In a little while it will be all over. We may fail. But the rights for which we contend will not die.
— Louis Riel

Louis David Riel was a Métis (mixed Native American and European ancestry) political leader and founder of the Canadian province of Manitoba, as well as a leader of major Métis and Native American Rebellions, the Red River Rebellion and the North West Rebellion. Riel was born in the Red River Settlement, near present-day Winnipeg Manitoba in 1844, one of eleven children of a French-Canadian Métis family. Riel was educated first by local Roman Catholic priests, and later studied in Montreal, intending to become a Catholic priest. That changed in 1864 when Riel's mother died, and Louis lost interest in the priesthood and worked as a legal clerk, before moving to the US and working odd jobs in Chicago and St. Paul Minnesota.

Riel returned to his home in the Red River Settlement in 1868, where racial, religious, and political tensions were brewing. These tensions broke out into open rebellion when a land survey denied the Métis title to their land. Riel denounced the survey in a speech, and quickly became involved with a new Métis Provisional Government, having essentially declared Manitoba to an autonomous region and declaring that Canadian authority would be contested unless they agreed to negotiate with the Métis. Riel quickly defeated a conflict within Manitoba between the Métis and a group of Canadian loyalists, arose, resulting in the capture and imprisonment of 50 members of a loyalist militia. Initially, the negotiations appeared to be making progress, however, February 17th, 1870, Major Charles Boulton and Thomas Scott, were arrested for trying to free the imprisoned Canadian loyalists. Boulton was intially sentenced to death, but was pardoned by Riel, however, Scott got into a quarrel with the guards and was charged with defying the authority of the provisional government, and executed.

Battle vs. Macario Sakay (by SPARTAN 119)

Louis Riel: Blue.png Blue.png Blue.png Blue.png Blue.png

Macario Sakay: Green.png Green.png Green.png Green.png Green.png

Macario Sakay and four Filipino's walk across an open plain with scattered pine trees, wondering where they are and how they got here. Up ahead, they see Louis Riel and five Métis and Cree rebels. Assuming them to be a threat, Macario raises his Mauser and fires, scoring a hit on one of the rebels and cutting him down with a well-aimed shot. Blue.png

Louis Riel and his men ready their weapons, Riel raising his Winchester and firing a shot at a Filipino who tried to raise a Springfield Trapdoor Carbine, however, Riel fired first, hitting him the chest and cut him down. Green.png

Macario Sakay ordered his men to charge, guns and bolos in hand. One of Riel's Cree allies raised his Martini-Henry Rifle and fired a shot, scoring a headshot on a Filipino, killing him instantly Green.png. A Filipino insurrectionist raised his Colt 1892, firing three shots, dropping a Métis with three chest shots Blue.png.

The man to the right of the fallen Métis drew his Colt 1878 and fired twice, hitting the Filipino who killed his comrade with a both shots, killing him Green.png. Macario Sakay's men were now within feet of Riel and his men. Sakay lunged at Cree warrior, who drew his tomahawk and took a swing at him. Sakay, however, evaded the attack and thrust the knife through his adversary's chest. Blue.png.

The last surviving Métis threw aside his unloaded Martini-Henry and got out a hatchet, and blocked a blow from a Filipino with a balisong, before bringing the axe down on the Filipino's head, killing him Green.png.

Sakay, infuriated by the death of his men, charged at Riel, bolo in hand. Riel tried to turn and aim his Winchester, but there wasn't time. Sakay was on him. Sakay made a wide slash at Riel's neck with his bolo, but Riel blocked the strike with the gun, then struck Sakay in the face with the butt of the rifle, stunning him. Riel then pressed the barrel of the gun against Sakay's face and fired, the round going through his head, killing him instantly.

WINNER: Louis Riel

Expert's Opinion

While Sakay had better tactics, his poor logistics- the fact that not all of his men had firearms was a severe weakness. That was further compounded by Riel having a superior knife, more powerful sidearm, and a rifle with a faster rate of fire.

Original weapons, votes, and battle here.

Battle vs. Saigō Takamori (by SPARTAN 119)

Saigo Takamori and Beppu Shinsuke walked out of a cloud and looked upon and open plain unlike anywhere they were before. In the distance, they spotted a pair of men on horseback with rifles in the distance. Mistaking them for Imperial Army scouts, Takamori ordered one of his soldiers to fire on them.

A rifle bullet whizzed by the head of Gabriel Dumont, some 100 meters distant from oddly dressed enemy force. He and the second Metis on horseback turned back towards the coulee (dry streambed) where Riel and the rest of the Metis and their Cree allies lay hidden amongst the narrow line of trees on the steep slopes of the ravine.

Dumont and the scout arrived back in the coulee and dismounted, informing Louis Riel of the incoming enemy. Riel and Dumont raised their weapons and ordered their troops to prepare for battle.

A few minutes later, Takamori's samurai rebels arrived at the coulee. Suddenly, the silence was broken when the Metis rebels opened fire in a flash of fire and a cloud of smoke. Bullets from Winchesters and Enfields and shotgun blasts ran through the bodies of Saigo's rebels in a spray of blood.

In total about 20 of his men were cut down in the hail of bullets. Takamori and Shinsuke, as well as about 30 other survivors took cover behind trees or any other cover they could find and returned fire.

Saigo himself took aim with a Spencer Carbine and fired a well-aimed shot at Metis rebel, scoring a headshot, killing him instantly. A few of the other rebel samurai got off shots from behind cover, and managed to take out maybe a dozen Metis.

However, for each kill Takamori's rebels scored, Louis Riel and his forces managed to kill two of their foe. As a samurai peaked out from behind a tree, Gabriel Dumont picked him off with his Winchester, before pulling back the lever and dropping another enemy.

One by one, the samurai rebels, disoriented since to surprise attack, were shot down in a hail of lead. Soon enough, only about a dozen of them were left. Even as he realized defeat was inevitable, Saigo refused to flee the battlefield, and instead his katana and charged across the ravine, followed by the rest of the surviving rebels.

The Metis greeted them with a hail of lead, bullets tearing through the chests of charging samurai, sending them falling to the stone-covered bed of the coulee. Saigo Takamori, Beppu Shinsuke, and two others, however, managed to reach the nearest of the Metis and Cree rebels.

Beppu Shinsuke swung his sword into a surprised Metis, who was struck down, a great gash across his chest. However, his victory was short-lived. The fallen Metis was avenged by two shots from the Colt 1878 revolver of his fellow. Shinsuke fell to the ground, face down, dead.

Even as Shinsuke and his last two companions fell, picked off by rifle and pistol fire, Takamori slashed through two Metis rebels, before charging towards Riel and Dumont. Unfortunately for Takamori, both of them, along with several other Metis and Cree, opened fire, riddling Takamori with bullets. His body fell and rolled down the side of the ravine.

As the last of the samurai rebels fell, cheers erupted amongst the Metis.

WINNER: Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont

Expert's Opinion

Riel and Dumont won against Takamori because of their superior guerilla tactics, as well as their greater experience in fighting a better-equipped foe- while Takamori won some battles in the Boshin War against poorly equipped Shogunate troops, he never won a battle in the Satsuma Revolt, while Riel, and in particular, Dumont, as well as their Cree allies, defeated better equipped Canadian Army troops on multiple occasions. Also contributing was the superior firepower of Riel's weapons.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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