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McMurray Métis recognizes Louis Riel Day

IMAGE. Supplied by McMurray Métis/Facebook.

On Nov. 16, the McMurray Métis celebrated ‘Louis Riel Day’ as part of Métis Week celebrations across Alberta.

The Métis Nation of Alberta Local Council 1935 produced a 30-minute movie sharing it with grades five and seven students in Fort McMurray’s Catholic and Public School Divisions.

McMurray Métis Social Media and Events Coordinator Melanie Walsh said Métis Week runs from Nov. 15-21, 2020.

She added they were unable to host their annual event this year due to public health restrictions.

“Every year on Louis Riel Day, we [would] invite a large number of students and gather at Shell Place or Nistawoyou Friendship Centre. We really do believe our future is in the youth and we’re huge advocates of education as well, so the team put [their] heads together and we decided to create a 30-minute interactive documentary for them.”

Walsh said the McMurray Métis spent two months planning the documentary, and two weeks to produce.

The documentary will air in more than 50 classrooms this week.

She said she hopes students and adults will gain more of an appreciation and understanding for the Métis people and culture.

On Nov. 15, Alberta’s Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson formally introduced Métis Week in Alberta.

Over 114,000 Métis people live in the province, the largest population in Western Canada, living in eight Métis settlements with 1.25-million acres of land.

“The proud and strong spirit of Métis people will shine brightly across Alberta during Métis Week. I encourage all Albertans to join this celebration of culture, language, history, and the contributions of the Métis people of Alberta. Every year, the memory of the great Métis leader Louis Riel, a champion of Métis rights, is commemorated on Nov. 16, the anniversary of his hanging. Today, Métis people continue to contribute to the cultural, social and economic fabric of our province.”

A link to view the Métis documentary is available on the McMurray Métis YouTube channel.