“We must cherish our inheritance. We must preserve our nationality for the youth of our future. The story should be written down to pass on.”
Those were the words spoken by Louis Riel, the founder of the province of Manitoba and political leader of the Métis people.
On Wednesday, the North Island Métis Association honoured Riel with a flag raising in Spirit Square. The flag was hoisted exactly 131 years ago to the day that Riel was hanged for treason.
The Métis flag is the oldest flag flown in the country and was first raised on June 19, 1816 by Cuthbert Grant after the Battle of Seven Oaks, also known as the Pemmican War; June 19, 2016 marked its 200th anniversary.
The Pemmican War was a series of armed confrontations following the establishment of the Red River Colony in 1812 by Lord Selkirk during the North American fur trade between the North West Company (NWC) and the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), ending in 1821 when the two companies merged.
November is a significant month for Métis people living in the region. The North Island Métis Association is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is marking the milestone with an interactive event at the Museum at Campbell River, which is open to the public on Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.
The interactive event will feature story telling, jigging, fiddling, teepees set-up with artifacts, a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post corner and a collaborative beading project.
Métis Nation BC is also part of the celebration as it is also celebrating 20 years.
The North Island Métis Association is a non-profit organization founded in November, 1996. The Association represents the interests of Métis people residing on the North Island, from Campbell River to Port Hardy. North Island Métis Association is an affiliate of the Métis Nation of British Columbia. Currently run by a volunteer board of directors, the association’s office is open by appointment only.
For more information on the North Island Métis Association, visit www.nimetis.com