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In many ways November 16th is the saddest day of the year for the M¨¦tis Nation. It is the day on which, in 1885, Louis Riel was hanged for treason. But by marking this day every year and remembering Riel and his fight, M¨¦tis people have, perhaps, turned a tragic injustice into inspiration and hope.
Riel Day in Toronto, 2006
Riel Day in Fort Frances, 2007This year¡¯s Louis Riel Day is especially poignant because it is being held during the Year of the M¨¦tis Nation, which is recognized by both the Canadian and Ontario governments and commemorates the 125th anniversary of the Northwest Resistance.
For the past 18 years the citizens of the M¨¦tis Nation of Ontario have organized events to commemorate the day Louis Riel was executed in Regina for leading the M¨¦tis during the Northwest Resistance. Each year one of these gatherings is organised on the lawn of the Provincial Legislature at Queen¡¯s Park in Toronto. There is an irony that the gathering takes place at a monument to the soldiers from Ontario who went west in 1885 to fight against Riel and the M¨¦tis, in what was then called ¡°the Northwest Rebellion¡±.
Although Riel Day is a commemoration and always includes solemn moments, it is also a celebration of Riel¡¯s life and his efforts for M¨¦tis rights. Therefore, Riel Day also recognizes the growing acknowledgement of M¨¦tis contributions to Canada and the increasing strength of the M¨¦tis Nation. Riel was once vilified in Ontario for his leadership of the M¨¦tis but on Riel Day in communities across Ontario, non-M¨¦tis people join with the M¨¦tis Nation to recognize Riel and celebrate our history and culture.
M¨¦tis Progress Report [PDF, 2.5Mb]
Rapport d¡¯¨¦tape sur la nation m¨¦tisse [PDF, 2.5Mb]