Maggie Siggins, Marie-Anne: The Extraordinary Life of Louis Riel’s Grandmother

Maggie Siggins, Marie-Anne: The Extraordinary Life of Louis Riel’s Grandmother

Few names in Canadian history inspire as much mystery and controversy as Louis Riel. He was a revolutionary to some, a rebel to others; but no matter what word you use to describe him, he was a pivotal figure in the development of Canada. Award-winning author Maggie Siggins explored his life in Riel: A Life […]


Few names in Canadian history inspire as much mystery and controversy as Louis Riel. He was a revolutionary to some, a rebel to others; but no matter what word you use to describe him, he was a pivotal figure in the development of Canada. Award-winning author Maggie Siggins explored his life in Riel: A Life of Revolution and now explores his influences in Marie-Anne.

Marie-Anne Lagimodière was one of the few women to follow her husband onto the fur trapping lines. She was, in her own way, a rebel as this decision defied the norm – the wives of fur trappers stayed at home. Period. Where the book succeeds is in the description of the fur industry as a whole as well as the overall historical realities of being a wife and mother during that period; but there is a distinct lack of specifics in the discussion of Marie-Anne.

Not surprisingly, few historical records refer to Marie-Anne, as little effort was put into recording such stories at the time. Much of what Siggins has to say is supposition based on stories passed down by her descendants or generalizations based on the period. Regardless, Siggins paints an epic picture of a woman trying to raise a family constantly on the move, framed by the rapidly declining fur trade and the perils of that era.