'He was a visionary': Louis Riel Day festivities open to all tri-community residents

By Derek Cornet
November 16, 2018 - 4:55pm

Residents of the tri-communities are invited to the Kikinahk Friendship Centre this evening to celebrate Louis Riel Day.

“It’s a day to honour Louis Riel and recognize what he’s done for the Métis people,” said Jim Brady, Local 19 President Laura Burnouf. “He was a visionary and he was a leader of the Métis. He was able to see way back in the 1860s what was happening because they weren’t involved in signing treaties.”

Hung for treason on this day in Regina 133 years ago, Burnouf noted Riel is revered by the Métis for forming the roots of nationhood. At that time, she added Métis people were starving, displaced and had no where to go, and it was Riel along with Gabriel Dumont who fought for the rights Métis people currently possess. If it wasn’t for Riel, Burnouf stated, the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan also wouldn’t be as strong of an organization it is today.

In the La Ronge area, Burnouf said there are about 300 local members with more people joining every year. The Louis Riel Day festivities are open to all residents, with supper starting at 5:30 p.m., which will be followed by music and entertainment. Modeste McKenzie will be hosting a jigging competition and Maureen Belanger will perform a comedy in Cree, English and French. Burnouf stated applications for citizenship cards will also be available.

“It’s for everybody, not only for the Métis,” she said of the event. “Come and have fun. It’s to recognize the Métis people are a nation.”

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