Louis Riels summation to the Jury

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When I came to the North West in July, 1884, I found the Indians suffering. I found the half-breeds eating the rotten pork of the Hudson Bay Company and getting sick and weak each day. Although a half-breed, and having no pretensions to help the Whites, I also paid attention to them. I saw they were deprived of responsible government. I saw they were deprived of their public liberties. I have
directed my attention to help the Indians, to help the half-breeds and to help the Whites to the best of my ability. We have made petitions, I have made petitions with others to the Canadian government asking to relieve the condition of this country. We have taken time; we have tried to unite all classes, even if I may speak, all parties. The only things I would like to call your attention to before you retire are:

1st That the House of Commons, Senate and Ministers of the Dominion, who make laws for this land and govern it, are no representation whatever of the people of the North West. 2nd That the
North West Council generated by the Federal Government has the great defect of its parent. 3rd The number of members elected for the Council by the people make it only a sham representative Legislature and no representative government at all.

British civilization which rules today the world, and the British constitution, have defined such
government as this is which rules the NorthWest Territories as irresponsible government, which plainly means that there is no responsibility, and by all the science which has been shown here
yesterday you are compelled to admit that if there is no responsibility, it is insane. [Riel is referring to Crown witnesses who testified that he was insane.]

Good sense combined with scientific theories lead to the same conclusion. By the testimony laid before you during my trial witnesses on both sides made it certain that petition after petition had been sent to the federal government, and so irresponsible is that government to the North West that in the course of several years besides doing nothing to satisfy the people of this great land, it has even hardly been able to answer once or give a single response. That fact would indicate an absolute lack of responsibility, and therefore insanity complicated with paralysis.

If you take the plea of the defence that I am not responsible for my acts, acquit me completely since I have been quarreling with an insane and irresponsible Government. If you pronounce in favour of the Crown, which contends that I am responsible, acquit me all the same. You are perfectly justified in declaring that having my reason and sound mind, I have acted reasonably and in self-defence, while the Government, my accuser, being irresponsible, consequently cannot have but acted wrong, and if high treason there is, it must be on its side and not on my part. The agitation of the North-
West territories would have been constitutional, and would certainly be constitutional today, if, in my opinion, we had not been attacked. Perhaps the Crown has not been able to find out the particulars, that we were attacked, but as we were on the scene, it was easy to understand. When we
sent petitions to the Government, they used to answer us by sending police.

What opinions is Riel expressing?

Opinions that Riel is expressing are that he believes the government isn't treating the Metis people fairly, and that they aren't being given equality. The Canadians are only giving respect to their own and not those of a different culture. The peoples of Native/aboriginal ancestry are not being given good food to eat, they are being given rotten/raw food. Their essential needs are not bing met by the government. The Metis are starving to death because of lack of food. He is pointing out flaws of the government.

Other questions that i don't understand are

What conclusions can you make based on Riels speech?
What generalizations can you make?

I don't get the other questions cause they are same like the first one.

  • Louis Riels summation to the Jury -

    This is the speech that Reils gave at his trial for treason.

    In your conclusions, do you think he was guilty of treason? of insanity? Why?

    What do you think of the overall picture of Canada and this territory?

  • Louis Riels summation to the Jury -

    No I don't think he was. And I don't get why people call him insane, he just pointed out the flaws in the government which were true. I don't think he was guilty at all. The canadians were at fault since they never cared for the Metis, obviously anyone in Riels place would hve felt sad seeing his people getting treated unfairly.

    The overall picture of Canadan and this territory?

    Its good now since everyone is being considered equal, and its a country to all cultures.

  • Louis Riels summation to the Jury -

    Yes, it's good now. But at the time of Riels hanging, things weren't good, were they?

  • Louis Riels summation to the Jury -

    No they werent good because he wasn't guilty. Oh wait, so things werent good because if Riel had listened to those other lawyers advice he would have probably not have gotten hanged, but he chose to expose his feelings which got him hanged.

    So what would this go under?

  • Louis Riels summation to the Jury -

    Your last question asks what you feel about Canada at this time.

  • Louis Riels summation to the Jury -

    At this time I feel that Canada is a good country. Everyone is being given respect to, and everyone has the right to speak, not the just the white people, all individuals share this right.

    What would this go under?

    No they werent good because he wasn't guilty. Oh wait, so things werent good because if Riel had listened to those other lawyers advice he would have probably not have gotten hanged, but he chose to expose his feelings which got him hanged.

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