Rare images of Louis Riel and Manitoba in the 1860s and 1870s turned up recently at an Australian auction of memorabilia from the American civil war.
The eight photos are “cartes de visite,” a type of small photograph popular during the period and are now on display at the University of Manitoba. One of the photos shows a famous scene of Riel and his councillors. The print is likely the first made of the original photograph, according to U of M.
The other images give a fascinating look at what life was like in Manitoba during the time of Riel’s rebellion.
One shows a man dressed as a Metis hunter, another is a photograph of Ojibwe peoples mourning the loss of a loved one in a graveyard located in Lake of the Woods. Yet another is an image of what would have been considered a traffic jam at the time at the intersection of Portage and Main Street, which was surrounded by dirt roads in 1874.
The U of M was offered the photos by a local rare book dealer, who bought them off another rare book dealer in Victoria who had purchased them directly from the auction in Australia. The U of M paid $6.500 for the eight photographs, but it is those of Louis Riel that hold the most value. You can check out the photographs at the U of M website.