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Louis Riel, Justice, and Métis Self-Identification: Literary Politics for Survival in the Evolution of Canadian Nationhood

White, Robin. 2014. Louis Riel, Justice, and Métis Self-Identification: Literary Politics for Survival in the Evolution of Canadian Nationhood. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis explores Métis identity in the context of the ambiguous nature of the Canadian national identity, and in particular, how the Louis Riel ‘Rebellions’ of 1869-70 and 1885, continue to resonate in contemporary Métis literature. While it is the case that the Métis have self-identified within their own communities since the seventeenth century, it is also the case that the legal definition and recognition of the Métis were not realized until 1982. Indeed, the fine points of law in the Canadian Constitution are still in dispute, not least because the Métis were not included in the initial signing of treaties with the Dominion of Canada. For the purposes of this thesis, it is first necessary to engage in a thorough examination of historical accounts of the resistance of the Métis against expansionist encroachment of the Dominion of Canada in the Northwest in order to trace the source and evolution of contemporary Métis literature. I consider the ways in which the literary texts of Métis authors confront racial and cultural prejudice that are the direct result of Constitutional law, charters of rights, legislation in the judicial system, and the eleven Confederation numbered treaties, drafted before, during and after the Riel Resistances.

The introductory and first chapters include contemporary Métis historical and legal academic analyses of the ‘Rebellions’ and an exploration of how the Government of Canada’s response in 1885 to the Métis uprising continues to inform its legal positions concerning Métis land rights and self-identification, while striving to maintain an international reputation as politically, and ethically, just. In the following chapters, this thesis analyses the literary texts of Maria Campbell, Beatrice Culleton Mosionier, and Gregory Scofield, all of who write of the complexities of defining Métis self-identification and maintaining sovereignty in light of the effects on their generations of Euro-Canadian historical accounts of the Riel ‘Rebellions’.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.25602/GOLD.00010461

Keywords:

Métis; Louis Riel; Maria Campbell; Beatrice Culleton Mosionier; Gregory Scofield

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature

Date:

2014

Item ID:

10461

Date Deposited:

04 Jul 2014 09:44

Last Modified:

22 Jun 2018 15:21

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/10461

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