In March 1869, the HBC agreed to sell Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory to the Dominion of Canada. Anticipating the transfer of these lands, the federal government appointed William McDougallas lieutenant-governor of the new territory and sent survey crews to Red River to assess and re-stake the lands.
Concerned that an influx of Anglo-Protestant immigrants from Ontario would follow, the Métis organized the Métis National Committee in order to protect the social, cultural and political status of the Métis in Red River and the Northwest more generally. As an articulate young man with an eastern education, Riel was elected as its secretary — and was later elected president.
With Riel at its head, the committee halted the Canadian land surveys. Less than one month later, the committee established a roadblock to prevent William McDougall from entering the Red River Settlement on 2 November. That same day, the Committee seized Upper Fort Garry from the HBC and, with little resistance from HBC officials, took steps to establish itself, under Riel’s leadership, as the government of the Red River Settlement. The committee invited both the English and French speaking people of Red River to send delegates to Upper Fort Garry to discuss the terms on which they would allow McDougall — and by extension Canadian authority — into the Northwest. - Canadian Encyclopedia
Biography of Louis Riel - Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Books worth a look:
Reid, Jennifer. Louis Riel and the Creation of Modern Canada: Mythic Discourse and the Postcolonial State. University of Manitoba Press
High School Resources
Junior High School Resources
The Secret of Your Name, Proud to be Metis,
Illustrated by Dennis J. Weber
"The book draws in readers with the warmth and detailed colour art illustrations by Dennis J. Weber as well as the poetic verses written in English and Michif. The story of the author's identity is told in the spare text and the engaging images. He begins with acknowledging the early contact period of the French and First Nations. The truth about his true identity lay hidden from the child but as the child matures into an adult he successfully searches out his lineage to his Anishinaabe (Chippewa), Innu, and Menominee grandmothers. While tracing Bouchard's ancestry the reader is given a brief history of the Métis story in Canada." - Goodminds
Elementary School Resources
Thomas and his Cat Li Minoush
Illustrated by Sheldon Dawson
This is a dual language picture book about a Métis boy and his pet cat. When Thomas feels left out because all his friends have pets, he asks his mother for a cat. She agrees, and when she calls it Minoush she introduces her son to the Michif language. Simple English text is appropriate for primary students. On each page the publisher has the Michif translation below the English text.
The book introduces young students to the Métis language which is a combination of Cree and French. In the story the mother compares the Michif language to dinosaurs because this unique language is nearing extinction in Canada. Thomas learns about the importance of his ancestry and now his cat represents the unique language. Thomas explains how his cat named Minoush received its cool name to his classmates during show and tell. The last page of the book provides a pronunciation guide for Michif vowel sounds. A good introduction for primary students about Michif language and its importance.