Biographies

Biography of Ritchot, Noël-Joseph, 1825-1905

Born in 1825 in l’Assomption, Lower Canada, Noël-Joseph Ritchot was educated at Le Collège de l’Assomption. Ordained to the priesthood in 1855, he came to the Red River colony in 1862, and was sent to the Métis parish of St Norbert. In 1869 Ritchot played a critical role during the early stages of the Resistance. He hosted the Métis leaders, including Riel, in his home and served as their counsellor. On 11 Feb. 1870, Ritchot was named one of three delegates to the Canadian government in Ottawa, representing the Métis element in the colony. The delegates’ task was to negotiate the entry of the Red River colony into confederation, based on the “List of Rights” prepared by the executive of the provisional government. On his arrival in Ottawa, Ritchot was arrested for his role in the death of Thomas Scott, but soon released for lack of evidence. Ritchot took a lead in the negotiations and soon secured provincial status for the colony, along with the establishment of bilingual and bicultural institutions. Ritchot succeeded in having 1,400,000 acres of land set aside for the Métis in recognition of their aboriginal rights, and a promise of amnesty for the leaders of the Resistance. The results of these negotiations were to be embodied in the articles of the Manitoba Act which was adopted by the House of Commons on 12 May 1870. Despite Ottawa’s verbal promises, Ritchot had to return to Ottawa several times in an attempt to settle the Métis land and amnesty issues. Faced with the departure of many Métis families for the North-West after 1870, he purchased the lands from those who left his parish and sold them to French-Canadian immigrants, thus ensuring a continued French-Catholic presence in St. Norbert. He died in St. Norbert in 1905.

Mentioned in:

diaries

  1. Jean-Baptiste Ladéroute, "Mémoires des troubles du Manitoba 1869-70", extrait, p. 25-30
  2. Jean-Baptiste Ladéroute, "Mémoires des troubles du Manitoba 1869-70", extrait, p. 27-29
  3. Noël-Joseph Ritchot journal intime du 12 avril 1870, extrait, p. 3-4
  4. Noël-Joseph Ritchot journal intime du 24 avril 1870, extrait, p.11
  5. Noël-Joseph Ritchot journal intime du 5 mai 1870, extrait, p.33
  6. Noël-Joseph Ritchot journal intime du 6 mai 1870, extrait, p.35-36
  7. Noël-Joseph Ritchot journal intime du 19 mai 1870, extrait, p.49

correspondence

  1. Letter of 30 December 1891 from Joachim Allard to Alexandre Antonin Taché
  2. Lettre du 4 juillet 1870 de Joseph Howe à Alexandre Antonin Taché
  3. Lettre du 18 mai 1870 de Noël-Joseph Ritchot à Georges-Étienne Cartier, ébauche
  4. Lettre du 2 mars 1870 de Thomas Bunn à Noël-Joseph Ritchot

records

  1. Déclaration de 1908 d'André Nault, Elzéar Lagimodière et Duncan McDougall concernant les événements de 1869-70, extraits, fo. 357-358 et 367
  2. Déclaration de 1908 d'André Nault, Elzéar Lagimodière et Duncan McDougall concernant les événements de 1869-70, extraits, fo. 383-384 et 389-390
Digital Resources on Manitoba History