumont, his military commander has already become a folk legend revered for his brilliant guerrilla- warfare tactics and commemorated among other means by a provincial educational institution wholly owned and controlled by the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan. Co incidentally, I read on the web a few days ago, that same organization has become debt free and viable and looking forward to keeping Métis-right's issues on the front burner at court houses and Legislative assemblies across Canada. The battle is not over, only the venue, tactics and weapons have changed. Riel would be proud.
It is the end of my visit here though. As I peddle down the road. I can still see the old chapel and meeting house. Anyone coming up this way would really benefit from taking the time to visit. I feel a different connection now to some of the events that I had only a tinkle of connection to before, even though it continues to effect the Canada I live in today.
Well I might just as well continue on up to Prince Albert as I've never been there before either.
They say the trip to the three Princes, Prince Albert (Saskatchewan), Prince George ( British Columbia) and Prince Rupert on the Pacific coast just below Alaska, is really the new route to travel to SEE CANADA today. It takes you through Edmonton, Jasper, and some of the highest peaks in the Rocky Mountain Range. Too late for this trip, and in the wrong direction but if any one gets to go, I don't think I am the only one who would really like to read it about it on Marty's blog along with photos.
That’s her for today maties. I'm going over to trade in my buffalo blanket and beaver pelts for a good shower and a motel bed.