Métis and provincial government representatives met at the B.C. legislature early Thursday morning, to mark Louis Riel Day and celebrate the contribution of Métis people to B.C.
Deputy Premier Carole James joined president of Métis Nation BC Clara Morin Dal Col, and representatives from Métis communities to watch the Métis flag raised in a sunrise ceremony. Today was also proclaimed as Louis Riel Day in British Columbia.
Métis emerged as a distinct nation on the prairies in the late 1700s, a fusion of First Nations and European cultures, said a B.C. government news release.
“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.