Cherish our inheritance on Louis Riel Day

“We must cherish our inheritance. We must preserve our nationality for the youth of our future. The story should be written down to pass on.” – Louis Riel

Today is Louis Riel Day,  a time to think about how this one man, a true hero, helped his  people.  My mother said she remembers a story that her grandmother would tell her of her mother feeding Riel when he was on the run.  My mother lived in Duck Lake Saskatchewan. We are Metis.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated, “Today, I join the Métis people, Manitobans, and Canadians across the country to commemorate Louis Riel: a champion of minority rights, a Founder of Manitoba, and a key contributor to Canadian Confederation.”

Wikipedia says Louis David Riel (born 22 October 1844 – died 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and leader of the Métis people of the Canadian prairies. He led two resistance movements against the Canadian government in 1869 and 1885. He spent much of his life in exile in the United States due to his rebellions, then was eventually tried for treason in Canada, and was executed.

“I will perhaps be one day acknowledged as more than a leader of the Half-breeds, and if I am I will have an opportunity of being acknowledged as a leader of good in this great country.” – Louis Riel

“Louis Riel made important sacrifices to defend the rights, the freedoms, and the culture of the Métis people. The ideals that Louis Riel fought for – ideals of inclusiveness and equality – are now the very same values on which we base our country’s identity,” continues Trudeau’s statement.  “As we work to renew a nation-to-nation relationship with the Indigenous peoples of Canada, including the Métis people, let us take a moment to reflect on the life of Louis Riel, and celebrate the many contributions of Métis communities to our great country.”

One of Riels’ my favourite of his quotes is, “My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.”  I believe this to be true as I have been watching the resurgence of indigenous arts gets stronger as the years pass.  The internet has also enriched this.  Read more of Riel’s famous quotes here.

Because of his strength and courage, we are a stronger nation today and the rights of Metis / Metisse are being acknowledged, even though we still have much further to go.  We will always remember Riel, the man who led the Red River Resistance,  a fight to maintain rights for Métis people.  #fightforyourrights

“I am glad the Crown have proved that I am the leader of the half-breeds in the Northwest. I will perhaps be one day acknowledged as more than a leader of the half-breeds, and if I am, I will have an opportunity of being acknowledged as a leader of good in this great country. ” – Louis Riel, Founder of Manitoba – Father of Confederation (1844-1885)