The Métis Nation of Ontario Celebrates Louis Riel Day

TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2011 /CNW/ - Louis Riel was the great Métis leader executed by the Canadian government on November 16, 1885, for leading the Northwest Resistance in defense of the Metis.  Every year on November 16, Louis Riel Day is held to remember Riel's sacrifice, and renew our commitment to completing the work he started. The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) celebrates Louis Riel Day to recognize the many contributions of the Métis to Canada and highlight the continuing struggles that Métis continue to face.  "In 1885, Riel offered Canada an opportunity to bargain in good faith that was harshly rejected," stated MNO President Gary Lipinski, "and today the MNO continues to make that offer. While we have seen some progress in the last several years there is still much to be done before Riel's vision becomes a reality."

Métis communities across Ontario held Louis Riel Day events and a provincial ceremony took place in Toronto at the Northwest Rebellion monument on the grounds of the provincial Legislature. The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, speaking at the Toronto ceremony commented "Louis Riel Day is an opportunity for Ontarians to recognize the contributions of the Métis people and celebrate their distinct culture and language. It is important that we all become aware of the significant role of the Métis in Ontario's rich heritage."

President Lipinski was also joined by Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) including the Honourable John Gerretsen, Attorney General, the Honourable Chris Bentley, Minister of Energy, the Honourable Glen Murray, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, the Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Children and Youth Services, New Democratic Party Aboriginal Affairs Critic Sarah Campbell, MPP Michael Prue, MPP Dave Levak, MPP Grant Crack, MPP Victor Fedeli, MPP David Zimmer, MPP Soo Wong and MPP Frank Klees.  The presence of these Ministers and MPPs at the Toronto Louis Riel Day event demonstrates the positive relationship the MNO has built with Ontario through the MNO-Ontario Framework agreement, which was signed three years ago. "The government's willingness to sign the Framework agreement with us," stated President Lipinski, "signaled there was a new way of doing business with the Métis and that the process of reconciliation had started."

Other speakers at the event included MNO Chair France Picotte, Jean Teillet, a Métis lawyer and descendent of Louis Riel and Colin Sawchuck, who represented Métis youth. "On Louis Riel Day," explained MNO Chair France Picotte, "we are filled with pride in our Métis heritage and culture, celebrate our many contributions to Canada and Ontario and look forward to a great future as a Nation."

More information on Louis Riel Day is available on the MNO website at: www.metisnation.org

SOURCE METIS NATION OF ONTARIO

For further information:

or interviews contact:
Mike Fedyk
MNO Director of Communications
Ph: 613-314-9402 (cell)

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