Manitoba Historical Society
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My Love Affair with Louis Riel: Curtsy to Royalty buries hatchet

by Lillian Gibbons

Winnipeg Tribune, 29 June 1959

The wheel of time will have gone full circle when little Pauline Lavallee, 12, makes her curtsy to Queen Elizabeth in St. Boniface. The hatchet will be buried at last.

Her famous forbear was Louis Riel, hanged as a traitor in the regime of Queen Victoria.

July 24, 1959, will wipe out the memory of Nov. 16, 1885. Paulette will present a bouquet to Queen Elizabeth.

“It’s very exciting,” says Paulette’s relatives on Bruce Road, St. Vital, where the four red granite millstones from Louis Riel’s father’s mill are still to be seen lying like giant lifesavers in the grass.

Louis Riel’s father was famous as “the miller of the Seine.” The little river is just at the foot of Bruce Road.

The son Louis, who became president of the provisional government at Fort Garry in December of 1869, had a sister Octavie who married Louis Lavallee.

It was this Louis Lavallee who was appointed by the National Metis Associotion as one of the two guards to go to Regina to bring home the body of Riel after the execution.

Little Paulette’s grandfather was the son of Octavie.

St. Bonface Mayor J. G. Van Belleghem said: “I picked Paulette as the representative of a pioneer family. Yes, I knew about the Riel connection.”

Page revised: 10 June 2021

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