batoche history

In the spring of 1885 the discontent that had been simmering for some time among the Métis as well as the various Indian bands in the Canadian Northwest finally erupted in a rebellion that profoundly changed the history of the country. The fault lines that were exposed by the insurrection cut through all aspects of Canadian society: the Conservative government in Ottawa led by John A. Macdonald, the Catholic Church, the French communities in Quecbec and the Northwest, the commercial interests of the Hudson Bay Company and the settlers who had come for a new start in the northern prairies.

     The major figures of this tragedy have become legendary in Canada's history: Louis Riel, the visionary, and spiritual leader of the Métis, Gabriel Dumont, the consummate plainsman, a wily hunter who knew the land as no one else, and on the other side General Middleton, a soldier of some stature thrust into a situation with untested troops and operating in a harsh climate. Many other colourful figures round out the story and give the events a poignancy that is profoundly moving even after 115 years.

     Based on the book of poems called Batoche by author Kim Morrissey, the composer William Pura has fashioned a musical drama that traces the events of that period and confronts the personal tragedies of the major protagonists as well as those people who are less well known to history.

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