An Interview - Toronto, Nov. 10,1885
The Globe this morning containing a telegram from its Regina correspondent giving what is declared to be a bona fide interview with Riel. After referring to the reasons which led him to cross the line, he said, When I was asked to come from Montana the half-breeds wanted me to petition, and I did so, and an answer resulted in an increase of police. I had no protection at all, and reports and threats came from all quarters about me, and agitation was considered a thing out of place by many in Saskatchewan, and the Government began having special constables at all meetings. The police are out of place. If they would give us our rights instead of keeping guard over us, men so employed could be kept to much better purpose in developing the country.
I wish the Dominion Government would book one seventh of our land and compute that as capital and give us for the present what interest they could on that capital, and as the country became more prosperous increase that interest, still retaining the capital. He then wandered off on the subject of Divine mission, and said, Since December 8, 1875, the year I was banished, God has appointed me his prophet, and all my points are as clear as water of the purest fountain. With the many interests bound against us it was impossible man should succeed, and I was praying day and might that God would grant me mercy and help men in my extremity. Before consenting to the invitation I told them to give me six hours for prayer and confession, and next morning, with Gabriel Dumont and Michael Dumais, went to confession and received communion. When twenty-four hours had expired, God showed me what good I would be doing the country. In the Gospel it is said: From him that asketh thee turn not against. They wanted to borrow my help, and I thought it not christianlike for me to refuse to give it. The first difficulty arose a Duck Lake, where Major Crozier came with cannons to fetch oats from our settlement. If he was justified in using cannon to fetch oats, why were we not justified in using small guns in defending our lands.
The parish of St. Louis de Langevin had been completely sold with the property of twenty-four families, and they could not get even an appearance of a title, and chapel, priests house, all ground, and everything were taken away, and this only is an instance of the injustice under which we labored. Then followed some revelations, after which the guard notified me that my time had expired. As I turned to go away Riel said: I want to tell you one thing more; last night I had a vision and way the bucket, but did not kick it. It was another man who kicked it. I think it was Langevin. This was symbolical of his belief that he would not hang.
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Copyright Michael J. Durocher, 1997