Vancouver, British Columbia, November 16, 2023 — Louis Riel, the Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, was executed by the Canadian government for his role in the 1885 resistance to the seizure of Métis lands. Today marks the 138th anniversary of Louis Riel’s execution. For the past 138 years, the Canadian government has failed to issue a posthumous pardon. As a result, many Canadians continue to view Louis Riel as a traitor, and the impacts of this label are still felt by Métis people today.
“The government’s failure to exonerate Louis Riel is a clear indication of how much work needs to be done towards true reconciliation,” says Keith Henry, British Columbia Métis Federation (BCMF) President. “Louis Riel deserves not only to be exonerated, but also to be celebrated for his activism in fighting for basic human rights and his vision of a socially just, multicultural society.”
BCMF’s call for Louis Riel’s official posthumous pardon accompanies a resurgence of attention for Métis rights in British Columbia, and Canada as a whole.
BCMF is commemorating Louis Riel Day and highlighting the importance of his legacy at a Métis Cultural Event hosted at the BCMF, offices in Vancouver. The event will include Métis fiddling from Rene Therrien, a jigging demonstration, plus a presentation on the life of Louis Riel by acclaimed Métis historians, George and Terry Goulet. The presentation will also be live-streamed to the BCMF Facebook page for those who cannot attend in person.
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The BC Métis Federation (BCMF) is a non-profit association that works with Métis communities to ensure the well being of BCMF members. Through grassroots efforts, BCMF advocates on behalf of its many members, living all across the province.
Keith Henry, President, BC Métis Federation
P: (778) 388-5013