I was never fond of History while at school. I always felt that is was names and dates and the perception of who won the war's point of view. Turns out I was right. We had a class outing to Tussauds' Wax Museum just after studying about Louis Riel. He was depicted as being a traitor in our history books. For those of you who don't know. He was defending his Metis people and was hung for it. He is now a Hero in Winnipeg Manitoba and has a day in the summer where everyone celebrates him as a HERO.
As I stood in front of the was replica I was overwhelmed with how much my young brother looked like him. Right down to the tip of his nose. I had never really seen a picture of him. I could not believe my eyes. The talk within the family was were related but Grandma Riel was a very proud lady and would not discuss it. I am sure that it was how the History books depicted him, as a traitor. She was a well know couturier and designed Bridal gowns for the Eatons' Stores She lived in Winnipeg Manitoba and also made a lot of clothes for Gisele Mackenzie, a Canadian Singer and Actress.(Jack Benny's era). My first sewing kit came from her at 7 ys of age. Shortly after receiving it I made a red straight skirt without a pattern.
So, as I stood in front of Mr Riel I was mesmerized and found it fascinating as I knew the stories were real. I went home excited to share with the family and encouraged them to go see for themselves. The next day at school, one of my classmates made a derogatory remark about my brother being a traitor too. Oh my, punched him in the nose and was sent to the Principals office. The Principal was surprised by my actions as I was a very shy student and never gave anyone a hard time. He told me I had to apologize and I informed him that I would no such thing. NO ONE had the right to malign my family, however the young man needed to apologize to me and my brother. I would remain in his office until it was done.
The principal called the young man into the office and inquired as to the remarks and made him apologize. I am fiercely proud of my family and all of extended family. No one has the right to bad mouth anyone. That was the beginning of my standing up for those who were being bullied or addressed incorrectly. Yes my brother and sister are "Riel" and I am very proud of all of their accomplishments in life. I may not be a hero or a Riel but I have his attitude. in love and light
"We gain strength, and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face...we must do that which we think we cannot". Eleanor Roosevelt.