Thursday, 21 February 2013

Louis Riel Day Podcast Special

This is an hour long special in honour of Louis Riel Day (18th Feb, 2013 in Manitoba) presenting Aboriginal music of Turtle Island with a focus on Métis music. There are also segments talking about the history and life of Louis Riel. I hope you all enjoy.

Performers are Raymond St-Germain, Winston Wuttunee, Hawk and Eagle, Shingoose, and many more.

Human Rights of the Métis

The List of Rights was prepared as part of the proclamation of the provisional government for the Northwest Territories, on December 8, 1869, following the capture of Fort Schultz. It was styled as the Declaration of the People of Rupert's Land. Written by Louis Riel, aided by Father Georges Dugas and Father Ritchot at St. Boniface College. The Bill of Rights was prepared at a "Convention of Forty" (20 English-speakers and 20 French-speakers) convened on January 26, 1870 to replace the List of Rights which had not been adequately debated. It was written by Louis Riel, Louis Schmidt, Charles Nolin, James Ross, Thomas Bunn, and Dr. Curtis Bird in just 2 days. It too emphasized bilingualism, protection of the lands of long-time residents, and democracy.

The List of Rights as Drawn by the Executive of the Provisional Government

  1. That the Territories heretofore known as Rupert's Land and North-West, shall not enter into the Confederation of the Dominion of Canada, except as a Province; to be styled and known as the Province of Assiniboia, and with all the rights and privileges common to the different Provinces of the Dominion.
  2. That we have two Representatives in the Senate, and four in the House of Commons of Canada, until such time as an increase of population entitle the Province to a greater Representation.
  3. That the Province of Assiniboia shall not be held liable at any time for any portion of the Public debt of the Dominion contracted before the date the said Province shall have entered the Confederation, unless the said Province shall have first received from the Dominion the full amount for which the said Province is to be held liable.
  4. That the sum of Eighty Thousand ($80,000) dollars be paid annually by the Dominion Government to the local Legislature of this Province.
  5. That all properties, rights and privileges engaged [sic: enjoyed] by the people of this Province, up to the date of our entering into the Confederation, be respected; and that the arrangement and confirmation of all customs, usages and privileges be left exclusively to the local Legislature.
  6. That during the term of five years, the Province of Assiniboia shall not be subjected to any direct taxation, except such as may be imposed by local Legislature, for municipal or local purposes.
  7. That a sum of money equal to eighty cents per head of the population of this Province, be paid annually by the Canadian Government to the local Legislature of the said Province; until such time as the said population shall have reached six hundred thousand.
  8. That the local Legislature shall have the right to determine the qualification of members to represent this Province in the Parliament of Canada and in the local Legislature.
  9. That in this Province, with the exception of uncivilized and unsettled Indians, every male native citizen who has attained the age of twenty-one years, and every foreigner, other than a British subject, who has resided here during the same period, being a householder and having taken the oath of allegiance, shall be entitled to vote at the election of members for the local Legislature and for the Canadian Parliament. It being understood that this article be subject to amendment exclusively by the local Legislature.
  10. That the bargain of the Hudson's Bay Company with respect to the transfer of the Government of this country to the Dominion of Canada, be annulled; so far as it interferes with the rights of the people of Assiniboia, and so far as it would affect our future relations with Canada.
  11. That the local Legislature of the Province of Assiniboia shall have full control over all the public lands of the Province and the right to annul all acts or arrangements made, or entered into, with reference to the public lands of Rupert's Land, and the North West now called the Province of Assiniboia.
  12. That the Government of Canada appoint a Commission of Engineers to explore the various districts of the Province of Assiniboia, and to lay before the local Legislature a report of the mineral wealth of the Province, within five years from the date of our entering into Confederation.
  13. That treaties be concluded between Canada and the different Indian tribes of the Province of Assiniboia, by and with the advice and cooperation of the local Legislature of this Province.
  14. That an uninterrupted steam communication from Lake Superior to Fort Garry be guaranteed, to be completed within the space of five years.
  15. That all public buildings, bridges, roads and other public works, be at the cost of the Dominion Treasury.
  16. That the English and French languages be common in the Legislature and in the Courts, and that all public documents, as well as acts of the Legislature be published in both languages.
  17. That whereas the French and English speaking people of Assiniboia are so equally divided as to number, yet so united in their interests and so connected by commerce, family connections and other political and social relations, that it has, happily, been found impossible to bring them into hostile collision- although repeated attempts have been made by designing strangers, for reasons known to themselves, to bring about so ruinous and disastrous an event-and whereas after all the troubles and apparent dissensions of the past-the result of misunderstanding among themselves; they have as soon as the evil agencies referred to above were removed-become as united and friendly as ever-therefore, as a means to strengthen this union and friendly feeling among all classes, we deem it expedient and advisable-that the Lieutenant-Governor, who may be appointed for the Province of Assiniboia, should be familiar with both the French and English languages.
  18. That the Judge of the Supreme Court speak the English and French languages.
  19. That all debts contracted by the Provisional Government of the Territory of the Northwest, now called Assiniboia, in consequence of the illegal and inconsiderate measure adopted by Canadian officials to bring about a civil war in our midst, be paid out of the Dominion Treasury; and that none of the members of the Provisional Government, or any of those acting under them, be in any way held liable or responsible with regard to the movement, or any of the actions which led to the present negotiations.
  20. That in view of the present exceptional position of Assiniboia, duties upon goods imported into the province, shall, except in the case of spirituous liquors, continue as at present for at least three years from the date of our entering the Confederation and for such further time as may elapse until there be uninterrupted railroad communication between Winnipeg and St. Paul and also steam communication between Winnipeg and Lake Superior.
The Metis Bill of Rights, December 1, 1869 Canadian Northwest ----------------------------------------
1. The right to elect our Legislature.
2. The Legislature to have power to pass all laws, local to the Territory, over the veto of the Executive, by a two-third vote.
3. No act of the Dominion Parliament (local to this Territory) to be binding on the people until sanctioned by their representatives.
4. All sheriffs, magistrates, constables, etc., etc., to be elected by the people -- a free homestead pre-emption law.
5. A portion of the public lands to be appropriated to the benefit of schools, the building of roads, bridges and parish buildings.
6. A guarantee to connect Winnipeg by rail with the nearest line of railroad -- the land grant for such road or roads to be subject to the Legislature of the Territory.
7. For 4 years the public expenses of the Territory, civil, military and municipal, to be paid out of the Dominion treasury.
8. The military to be composed of the people now existing in the Territory.
9. The French and English language to be common in the Legislature and Council, and all public documents and acts of Legislature to be published in both languages.
10. That the Judge of the Superior Court speak French and English.
11. Treaties to be concluded and ratified between the Government and several tribes of Indians of this Territory, calculated to insure peace in the future.
12. That all privileges, customs and usages existing at the time of the transfer to be respected.
13. That these rights be guaranteed by Mr. McDougall before he be admitted into this Territory.
14. If he have not the power himself to grant them, he must get an act of Parliament passed expressly securing us these rights; and until such act be obtained, he must stay outside of the Territory.
15. That we have a full and fair representation in the Dominion Parliament.

Source: Alexander Begg, (Toronto: 1971), p. 110.

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