A Métis flag is being flown in Fort McMurray for the first time.
Members of the McMurray Métis, McKay Métis, Conklin Resource Development Committee, and the RMWB watched as the flag was raised on a municipal pole along Franklin Avenue, next to the courthouse, on Thursday.
President of the McKay Métis Ron Quintal tells Mix News this is a historic moment for the region.
“We’re in a different age, as an Aboriginal, Métis man in today’s day in age – you can feel it, the changes in the air and we’re in the age of reconciliation and that’s what I look at this as, this is a great step in the right direction towards reconciliation in our region.”
Councillor Mike Allen echoed Quintal’s message.
“It’s a historic event for sure and what it means to (Ron) I think it means to all of us, this is showing the relationship between our Métis people and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is getting stronger every day.”
— MIX 103.7 News (@Mix1037FMNews) November 16, 2017
This is the second Métis flag that’s been flown in the RMWB, with the first at the Anzac Recreation Centre.
Meanwhile, Métis people across Canada are also taking the day to remember the life of Louis Riel.
The flag raising coincided with the 132nd anniversary of Louis Riel’s death – executed for “defending the Métis way of life.”
“Louis Riel was more than just a Métis leader, he was somebody who organized our people, he wasn’t somebody that went into battle, he thought his battles reading and writing and organizing the Métis people,” added Quintal. “He is a father of confederation.”
“It took a few years before they recognized that he is a father of confederation and a part of this great country,” said Bill Loutitt, CEO of the McMurray Métis.
The Nistawoyou Friendship Centre also held a gathering where people from different Métis communities, the municipality, and the public commemorated Riel’s life.
Speeches were followed by a moment of silence and a wreath ceremony.
“Our message today is of education and sharing his legacy with the next generation,” said Gail Gallupe, President of the McMurray Métis, in a release.