SMPOSIUM ON THE EXONERATION OF LOUIS RIEL
On National Aboriginal Day 2015 (June 21, 2015) Canadians will be reflecting on the current and past state of relations between the Canadian government and the Aboriginal nations and peoples of Canada. As Canadians we bear the awesome responsibility to review and re-develop our history reflecting the tragedies of residential schools and cultural genocide and their on-going impacts. In this regard we would be remiss not to take this opportunity to open up a new narrative on Canada’s Métis and the life and career of Métis leader Louis Riel. Consistent with history and justice the conviction of Louis Riel for the crime of “high treason” needs to be examined to prove the righteousness of its reversal—ensuring Riel’s historic role as Canada’s “Aboriginal Father of Confederation” is formally recognized in time for Canada’s Sesquicentennial.
With Canada’s Sesquicentennial (2017) Canada will celebrate its 150th anniversary as a country. The Sesquicentennial is, and will be, widely promoted reflecting the accomplishments of the country of Canada. However the prime issue that remains unaddressed, and the issue on which we should be judging governments and potential governments is the situation of Indigenous peoples. In light of the shocking truths outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report on Residential Schools we know that reconciliation is the chief order of business for Canadians today. Reconciliation is about establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples—a nation to nation relationship. This requires an “awareness of the past, acknowledgment of the harm that has been inflicted, atonement for the causes and action to change behaviour.”
Canadians are a justice loving people. Many Canadians want to see Louis Riel exonerated, deemed innocent of the charge of high treason. This can only happen if we follow the legal path to exoneration and the Canadian Parliament recognizes Louis Riel’s “proper place in Canadian history.” A symposium on the Career of Louis Riel will provide a framework and the necessary evidence to resolve this scar on the Canadian historical record. Our ability to carry out this vital work in the century’s long campaign (130 years) to exonerate Louis Riel depends upon support from friends of Louis Riel.
A Symposium on the Exoneration of Louis Riel will be held on November 14, 2015 in Vancouver British Columbia. The findings of the symposium will be published on November 16, 2015, the 130th anniversary of Riel’s execution and sent to the Canadian Parliament and people. Your participation and support of this event is requested. Please keep posted on rielity.ca and join us in the work to see Louis Riel recognized as Canada’s Aboriginal Father of Confederation.