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November 16, 2023
Nearly 140 years after Louis Riel was executed, Metis in Canada are still fighting for our rights to be recognized.
As we reflect on our history and look to the future on Louis Riel Day, we are reminded that our journey towards reconciliation and federal recognition is far from over. The progress we have made so far is a testament to the unwavering spirit of the Metis people, but it is well past time that we solidify our gains with the passage of Bill C-53 – our Metis self-government legislation.
Louis Riel, a Metis leader and visionary, remains a symbol of resilience and determination in the face of injustice. His efforts to protect the rights and culture of the Metis were rooted in a deep love for his people. His struggle was a cry for justice. Recently, the Government of Manitoba introduced legislation to formally recognize Riel as the first premier of the province – a recognition deeply appreciated by Metis people.
For generations, our Metis ancestors fought to have our rights recognized. They petitioned the Crown, took collective action and even took up arms in some regions to defend our identity, lands, way of life, and rights. Promises made to our ancestors by the Crown were broken, a process that has repeated itself time and time again throughout our history, and our rights were ignored. Nevertheless, we persevered, building self-government structures through assemblies and democratic elections. We leaned on each other, our communities and nationhood maintained by the strength of our collective will.