Biography of Schmidt, Louis, 1844-1935

Louis Schmidt (baptised Louis Laferté), was born in 1844 in an old fort on the banks of Lake Athabasca. At the age of 10, he traveled with his family to the Red River Settlement, where he was a classmate of Louis Riel. He was one of four young Métis selected by Archbishop Taché to further their studies in Lower Canada, three of whom agreed to go. A very good student at le Collège de Saint-Hyacinthe, Schmidt nonetheless chose not to become a priest. He returned to Red River in 1861 and during the next eight years engaged in a number of economic pursuits, including writing, teaching, freighting and peace negotiations He served as secretary in Riel’s Provisional Government 1870 and was an eye-witness to most of the major events of the Resistance. Schmidt was elected to Manitoba’s first Legislative Assembly as representative for St. Boniface West and helped to draft the province’s first school legislation. He was also a spokesperson for the Métis in discussions with Ottawa regarding land claims. Schmidt lost in the 1874 election when his riding was joined with that of St. Charles. Re-elected in 1878, he left politics a year later when the government was defeated. Married in 1872 to Justine Laviolette, he worked as a supervisor of licensing and did some farming. He left Manitoba for Saskatchewan in 1880. He chose to remain neutral during the North-West Rebellion of 1885, and became a land agent in Prince Albert. Schmidt was one of the founders of l’Association catholique franco-canadienne de la Saskatchewan (ACFC) in 1912. He died in 1935.

Mentioned in:


  1. Louis Schmidt, Mémoires, 1911-12, extrait, p. 81-82
  2. Louis Schmidt, Mémoires, 1911-1912, extrait, p. 71
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