The Boundary Métis Community Association was joined by supporters, Grand Forks Legion members, mayor Brian Taylor and Regional District director for area D Roly Russell on Friday to celebrate Louis Riel Day in Gyro Park in Grand Forks.
The day, proclaimed provincially in 2016, is meant to raise awareness and celebrate the efforts of the 19th century Métis leader. Riel was the leader of the the Métis Provisional Government in Manitoba in 1869, and took the focus of asserting Métis rights in the Red River Valley.
Riel’s first resistance against the Canadian government led to the Red River Colony entering into Confederation as the province of Manitoba in 1870 and included the rights for children to learn in French at schools in the province.
A second resistence in 1885, this time with Riel aligned with Métis people in the Saskatchewan region as well as Cree and Assiniboine people of the prairies, would lead to Riel’s eventual arrest for treason. Riel was executed on June 3, 1885.
According to the 2016 census, more than 100 people in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary identified as Métis with ancestry tracing back to the prairies.
The Boundary Métis Community Association’s next big event will take place on the Family Day weekend in February when it hosts a fishing derby and winter festival at Wilgress Lake.