The year 1885 was very difficult for Ontario Métis. During that year the Northwest Resistance took place where Métis took a stand and fought for Métis rights and the Métis way-of-life. The Canadian government suppressed the resistance and executed Métis leader Louis Riel for treason. Ontario Métis were also labeled as traitors and for generations the Métis in Ontario had to hide their culture and heritage. Despite this oppression the Métis in Ontario preserved our way-of-life and passed it on to current generations. Today the strength of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is a testament to the courage of our ancestors.
Louis Riel Day is held every year across the homeland on November 16, the anniversary of Riel’s execution in 1885. While Louis Riel Day marks one of the great tragedies of Canadian history its recognition demonstrates our continuing resilience and determination to regain our rights and preserve our way-of-life in Ontario and across the Homeland.
To commemorate Louis Riel Day, MNO citizens and communities held events across the province to recognize the many contributions of the Métis to Canada, to celebrate Métis culture and to highlight the struggles that Métis continue to face.
Members of the Barrie Police Service take part in a flag raising ceremony at City Hall in Barrie in commemoration of Louis Riel Day.
Couples dance to fiddle music at the 2014 Louis Riel Day celebration in Brampton.
Participants at the Louis Riel Day flag raising ceremony at the Guelph City Hall.
Participants enjoy the variety of entertainment at the Halfbreed Hustle event in Ottawa in honour of Louis Riel Day.
Carleton University, Ottawa
Jordyn Playne, Carleton University MNO Infinite Reach Facilitator, celebrates the life of Louis Riel by hosting a ‘rock the mocs’ day and showing attendees how to finger weave at Carleton’s Ojigkwanong Aboriginal Student Centre.
University of Ottawa, Ottawa
Warren Cardinal-McTeague, University of Ottawa (U of O) MNO Infinite Reach Facilitator, commemorates Louis Riel Day with the Aboriginal Medical School Program. Opening prayer was offered by Senator Lois McCallum and a jigging demonstration was provided by former U of O facilitator Brad Lafortune. Warren also hosted a button beading session at the Aboriginal Resource Centre.
Students at École publique Saint-Joseph in Penetanguishene take part in a Louis Riel Day presentation.
Daryl Bennett, Mayor of Peterborough, and participants gather for a picture during the Louis Riel Day flag raising ceremony in Peterborough.
Cambrian College, Sudbury
Participants enjoy keyboard and fiddle music at Cambrian College in Sudbury in commemoration of Louis Riel Day.
Collège Boréal, Sudbury
Participants gathered at Collège Boréal in Sudbury for Louis Riel Day festivities.
In commemoration of Louis Riel Day, the Métis flag was proudly flown at École secondaire l’Essor in Tecumseh for an entire week thanks to a student at the school, Matthew Bombardier.
Members of Timmins’ Métis community gathered at the Hollinger Park cenotaph to pay tribute to Louis Riel on Sunday, November 16, 2014 which marked the 129th anniversary of his execution. (Photo by Timmins Press.)
Speakers and dignitaries at Queen’s Park Louis Riel Day Ceremony. (L-R) Alex Young, Métis youth representative, Senator Rene Gravelle, Lisa Gretzky, NDP MMP, MNO Secretary-Treasurer Tim Pile, Jean Teillet, great niece of Louis Riel, PC MPP Norm Miller, Honourable David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Reta Gordon, MNO President Gary Lipinski, Senator Verna Brunelle-Porter, MNO Chair France Picotte and MNO Vice-Chair Sharon McBride
Lakehead University, Thunder Bay
Lakehead University MNO Infinite Reach Facilitator, Lucy Fowler, hosted festivities including dot art and finger weaving in honour of Louis Riel day. Speakers included Josh Szajewski (Métis law student and MNO Canoe Expedition 2014 participant), Bryanna Scott (Métis Ph.D student), Dr. Karen Drake (Métis professor) and Shirley Dolorme-Russell from the Louis Riel Institute.
The Métis flag was proudly flown outside City Hall in London in recognition of Louis Riel Day.
Representatives from the city and the MNO Niagara Region Métis Council joined hands for a prayer during a flag raising ceremony recognizing Louis Riel Day in Welland.