8th Fire: The Next Chapter's special on Louis Riel

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A multiplatform, multicultural documentary project, 8th Fire is a provocative look at the richness and diversity of Aboriginal cultures and Canada's complex 500-year-old relationship with Indigenous peoples -- a relationship still mired in colonialism, conflict and denial.


First aired on The Next Chapter (20/2/12)

As part of the CBC's 8th Fire series, The Next Chapter recently featured a special full-length program devoted to Métis leader Louis Riel.

Riel was one of the most fascinating characters in Canadian history. He spearheaded two rebellions, shaped Métis history and fought for rights that are still in contention today. It's been more than 125 years since he was executed, but the events of his life and the ideas he espoused continue to provoke discussion. Moreover, the epic scope of his life -- entry into the priesthood, a passionate love affair, a possible Messiah complex, along with battles with others and with himself -- has inspired many writers.

In "Keeping It Riel: Interpreting Louis Riel's Life," host Shelagh Rogers is joined by a number of authors who have drawn on the life of this controversial and charismatic figure. Taking part in a panel discussion are Maggie Siggins, author of Riel: A Life of Revolution; graphic novelist Chester Brown, author of Louis Riel: A Comic Strip Biography; and poet Gregory Scofield, author of Louis: The Heretic Poems.

Shelagh also talks to novelist Joseph Boyden about his short biography of Riel and fellow Métis leader Gabriel Dumont , and to Herb Belcourt, Alberta Métis elder and author, about his book, Walking in the Woods: A Métis Journey.

Listen to the complete program in the audio player below.

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See more special 8th Fire interviews and blog entries here.