The Biblio File: Library News

Updated 2022/02/21

The Biblio File
February 21, 2022

Today’s holiday is in honour of Louis Riel, the Métis leader who led the fight to maintain aboriginal and francophone rights in Manitoba.

“Riel led two resistance movements against the Government of Canada and sought to defend Métis rights and identity as the Northwest Territories came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence.

In 1884 Riel was called upon by the Métis leaders in Saskatchewan to help resolve longstanding grievances with the Canadian government, which led to armed conflict with government forces, the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Defeated at the Battle of Batoche, Riel was imprisoned in Regina where he was convicted at trial of high treason. Despite protests, popular appeals and the jury’s call for clemency, Riel was executed by hanging. Riel was seen as a heroic victim by French Canadians; his execution had a lasting negative impact on Canada, polarizing the new nation along ethno-religious lines. The Métis were marginalized in the Prairie provinces by the increasingly English-dominated majority. An even more important long-term impact was the bitter alienation Francophones across Canada felt, and anger against the repression by their countrymen.

Riel’s historical reputation has long been polarized between portrayals as a dangerous religious fanatic and rebel opposed to the Canadian nation, and, by contrast, as a charismatic leader intent on defending his Métis people from the unfair encroachments by the federal government eager to give Orangemen-dominated Ontario settlers priority access to land. Arguably, Riel has received more formal organizational and academic scrutiny than any other figure in Canadian history. The trial and conviction of Louis Riel has been the subject of historical comment and criticism for over one hundred years.” (Wikipedia)

The library will be closed today for this holiday.

The library ghost has chosen Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert as his reading material this time.  On first glance I assumed he chose it simply for the colorful cover as his defence against the snow, but it turns out it’s the sequel to Moloka’i, written 15 years earlier, which he obviously read at that time.

Moloka’i is the story of Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, who dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Here her life is supposed to end—but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.

Daughter of Moloka’i tells the story of Ruth, the daughter that Rachel Kalama―quarantined for most of her life at the isolated leprosy settlement of Kalaupapa―was forced to give up at birth.

The book follows young Ruth from her arrival at the Kapi’olani Home for Girls in Honolulu, to her adoption by a Japanese couple who raise her on a strawberry and grape farm in California, her marriage and unjust internment at Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II―and then, after the war, to the life-altering day when she receives a letter from a woman who says she is Ruth’s birth mother, Rachel.

As a huge fan of “continuing sagas” I’m looking forward to reading both of these!  Thanks Ghost!