Louis Riel Day is November 16 in Canada

Practice Point

Louis Riel Day is November 16 in Canada

November 2019

I AM PROUD OF MY MÉTIS HERITAGE, and I was moved to watch the flag rise in front of the people’s house.

So said BC Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Carole James in 2017 as she joined other Métis and provincial government representatives in front of the British Columbia Parliament Buildings to mark Louis Riel Day and celebrate the contribution of Métis people to British Columbia.

Join V’ni Dansi, the Vancouver-based traditional Métis and contemporary dance company, at The Scotiabank Dance Centre in Vancouver this Saturday, November 16, 2019, for “Louis Riel Day Celebration,” an evening of Métis dance and music.

The Métis people are included in s. 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982 as among the “aboriginal peoples of Canada” (“the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada”) whose existing Aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed.

Quick Facts (from the Métis Nation BC website):

  • The Métis people emerged as a distinct nation on the plains of western North America during the late 1700s, developing a culture that is not European or First Nations, but a fusion of the two cultures.
  • The 2016 census shows that B.C. is home to nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis people, an increase of nearly 30,000 since 2006.
  • 16 is an important and symbolic date recognized by Métis people across British Columbia each year in commemoration of the death of Louis Riel on that day in 1885.

Meanwhile, a separate Louis Riel Day is an annual general holiday in Manitoba on the third Monday of February each year.

Louis Riel, exiled to the United States and hanged for high treason in Regina 134 years ago, is now honoured as the founder of Manitoba. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017 recognized Louis Riel as “a courageous and impassioned defender of minority rights and a key contributor to Canadian Confederation”.

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We acknowledge that the land on which we work is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.