B.C. raises Métis flag, honours Louis Riel Day

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Métis and provincial government representatives gathered in front of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings today to mark Louis Riel Day and celebrate the contribution of Métis people to British Columbia.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Carole James joined president of Métis Nation BC (MNBC) Clara Morin Dal Col, members of MNBC executive and representatives from Métis communities across British Columbia to witness the Métis flag being raised at the Parliament Buildings in a sunrise ceremony. Today was also proclaimed as Louis Riel Day in British Columbia.

“I am proud of my Métis heritage and I was moved to watch the flag rise in front of the people’s house,” James said. “The flag-raising is a symbol of the importance of the Métis people and culture and our commitment to work together to make life better for Métis people across British Columbia.”

“This is a great day for all Métis people in British Columbia,” Morin Dal Col said. “Our history makes us who we are and by marking Louis Riel Day here in front of the Legislature and in our Métis communities throughout the province, we bring together Métis people from all walks of life and reaffirm our aspirations, our culture and our identity.”

“The Métis people are a significant and growing population in B.C.,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. “By honouring the Métis and marking Louis Riel Day, we send a message to Métis people across British Columbia that we are listening and their voices are being heard.”

Louis David Riel (1844-85) was a political leader and a champion of Métis rights and culture. He was a leader of justice for Métis people and is recognized as a pioneer in the campaign for Métis rights in Canada. Métis people across B.C. and Canada continue Riel’s fight as a nation – to gain recognition for Métis people in B.C., to establish rights and create healthier and more sustainable Métis communities, and build stronger relations with other Indigenous peoples and government.

The Province and MNBC are working together through the Métis Nation Relationship Accord to strengthen relationships between the provincial government and Métis people. The Accord sets out objectives on health, housing, education, economic opportunities, children and families, information sharing, justice, wildlife stewardship, Métis identification and data collection. The Accord also commits B.C. and MNBC to looking for opportunities for engaging in a tripartite relationship with the federal government.

Quick Facts:

  • The Métis people emerged as a distinct nation on the plains of western North America during the late 1700s, developing a culture that is not European or First Nations, but a fusion of the two cultures.
  • The 2016 census shows that B.C. is home to nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis people, an increase of nearly 30,000 since 2006.
  • Nov. 16 is an important and symbolic date recognized by Métis people across British Columbia each year in commemoration of the death of Louis Riel on that day in 1885.

Learn More:

Métis Nation BC: www.mnbc.ca/

About Louis Riel: ow.ly/YS3Z30gA9gK

Louis Riel Day Proclamation: ow.ly/eZXv30gzUo6

Métis Nation Relationship Accord: ow.ly/1iy9306cKgX

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Photo credit: BC Gov