Around 100 people gathered to mark Louis Riel Day and Métis Week in Golden’s Spirit Square on Wednesday morning (Nov. 16).
At 11 a.m., the Métis Nation Columbia River Society began the flag-raising ceremony alongside Mayor Ron Oszust and Columbia Shuswap Regional District area director Karen Cathcart, to commemorate Louis Riel, a champion of his people and founder of Manitoba and a contributor to the Canadian Confederation.
Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Doug Clovechok could not be in attendance but had the following message:
Louis Riel fought for the values of inclusiveness and equality and today we continue to work towards a renewed relationship between Canada, B.C. and the Métis Nation. A relationship based upon the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership.
Today’s celebrations are truly about Métis youth. As Louis Riel said himself; “We must cherish our inheritance. We must preserve our nationality for the youth of our future.”
We have come a long way but there is still a long way to go. As your MLA, I am committed to do all that I can to build a future full of opportunity, tolerance, equality and prosperity for everyone in B.C. A B.C. where each one of us finds a full sense of belonging, acceptance and a full sense of citizenship.
I want to recognize everyone who works so hard to support the Métis community throughout our riding. Your efforts are notable and are making a difference. And I would like to encourage each of you to take time to learn more about the Métis culture as we travel the reconciliation path together.
Louis Riel Day is held every year on Nov. 16 across the Métis homeland, the day marks the anniversary of Riel’s execution in 1885. That year, Riel led Métis people in the Northwest Resistance, which stood against the Government of Canada as Métis saw the government encroaching on their rights and way of life. The Métis were defeated at the siege of Batoche and the Canadian government captured Riel. He was convicted of treason and executed. This led to Métis people across Canada being labelled as traitors.