Proposal for a Twenty-first Century
LOUIS RIEL MOVIE
In 1979 the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) produced a two-part TV movie Riel (budget $2,2 million) based on life of the nineteenth century Métis leader Louis Riel who was hanged for High Treason in the North-West Territories in 1885. The project had cache and attracted leading Canadian performers Christopher Plummer, John Neville, William Shatner, Dave Thomas, Don Harron, Lloyd Bochner, and Raymond Cloutier. As well, it provided a first opportunity for young Aboriginal actors to learn their craft.
Riel was the Canadian movie back in 1979. Despite the CBCs multi-million dollar attempt to redefine Louis Riel he remains a “rather murky figure from our past.” As we head into the sesquicentennial (150 years) of Canadian confederation the forty-year old Anglo-colonial image of Riel needs revisiting. As the only Aboriginal founder of “Confederation” Louis Riel remains the pivotal figure in Canadian history.
Louis Riel is the Canadian story that need be told. Convicted as a “traitor” in 1885 Louis Riel deserves a twenty-first century decolonization. I call on Aboriginal, Canadian and International artists friends to reintroduce Louis Riel to Canada and the world.
David Doyle (Honoré Jaxon II)