Archiver > METISGEN > 2002-04 > 1018050683

From: Karen Carignan <>
Subject: [METISGEN-L] The Nor'Westers - Christine Pilon
Date: Fri, 05 Apr 2002 15:51:39 -0800

During the battle of Batoche, Christine Pilon and her newborn baby lived in a tent by the river bank. It was cold and there was very little food. When the troops charged over the hill of May 12, she escaped with Louis Riel and his family to the Minchinas Hills nearby. A few days later, when Riel decided to surrender, she returned to Batoche with the Riel family. Property in the village had been looted by the advancing solders; many of the houses in the area including the Pilon's had been burned to the ground and everything was in ruins.

Major-General Middleton also assessed the effects rebellion and defeat on Metis families: "they (Metis men) are very ignorant and have either been led away by Riel or forced to join him and poor wives and children are the principal sufferers." Christine Pilon was among those who suffered, but she was not an "ignorant victim" of Riel. Years later, when she recalled the events of 1885, she bitterly blamed the Dominion governement for causing the rebellion. She thought Riel foolish to have surrendered and she condemned the authorities for executing him. To her, as to many other Metis, Riel remained a saint.

Born at St. Norbert, Red River Settlement in 1862, the daugher of French Canadians, Michel Dumas and Henriette Landry, Christine Dumas was educated by the Greg Nuns in St. Boniface. She married Barthelemi Pilon, a Metis, in 1882 and the couple moved to the Batoche area where several of Christine's brothers and sisters already lived including Michel Dumas who later escaped to the United States with Gabariel Dumont. The Pilons took up mixed farming and built a new house - all was destroyed in the rebellion. Christine, however, was an intelligent, resourceful and energetic woman, and as one of the few educated people in the settlement, assisted in writing letters of claim to the Rebellion Losses Commission in 1885.

The Pilons remained at Batoche. Towards the turn of the century, Barthelemi took the job of ferry-man at Batoche. He was also a member of the church and school councils. The mother of eight children, Christine died in 1954.

Any more information??????

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