Letter from Louis Riel
Just in time for Manitoba Day on May 12 the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections recently acquired a rare letter written in 1883 by Louis Riel to his friend Pierre Lavallee. The letter was previously owned by a St. Boniface family, and had been published in the newspaper “Le Manitobia” on June 18, 1885. The letter is written in French, an approximate English translation is available in the Archives.
In the letter Riel encouraged Lavallee, who had recently become the clerk of the court of East-Marquette and clerk and treasurer of the municipality of St. Francois-Xavier, to use his position to promote the “common interests of a cordial union between the Métis and The [French] Canadians”. The letter speaks highly of both the Métis and French Canadians and highlights what Riel sees as the similarities between the two groups. The intention behind the letter was clearly to foster a positive relationship between French Canadians and the Métis.