In my opinion Louis Riel was a hero because he fought for the rights of everyone who lived in the northwest, he was rebelling against a government, not a country and he was against acts of violence and loss of life. Furthermore Louis's acts might be considered crazy by today's standards but in the 1890's it was not uncommon or insane. Louis lived in the Red River settlement and wanted to protect their rights but he also fought for the rights of the white settlers in the area and for the natives. Louis was a patriot, he was proud to be Canadian, he just didn't agree with the government at the time.
Louis Riel was a freedom fighter, not a rebel against his country. He was rebelling against the men in government who suppressed his people. "The entire process which saw the spread of the Canadian Governments imperialistic authority over the west, ignored the people who were there long before England decided to give it to a new country.
Riel was a freedom fighter for the west and should be recognized as such. He faced and fought a central Canadian government, ignorant of the west, long before Preston Manning was born." (Richard Brown, Alberta, July 7th, 1999 http://www.metisresourcecentre.mb.ca/quotes/). If Louis hadn't stood up for the Meti people, the government would have let them starve and their culture would be lost. Likewise if any minority was treated like that now, they could only be so fortunate to have someone like Louis Riel to stand up for them.
Louis was against violence unless it was absolutely necessary. He only wanted to ensure that the people of the Northwest would retain their rights and traditions after the Canadian government took control of the area. When he and his Mati people used violence it...