Community council teaches the importance of Louis Riel Day

Submitted by: Richard Cuddy, President of the MNO Credit River Métis Council

Credit River - Louis Riel Day
Richard Cuddy, MNO CRMC President, (center)
stands with PDSB teachers.

On November 6, 2014, Richard Cuddy, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Credit River Métis Council (CRMC) President, was invited to the Peel District School Board (PDSB) to make a presentation detailing the significance of Louis Riel Day. President Cuddy had the opportunity to share Louis Riel's biography, history and accomplishments from a Métis perspective.

President Cuddy explained that Louis Riel was a great Métis leader executed by the Canadian government for leading the Northwest Resistance in defence of Métis rights and the Métis way of life. President Cuddy provided the teachers with a brief biography of Riel’s birth, education, leadership and eventual execution on November 16, 1885.

Every year, Louis Riel Day is held on November 16 to remember what Riel sacrificed and renew the commitment to continuing his work. The MNO celebrates Louis Riel Day to recognize the many contributions of the Métis to Canada and to highlight the struggles that the Métis continue to face.

Although some believe it is ironic that our communities gather and celebrate on the anniversary of Louis Riel`s execution, what they fail to understand is that without this most selfless and ultimate sacrifice, the Métis people would not be who they are today. The Métis will never again be ignored, forced underground or forgotten and we celebrate that across the Homeland. By affirming our inherit rights as Métis, we honour Louis Riel and his legacy.

Throughout the presentation, President Cuddy answered many questions and explained the misrepresentations and misconceptions of Riel's work. The PDSB teachers were very open and respectful and were actively involved with the presentation. The MNO CRMC would like to recognize the PDSB staff as being a very progressive and inclusive school board in Ontario. It has always been a pleasure for the MNO CRMC to engage, partner or present to the PDSB.

After the presentation, PDSB staff viewed the Métis Education Kit and a display, put together by MNO CRMC Community Outreach Coordinator, consisting of several Métis books, spoons, flags, furs, hide, beading, sashes, and tools. These materials encouraged further questions and discussions. Originally scheduled to be only two hours, the interest and enthusiasm of the PDSB teachers resulted in the presentation running 90 minutes longer.

On behalf of the MNO, the MNO CRMC and citizens, President Cuddy would like to thank the PDSB, participants and Ms. Krista Tucker Petrick, PDSB First Nation, Métis and Inuit/Equity Resource Teacher, for the opportunity to provide such critical information regarding our Métis history, culture and identity.

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