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Season 3

Andy Russell
Jack Morton
Father Lacombe
Bill Twan
David Thompson
William Roper Hull
Louis Riel
Jerome and Thaeus Harper
James Gladstone
Bert Sheppard
Harry Hargrave
Paddy Cripps
Pat Burns

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Louis Riel

Possibly the most controversial figure in the history of the Canadian west was Louis, David Riel.

He was born in 1844 in the Red River Settlement of what’s now known as Winnipeg. A natural leader, he was educated in Montreal, when he returned to Manitoba he quickly emerged as the leader of two Métis resistance movements.

His biggest political mistake may have been allowing the execution of Thomas Scott, a dissident in the Red River Rebellion of 1869 and 70. Forced live in exile in the U.S., Riel was still elected to the Canadian House of Commons 3 times, but he never assumed his seat. Observes have reported that during this period he suffered from the delusion that he was a divinely chosen leader and prophet.

He became a naturalized American citizen in 1881 and was active in the Republican Party.

Returning to Canada in 1884, he headed up the famous Military confrontation known as the North West Rebellion. He never carried arms and hindered the work of his military superior, and another trail blazer, Gabriel Dumont. He was arrested and charged with High Treason, and was executed by hanging in Regina in on November 16th.

Whether seen as a Father of Confederation or a traitor, he remains one of the most complex, controversial and ultimately tragic figures in the history of Canada. The Canadian Parliament officially revoked Louis Riel’s conviction in 1992.

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