(Vancouver, BC) The BC Métis Federation reminds British Columbians that November 16th marks a historic day for the Métis people throughout Canada. Louis Riel Day has been identified as an annual general holiday in Manitoba on the third Monday of each February. This holiday commemorates the life of Louis Riel and his contributions to Canada. Louis Riel Day is observed on November 16th because this is the anniversary of Louis Riel’s wrongful execution in 1885.
Louis Riel is recognized as an advocate of justice for the Métis people, but he represents much more. He helped lay the framework for minority rights and cultural co-operation, and is regarded as a founder of Manitoba. It is very important to remember Louis Riel’s contribution to Canada and specifically to recall that he was wrongly executed for being a persistent advocate for the rights of his people.
Today Manitoba’s government introduced a holiday in February in 2007. This was because there was a long period between New Year’s Day and Good Friday when there were no holidays. A competition was held among school children to name the day. The winning name was ‘Louis Riel Day’ to commemorate this historic Manitoba politician. The date does not have any special connection to a particular event in Louis Riel’s life. The first Louis Riel Day in Manitoba was in 2008.
BCMF President Keith Henry stated; “It is time for our Métis people in BC to reflect on our own journey and reconnection to being Métis in BC. I recall stories from my great grandparent about our family and their involvement during the events that unfolded in 1885 in Batoche. Today I think of the unrest in our Nation in BC and wonder what our historic fathers of Métis self government would think? Would they allow our own people to be used as politician pawns? Would they not stand up to fight against the financial issues and injustices? There is no doubt in my mind that our historic leaders would fight all injustices and ensure none of our people would be left behind. In fact if people understand Louis Riel and many of our historic leaders they sacrificed their lives for their people without pay and greed being the reason for the involvement. ”
BCMF President Henry added; “I only hope Métis people in BC take time on this important historic date to reflect and the decisions they have made and consider what is best for our people. It is time to regain our cultural and historic connections and regain pride as a self governing Nation. We do not need to be victims of self indulgent leadership and together we can ensure our culture lives through our families in celebrations.”
BCMF President Keith Henry further added; “I strongly encourage Métis people and friends of the Métis to join our cultural celebration Saturday, November 19th in Surrey. Lets reconnect our families and showcase the truth strength of our culture today.”
BCMF President Henry concluded; “ I also call on the government of BC to enact a commemorative day to recognize Louis Riel Day, much like the Province of Manitoba has done. It is time.”
BC Métis Federation
#300-3665 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
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