Louis Riel - His family, his youth

Louis, the first child of Louis Riel père and Julie Lagimodière, was born October 22, 1844, in St. Boniface. His mother was the seventh child of Jean-Baptiste Lagimodière and Marie-Anne Gaboury, who came from Québec to settle in the North-West in 1806. Louis père had been born at Ile-à-la-Crosse in 1817, the son of Jean-Baptiste Riel dit l’Irlande and Marguerite Boucher, a Franco-Déné Métisse whom he married in 1798, ‘à la façon du pays’. In 1843 after spending his childhood in Québec where his parents had returned to live and following an attempt at being a seminarian, Louis Riel père returned to settle in the West, the country where he was born. Here in Red River he met Julie Lagimodière and their marriage was solemnized by Bishop Provencher on January 21, 1844, at St. Boniface Cathedral. Both were devout Catholics, as Julie had also considered a religious life before marrying Louis Riel. Their piety was to be an important factor in the family’s daily life.

Louis spent his childhood on the east bank of the Red River, not far from St. Boniface and the property of his Lagimodière grandparents. He grew up among the Métis, highly aware of his identity inherited through his father’s line. At the age of ten, he began his education, eventually studying at the school run by the Christian Brothers established in the Settlement in 1854. With the aim of training priests for the young colony, Bishop Taché sent him to Montréal in 1858, along with two other boys, Daniel McDougall and Louis Schmidt, to continue his schooling.


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