Note: Louis Riel was the leader of the Métis rebellion. He was hanged in 1885. In Québec, the announcement of his death spread anger among francophones. A song was even written to express this anger.

The song describes those who are being accused of wishing harm on Riel and Canadians in general. Who are these people and what words are used to describe them? Who are we referring to when we talk about “Canadians”?

Excerpt:

I

Children of New France,

You can no longer doubt us!

Riel is swinging on the gallows,

Victim of our enemies. (repeat)

Friends, for us, ah! what outrage!

What methods must be taken!

He who has just been executed

Inspires us with his courage.

 

Chorus:

Courage! Canadians!

Let us hold our hearts high;

A day will come (repeat)

We shall be the victors.

 

II

What do these pro-slavers want?

What does this strangling minister want?

For whom these mischievous Orangemen,

For whom these cries, this fury? (repeat)

For us, friends, for us, my brothers,

They would see us in the coffin,

These tyrants that their foolish pride

Make blind and deaf to prayers​​.

[…]

 

Sacred love of the homeland,

Lead, support our avenging arms.

Liberty, cherished liberty,

Fight with your defenders! (repeat)

Riel, we will keep your memory,

So that your name, oft repeated

May speak to us of freedom,

And preach independence!

[…]

Source: La Marseillaise Rielliste, anonymous text (November 1885), cited in Gilles Gallichan, Honoré Mercier : la politique et la culture, Sillery, Septentrion, 1994, p.43-44.

French if available (si disponible)