Niagara Centre MP joins Métis flag-raising in Welland for Louis Riel Day

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Published November 16, 2021 at 1:21 pm

Welland Mayor Frank Campion, far left, and Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, centre, joined local Métis leader raising their flag on Louis Riel Day at Welland Civic Square.

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey had a vested interest in raising the Métis flag at Welland Civic Centre this morning (November 16) to honour Louis Riel Day.

“As a Canadian of Métis heritage, I am proud of my culture and was honoured to take part,” said Badawey afterwards.

Joining Badawey were local Métis Leaders, as well as Welland Mayor Frank Campion.

Badawey called Louis Riel Day “an occasion to commemorate the legacy of Métis Leader Louis Riel and recognize his contributions to Canada as a defender of Métis rights, as well as his help in building a more inclusive and diverse Canada.”

Louis Riel Day, held every year on November 16 across the Métis homelands, is the anniversary of Riel’s execution in 1885.

During that year, Riel led Métis people in the Northwest Resistance, which was a stand against the Government of Canada because it was encroaching on Metis rights and our way-of-life.

Ultimately, the Métis were defeated at the siege of Batoche, the Canadian government captured Riel and he was eventually put on trial where he was convicted of treason and executed.

As a result, Métis people across Canada were labeled as traitors and for generations many felt the need to hide their Métis culture and heritage. Despite this oppression, many Métis people found a way to preserve their way-of-life and passed it on to current generations.

Riel’s unjust execution is well-known but it is important to also recognize the political gains he made through the establishment of a Provisional Government in Manitoba. Riel’s success in negotiating Manitoba into Confederation and the protection of minority language rights, laid the groundwork for his vision of a Canada that included the Métis Nation and protected Métis rights.

Although Louis Riel Day commemorates one of the great tragedies of Canadian history, it is also considered a day to celebrate Métis culture and the continuing progress that Métis people are making in fulfilling Riel’s dream of Métis taking their rightful place within Confederation.

(Below, Badawey talks to a local Métis leader today after the flag-raising. Photo from Facebook)

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