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Louis Riel - Batoche

On December 16, 1884, after several public meetings had been held, a petition was dispatched to Ottawa. It demanded that the settlers be given title to the lands they then occupied, that the districts of Saskatchewan, Assiniboia and Alberta be granted provincial status, that laws be passed to encourage the nomadic Indians and Métis to settle on the land and that the Indians be better treated.

In spite of the support Riel received from the Métis, an anti-Riel feeling prevailed among the Catholic clergy. The clergy feared his power and were suspicious of his religious beliefs. Their opposition caused the breach between Riel and his church to grow even wider. Led by Father André, the clergy tried to oust Riel as the Métis leader, but were unsuccessful.

On February 11, 1885, the federal government answered the petition that had been sent on December 16 of the previous year. The government promised to appoint a commission to investigate the Métis' claims and titles. The first step would be to take a census of the Métis in the North-West Territories. These proposals angered the Métis who were hoping for a quicker solution to their problems. Seeing that nothing had been accomplished yet, Riel asked the Métis if they wanted him to continue as their leader. Forsaken by their priests, the Métis reaffirmed their vision of Riel as a leader and a prophet.


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