(Vancouver, BC) The BC Métis Federation was saddened this past weekend to learn of the passing of Jim Sinclair. Jim Sinclair spent his adult life championing Métis and Aboriginal rights. In 1967 he was elected to the board with the Métis and Non-Status Indians of Saskatchewan, neither of which had any constitutional rights in Canada. Jim would be President of AMNSIS for 18 years working to develop programs at the community level and lobbying for Indigenous Rights internationally.
As president of AMNSIS, Jim Sinclair and Harry Daniels (Harry the Hat) established the Native Council of Canada and successfully lobbied to have the Métis included in the Constitution Act in 1882. Jim continually pushed for Canada to honour the Metis and restore their hereditary rights as established by Louis Riel in the Manitoba Act of 1870 and the Canadian Constitution of 1982.
In 1985, on the centennial of the Northwest Resistance, Jim Sinclair was instrumental in ensuring “Back to Batoche” was held on the Métis homelands at Batoche in honour of the brave warriors who stood with Louis Riel opposed to Canadian colonialism at the Battle of Batoche. The event at Batoche was a time of a new re-awakening all across Canada. The Métis all across Canada took huge steps to re-organize as a nation.
On November 16, 1985, Jim Sinclair led a solemn march commemorating the “legal execution” of Louis Riel. The procession marched down Dewdney Avenue in Regina to the site of the old North-West Mounted Police Compound on the edge of the city where Louis Riel was executed on November 16, 1885. Holding a copy of the ‘lost’ Bill of Rights of the Saskatchewan, 1885, Jim Sinclair paid tribute to the great Western Canadian leader, Louis Riel who so courageously gave up his life so that the Metis would have a voice in history and not be wiped from the map of Canadian history. Jim Sinclair stood at the very site of Louis Riel’s execution and called for justice for Louis Riel. He called for a Commission of Enquiry into the Career of Louis Riel, as Riel had requested upon being found guilty of High Treason.
Later in life Jim told the Regina Leader Post, “I always tell people at the community level you have leaders who fought for your rights for many, many years who never made it to be heard, their voices were never heard.” Before his passing Jim Sinclair was honored at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nation assembly.
BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated; “Long live the fighting spirit of Jim Sinclair and during my lifetime I had the honour of meeting this great man. He made so many contributions for our Métis Nation and yet I find so many people today have no idea the commitment and sacrifices these great men had. Thank you for all you did Jim, you will be missed.”
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
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