Inspired by Louis Riel’s legacy of fighting for Métis rights and recognition, progress on that continued fight and the recent progress towards self-government by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was shared at ceremonies in Toronto this Louis Riel Day.
On Nov. 16, 133 years after Louis Riel was hanged, MNO leadership, representatives from the government of the MNO (PCMNO), citizens and members of the public gathered for two flag raisings in Ontario’s capital. The flag was raised first at Toronto City Hall and later in front of Queen’s Park.
“While it’s a very sad day, it’s also a very hopeful day,” stated MNO President Margaret Froh in her remarks inside Toronto City Hall. “We are growing stronger and stronger and stronger.”
Guests at the Queen’s Park event included Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario Minister of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Rick Nicholls, MPP Sol Mamakwa, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines MPP Greg Rickford, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Dr. Carolyn Bennett and MPP Kathleen Wynne.
Click here to watch the Louis Riel Day provincial ceremony.
During the ceremony, remarks were given by MNO Women’s Council Representative Pearl Gabona, President Froh, MNO Toronto and York Region Métis Council President Tera Bealieu and MNO Youth Council Chair Paul Robitaille spoke about Riel and his legacy.
“As a Métis youth, I will continue Riel’s fight to preserve our nationality. I will continue the fight to preserve our identity: not mere mixed-bloods and half-breeds, but a distinct nation with a strong political consciousness,” he said.
“I will continue the fight for self-determination, so that rights-bearing Métis citizens, alone, can decide the future of the Métis Nation. And I will continue the fight for our Métis youth, so that we can all cherish our collective inheritance and preserve our Métis nationality - just as Riel asked of us.”
Following the Queen’s Park ceremony, a reception was held at the Ontario Law Society, which featured a discussion about Métis Identity, Métis rights and Section 35 with panelists MNO citizen and Métis lawyer Jason Madden, great-grandniece of Louis Riel and lawyer Jean Teillet and Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s University Darryl Leroux, whose recent work focuses on self-indigeneity and eastern Métis.
Métis culture was also featured prominently at each of the events, with music provided by MNO citizens Alicia and Liam Blore and jigging demonstrations by Auriele Diotte, Megan Southwell and Kyle Burton.
For more photos of the day’s events, visit the MNO Facebook page.