This year’s Louis Riel Day is taking place Nov. 16 at the Clearwater Lodge. Pictured, Kash Hjelmeland dances a jig with Dave Sager (l) and Joe Short at a previous Louis Riel event at the Clearwater Elks Hall. File photo

Louis Riel Day aims to share cultural information

Métis Land and Life Project and Michif language revitalization among topics for discussion

The B.C. Métis Federation (BCMF) is hosting Louis Riel Day on Nov. 16 at the Clearwater Lodge where attendees will take in traditional Métis entertainment and share information on the Métis Land and Life Project, Michif language revitalization and the Community Preparedness Project.

“We always have just a small gathering to honour and celebrate the day, but this year we’re going to combine it with a luncheon and some of the board of directors from the B.C. Métis Federation are coming up,” said Cindy Wilgosh, BCMF community liaison for the North Thompson Valley.

“We’re going to do the land-based terrestrial study, the Michif Language Project and we’re going to combine it; Rene Therein is coming down and he’s going to be doing some fiddle music and we’re going to show videos, eat, and share information.”

Metis flag raised at B.C. legislature

According to information provided by Wilgosh, the Métis Land and Life Project is a 10-month community-led land-use study that’ll begin to uncover the long-standing relationships Métis peoples have had with each other and with the land, especially as they relate to the TransMountain Pipeline Extension corridor.

Facilitated by the BCMF’s Métis Land and Life team, which is led by Joe Desjarlais, the study will explain how to recognize existing connections to the land through harvesting activities like hunting, fishing, and gathering, and through historical experience and spiritual exercises.

In short, the Métis Land and Life Project’s goal is to better understand how member communities understand and represent the practice of being Métis.

“There is Métis history and memory, as well as contemporary use, by our Métis people along the project corridor and we need to account for it,” Desjarlais said.

“Métis want to be recognized and respected by Canadian society, they want proper relationships with all levels of government, and, perhaps most importantly, they want to express who they are and their connections to land and place.”

As for the event itself, Louis Riel Day is held to commemorate Riel’s life and to celebrate the Métis people’s culture, language, and heritage.

Riel is recognized as an advocate of justice for the Métis people, and helped lay the framework for minority rights and cultural co-operation, and is also regarded by some as a founder of Manitoba.

He was executed for treason on Nov. 16, 1885.

Those interested in attending can RSVP Wilgosh by Nov. 15 at 250-674-8380 or cindy.wilgosh@gmail.com



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