(Prince George, BC) November 16th is a time that Métis people across this country remember the sacrifices of Louis Riel recognizing the date he was wrongfully hanged in Regina in 1885. It is customary for Mètis families to join together to share Métis culture through our fiddling and jigging and remember one of the most important iconic Mètis heroes of our times.
The BC Métis Federation brought a new level of recognition and support to restore the importance of remembering this date in our history in Canada in BC. As a first step BC Mètis Federation sent letters to all levels of government in British Columbia to request their support and recognition prior to November 16th. BC Mètis Federation was very pleased that a number of the municipal governments made the efforts to pass proclamations recognizing Louis Riel Day with a few flying the Mètis flag. This included Surrey, Williams Lake, Port Alberni, Sidney, Nanaimo, Prince George, Campbell River, Sooke, and others. These were a direct result of the efforts by BC Métis Federation leadership, members, and affiliated Métis community organizations.
A second step was to support Métis community celebrations to recognize Louis Riel Day. There were a number of Métis community events and BC Métis Federation representatives attended Louis Riel Day events in Prince George, Dawson Creek, Williams Lake, Surrey, and others.
A final step was to use social media to provide education about Louis Riel and the story behind a great Mètis hero. BC Métis
Federation ran a tribute edition of Métis Coffee Talk on Thursday, November 15th with special guest and Louis Riel historian Mr. David Doyle. Mr. Doyle provided an effective historical review of the life of Louis Riel. He provided suggested reading materials and shared his passion about ensuring the memory of Louis Riel was never lost.
BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated; “Bring Métis is not about government programs and services. Yes we need these tools but the most important work we have is to ensure our culture is not lost. We must fight to have Louis Riel’s proper place in Canadian history, that being exonerated for an unjust conviction in 1885. Only then have we done this great man justice.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded; “I thank all of the organizations, our board, and everyone else who ensured Louis Riel Day was properly recognized, respected, and honoured through the number of activities we undertook. I am proud that everyone did their best to leave politics aside for the memory and sacrifices this great man provided for us. We must all continue to rise above the political rhetoric and work for the benefit of all Mètis. That was whjat Louis Riel stood for and we must never let that value go.”
For more information about the BC Mètis Federation please review our website www.bcmetis.com.
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis