Late Métis Veteran Melvin Ronald Rivers honoured in Sudbury Ceremony

(Front row, left to right) Darrell Rivers, Grace Rivers, Larry Rivers. (Back row left to right) PCMNO Chair Hank Rowlinson, Sudbury Métis Council President Suzanne Fortin, MNO President Margaret Froh, MNO Veterans Council President Brian Prairie, Sudbury

In the early afternoon on May 26, 2023 a ceremony was held in Sudbury to remember and honour the late World War II Métis Veteran, Melvin Ronald Rivers, his contributions, his sacrifices and his legacy.

Friends, family and Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) leadership gathered to pay tribute at the Walford Retirement Home, where Melvin’s surviving spouse Grace resides. Grace received an apology from the Government of Canada as well as a recognition payment of $20,000 for the neglect Melvin experienced upon his return to civilian life.

The event was made possible by the Métis Veteran’s Legacy Program, a national initiative established in 2019, that seeks to address these historic injustices and reconcile with Métis World War II Veterans and their surviving spouses.

Returning Métis veterans often experienced discrimination and a lack of recognition for their sacrifices.

“Melvin was one of many Métis who bravely fought for his country but returned home to broken promises from Canada,” comments MNO President Froh. “Melvin, like many other veterans had been promised land and supports from the government, but sadly this agreement was not upheld.”

“The sacrifices and contributions World War II Métis Veterans made to ensure peace and prosperity for all remain largely unknown throughout Canada. We now have some ability to right that wrong,” said Métis National Council President Cassidy Caron in a video message. “We are proud to be here with you to honour, respect and recognize WW2 Veteran Melvin Ronald Rivers.”

While Melvin did not live to see Canada’s efforts to reconcile with Métis Veterans, his wife Grace and their children who attended the ceremony expressed satisfaction with the long-waited apology and recognition.

“It meant a lot to us having dad (Melvin) recognized for his contributions to the war,” said Larry Rivers. “I think it’s especially important because dad was such a community minded man who did so much for others. He was also a very private man so he never would have sought any recognition for his efforts.  He probably would have wondered what all the fuss was about and not wanted attention on himself.”

MNO leadership in attendance at ceremony included MNO President Margaret Froh, MNO Veteran’s Council President Brian Prairie, PCMNO Chair Hank Rowlinson, PCMNO Senator Steven Callaghan and Sudbury Métis Council President Suzanne Fortin, who provided Grace with a Métis Veteran’s sash.

The MNO extends its gratitude to the late Métis Veteran Melvin, Grace, and the Rivers family. His service and sacrifices will not be forgotten.


ADDITIONAL LINKS | Sudbury Métis veteran honoured for service in Second World War

CBC Up North | Métis veteran’s family accepts posthumous apology, payment

Toronto Sun | Ceremony to honour Metis veteran of World War II rights decades of wrong | Sudbury Métis Veteran being recognized for outstanding contributions during WWII