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Moreover, the old inhabitants now recognized that although their settlement was still isolated, it was the object of expansionist aspirations on the part of both the United States and Canada.Indeed, during Riel’s absence the settlement had grown to almost 12,000 and the village of Winnipeg had emerged, largely populated by Canadians and a handful of Americans.As a child, young Louis would have heard much of his father’s exploits.While he was being educated in the Catholic schools in St Boniface, Riel attracted the attention of Bishop Alexandre-Antonin Taché*.Hoping to support his family in Red River, whom Riel.But the subtleties of the law bored and annoyed Riel and he decided, in all likelihood in 1866, to return to Red River.The news of his father’s death, which reached him in February 1864, was a traumatic shock for Riel.Always an introvert, subject to moods of depression, he seems to have lost confidence in his qualifications for the priesthood and withdrew from the college in March of the following year without graduating.
He remains a mysterious figure in death as in life.
Riel was the eldest of 11 children in a close-knit, devoutly religious, and affectionate family.
Both his parents were westerners, and he is said to have had one-eighth Indian blood, his paternal grandmother being a Franco-Chipewyan Métisse.
The Scots settlers had adhered strictly to the Presbyterian church. Religious antipathies had become a notable feature of the settlement.
At the same time the political climate was both uncertain and volatile.
During the early 19th century the Métis, the largest group, had developed a vigorous sense of nationality based on a distinctive culture which combined Indian and French Canadian elements.