Four Saskatchewan Polytechnic campuses recognized Louis Riel Memorial Day by raising the Métis flag on Friday.
Flag raising ceremonies were held in Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina and Moose Jaw.
“The Métis flag predates Canada’s maple leaf by 150 years,” Jennifer Brockman, the coordinator of the Indigenous Student Centre at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Prince Albert said.” It’s the oldest Canadian patriotic flag that’s Indigenous to Canada. The blue and the white flag symbolizes the colours of the Métis. Some people might think it’s just a flag raising. It really isn’t. People connect that to their own stories. What I hope people take away is sharing of their stories, of their growing up, even if they’re not Métis. Now I think people are beginning to embrace who they are and being proud of having mixed ancestry. We’ve got more students who are comfortable to self-declare that their Métis.”
Louis Riel was hanged on November 16th, 1885 for his role in the Métis uprising.
“We’re commemorating the death of Louis Riel, but also all that work that he had done and Métis people have done,” Brockman added. “He was hanged for treason. That was the law at the time. I think that perception has changed. People are looking at him as a hero for the things that he fought for.
Approximately 19 per cent of students enrolled at Saskatchewan Polytechnic are Indigenous.
(PHOTO: Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Métis flag raising ceremony in Prince Albert on Friday. Photo by Brendan Mayer.)