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Celebrating Louis Riel – UM Today

February 6, 2024
New bill recognizing Riel sets the stage for annual Louis Riel Day celebration

This year’s Louis Riel Day marks the first celebration since the introduction of a bill to recognize Riel as Manitoba’s honorary first premier. UM Today spoke with three members of the Métis community at the University of Manitoba about the significance of this recognition.

“For all of us in Manitoba and across Canada, it’s acknowledging the true history of our province and re-centring the truth of our shared stories,” says Vanessa Lillie, director of cultural integration at UM, who is Cree and Métis with roots in Peguis First Nation.

“Métis people have known for a long time that Riel was the father of our province,” says Lucy Fowler, a Two-Spirit Métis woman from Winnipeg, Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) citizen and assistant professor in UM’s Faculty of Education. “He was a passionate leader aiming for a better future for his people—[this] reinforces what we understood about him.”

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