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Marie-Louise: Protector of Louis Riel in Québec

Sébastien Malette, Guillaume Marcotte


This article challenges the ideological position that denies the historical existence of Métis in Québec. Responding to accusations such that Eastern Métis are “zombies” with no “living” traditions, this paper has two objectives. First, it explores some political and juridical elements that help explain the emergence of such reactionary rhetoric. It then presents the oral tradition of Marie-Louise Riel, reported as protecting the Métis leader in the Outaouais region during his political exile. Through the exploration of this oral history, we offer examples of Eastern-Western Métis kinship and solidarity that defy the territorial reification of Métis culture as being a West-only phenomenon. Together, the evidence compiled and reviewed offers compelling reasons to assert that the Outaouais Métis are bearers of a distinct identity—an identity that many of their descendants still value today.


Métis; Québec; Oral tradition; Outaouais; Louis Riel

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