The Metis community celebrated the life of Louis Riel with a flag raising at city hall on Monday morning.
Louis Riel was a Canadian politician who helped found the province of Manitoba, he led two rebellions against the government of Canada and was also elected three times to the House of Commons of Canada but never assumed office because he was a fugitive.
“It is a great day at city hall to raise the Metis flag, recognizing Louis Riel Day,” said Kevin Muloin, president of the Thunder Bay Metis Council.
Muloin added that “Riel was a famous Metis leader who was hung by the Canadian government in 1885. He is now recognized as not a traitor, but as a builder of Canada.”
The flag features the infinity symbol which means the Metis people of Canada will live on forever while in exile. Riel famously stated that Metis people would go into hiding and, 100 years later, his people would rise again.
“He was incredibly accurate in that prediction where the Metis started to feel safe to come out and take pride in their culture,” said Muloin.
The brief ceremony at city hall was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a normal year, the Metis group would have invited people to their hall, which is located across May Street from city hall.
More than 1,000 people identify as Metis in the Thunder Bay region, but Muloin said that number is likely significantly higher if everyone of Metis decent actually registered.