Back To Batoche Days Ceremonies Attract Hundreds
Friday, July 25, 2008 at 15:16
Hundreds of Metis citizens from across North America attended yesterday’s opening ceremonies for the yearly Back to Batoche Days festival.
Metis leaders from five provinces and several other dignitaries were on hand.
Metis Nation – Saskatchewan president Robert Doucette spoke highly of all the guests attending the event — remarking on the great unity that exists in the Metis Nation today.
He believes there is an aura about Batoche that transcends everyday life and brings people together.
He notes the Metis don’t talk about politics at the event, and he feels that’s partly why the festival is so popular in the Metis community.
Doucette presented Metis National Council president Clem Chartier with a hug and blanket on the main stage.
Chartier thanked the provincial leader, and then talked about the need to address grassroots issues like compensation for Metis war veterans.
He also took the time to thank Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River Member of Parliament Rob Clarke for his concern about the long-standing issue, and expressed hope the rookie MP would make progress on that file.
The leader of the Manitoba Metis Federation asked for a moment of silence during yesterday’s ceremonies.
David Chartrand noted the tasering death of a Metis teenager in Winnipeg has brought home the many difficulties facing his people.
He said this weekend will be a difficult one for many Metis in his home province, especially the teen’s family.
Chartrand also pointed out that despite tragedies like this, Metis people are getting more respect from governments.
He points to the creation of the Louis Riel Trail and the decision to name a Manitoba holiday after the Metis leader as just two examples.