Devotion: Louis Riel Writes Home | Archives and Special Collections

Devotion: Louis Riel Writes Home – Archives and Special Collections

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Devotion: Louis Riel Writes Home

May 29, 2023 – September 1, 2023

My respects and friendships to all our relatives and friends, do not forget any.

(Louis Riel, writing to his mother Julie Riel on October 2, 1874)

In 2022 the University of Calgary’s Libraries and Cultural Resources acquired an important collection of archival materials from the descendants of Louis Riel.  A selection of personal artifacts from this collection is featured in Archives and Special Collections’ exhibition, Devotion: Louis Riel Writes Home, held at Nickle Galleries.

The collection includes letters written by Louis Riel to his mother and siblings in Red River, a slim, worn notebook kept by Riel beginning in the 1870s, letters written by Riel family members and close associates, and a notebook containing a transcription of the courtroom address made by one of Riel’s defence lawyers, Charles Fitzpatrick, followed by Louis Riel’s defense speech.

A man of loyalty, devotion, and profound faith, Riel wrote home as often as he could. The exhibition suggests a man who was often homesick, worried for the well-being of his large family, and even when in exile was profoundly committed to the rights of the Métis people.

Organized by Archives and Special Collections with support from Nickle Galleries. Curated by Annie Murray.

For further information, visit Archives and Special Collections

“Louis Riel.”, 1874, ( CU1107303) by Zimmerman, C. A.. Courtesy of Glenbow Library and Archives, Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary.


Louis Riel to Julie Riel. 1875, Louis Riel Collection, Archives and Special Collections (ACU_SPC_1-07_01).