Shelby Desjarlais, president of the Waceya Metis association, was reading stories for young people at Louis Riel Day. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Video: Remembering Louis Riel

A celebration of Métis culture at historic Fort Langley

In one corner of historic Fort Langley on Saturday, visitors were taking unsteady aim with bows and arrows at targets from behind a roped-off safety zone, while in another, Joseph Smith was rolling out bannock “with a bang” for frying outdoors, and indoors, Shelby Desjarlias, president of the Waceya Métis Society was reading stories for young people.

Waceya was one of five local Métis associations in the Lower Mainland who came together to celebrate Louis Riel Day and Métis culture at the Fort at 23433 Mavis Ave.

The event also featured music, dancing , a blacksmithing demonstration, historical lecture, Métis artifacts and artisans demonstrating finger weaving and moccasin making.

“We’re just out here to inform and introduce ourselves to the community and allow people to take pride in their heritage, to take pride in their culture,” Desjarlais said.

Desjarlais said census figures suggest there are thousands of people in the Langleys who self-identify as Métis, but only a few hundred who are members of Métis associations.

He’s hoping events like Louis Riel Day will encourage such people to investigated their history.

“If you know where you came from, and you know your past, and your background, it makes it easier to relate to other people.”

Riel is remembered as a Métis leader, who led two popular Métis governments, was central in bringing Manitoba into Confederation, and was executed for high treason for his role in the 1885 rebellion against Canadian encroachment on Métis lands.

He was initially dismissed as a rebel by Canadian historians, but that view has changed and many now see him as a charismatic leader who fought to protect his people.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, “Métis are people of mixed European and Indigenous ancestry, and one of the three recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada.”

The Métis National Council (MNC) defines the Métis homeland as the three Prairie provinces and parts of Ontario, B.C., the Northwest Territories and the northern United States.

Members of the Métis Nation have a common culture, ancestral language (Michif), history and political tradition, and are connected through an extensive network of kin relations.

READ MORE: Louis Riel Day proclaimed in British Columbia

Earlier this month, Métis and provincial government representatives met at the B.C. legislature, to proclaim Louis Riel Day in B.C. and celebrate the contribution of Métis people to B.C.

Deputy Premier Carole James, who is Métis, joined the president of Métis Nation BC, Clara Morin Dal Col, and representatives from Métis communities to watch the Métis flag raised in a sunrise ceremony.

“I am proud of my Métis heritage and I was moved to watch the flag rise in front of the people’s house,” James said. “The flag-raising is a symbol of the importance of the Métis people and culture and our commitment to work together to make life better for Métis people across British Columbia.”

Riel was a political leader and champion of Métis rights and culture, and has also been described as the father of Manitoba. He was executed by the Canadian government in 1885, following the Riel rebellion on the prairies.

The 2016 census shows that B.C. is home to nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis people, an increase of nearly 30,000 since 2006.

More information can be found at the Métis B.C. Nation website at https://www.mnbc.ca.

READ MORE: B.C. announces funding for First Nations, Metis family agencies

– with files from Black Press



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Joseph Smith prepared some fried bannock at Fort Langley for Louis Riel Day. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Just Posted

Garage sale brings out some unusual characters such as Langley’s Holly Zonneveld

A gaggle of comedic individuals unite in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest production.

Sick, or not, Langley’s Tyler Tardi wouldn’t miss national competition

A Langley-based junior curling team is defending the national title, despite an ailing skip.

Four years for manslaughter in Surrey drive-by shooting

Mahdi Halane was rendered a quadriplegic until his death in hospital six years later at age 24.

Author at Surrey event glad to have book published ‘before reality totally overtakes fiction’

Ari Goelman, a business and criminology instructor, speaks at KPU Reads gathering Jan. 22

Cloverdale banker shares his love of swing dancing

Cloverdale’s Phillip Kunz shows dancing newcomers how to get into the swing of things

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Canada, U.S. lead call for sanctions against North Korea

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting in Vancouver to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announces engagement

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh engaged to clothing designer Gurkiran Kaur

Hijab-cutting case highlights ethical issues with putting kids in spotlight

A Toronto police investigation has concluded a girl’s hijab was not cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school

Change in politics, society on sexual misconduct ‘not fast enough,’ says Trudeau

Trudeau says society still lagging behind the systemic changes he is trying to make when it comes to preventing and responding to sexual harassment

Bank of Canada to make interest rate decision today

Economists widely believe that based on the economic environment, it’s likely interest rates will rise today

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Most Read