Celebrate Louis Riel’s 175th birthday in 2019
Born on October 22, 1844, Louis Riel was the leader of the Métis Nation and the founder of the province of Manitoba.
Honoured as the father of Manitoba, Riel named the province and became the first leader of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia, the legislature established under the provisional government that brought Manitoba into Confederation in 1870.
Riel was responsible for creating the List of Rights, which contents formed the basis of the Manitoba Act and emphasized cultural, linguistic, and minority rights.
Riel was elected as a Member of Parliament to serve in the House of Commons in Ottawa three times. Although he took an Oath of Allegiance to Queen Victoria and signed his name in the register, he was never able to assume his seat due to political pressures.
Despite his numerous successes, Riel made sacrifices in his life for the greater good of the Métis Nation, but also for the First Nations, English, and French within Manitoba. Twice he led resistance movements in defence of Métis political and land rights, in Manitoba in 1869-70 and in Saskatchewan in 1885.
Today, Manitobans celebrate Riel on the third Monday of February each year, a provincially recognized holiday. Across Canada, people also honour Riel on November 16. This date marks the anniversary of the day that he gave his life for the Metis Nation.
Learn more about Louis Riel, his family, and the Métis people at Riel House National Historic Site. The site was home to Louis Riel’s family, and following his death his body was returned to his family home to lay in state prior to his burial in the St. Boniface Cathedral cemetery. An Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating Riel as a National Historic Person is also located at the site.