Métis communities commemorated Louis Riel day across the Boundary Monday, Nov. 16.
The annual service marks Riel’s execution in Regina in 1885. Hung by the Government of Canada after leading armed rebellions in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Riel is now remembered as “the father of Manitoba” and a founder of Confederation.
Members of the Boundary Métis Community Association (BMCA) met at Grand Forks’ Gyro Park, where elders raised the métis flag to the sound of traditional music.
BCMA President Doug Arnott spoke to a crowd of around 20 people at Gyro Park. They’d come to honour Riel’s sacrifice not only for his Métis people, but for religious freedom and francophone rights across Canada, he said.
Arnott and community elder Don Robillard hoisted the métis flag after a traditional smudging led by Shannon Hurley.
Monday’s service would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago when Riel was popularly demonized as a deranged criminal, Robillard acknowledged.
“I believe we are moving forward,” he told The Gazette. “We are getting stronger with each member we get. And, I’m very, very proud to be Métis.”