Metis culture recognized

From left, Landeyn Aymont, Leah Laplante, Will Goodon, Jenna Delorme, John Dietrich and Mayor Irvine Ferris gathered Feb. 16 for an historic raising of the Metis flag at city hall for the first time. Submitted photo

On December 10, 1869, Louis Riel’s Provisional Government’s flag flew at Fort Garry, a challenge to an infant Canadian nation. Fast forward to Feb. 16, 2018, the raising of the Metis flag at Portage la Prairie City Hall was a blessing of cultures growing closer together.

The Métis blue infinity flag was raised at city hall for the first time ever during a quiet and joyful ceremony last Friday and remained flying until following Louis Riel Day.

Larry McLennan, chair of the local chapter of the Manitoba Métis Federation, described the symbolism of seeing the Metis flag flying in front of city hall as “the moment is difficult to put into words and overwhelming.” He added the Metis are being acknowledged as a community and are no longer “a forgotten people.”

“It was not just for Louis Riel Day,” said Portage la Prairie Mayor Irvine Ferris. “It was also recognition of contributions Metis have made to certainly our community, and indeed the province.” The mayor explained there is hardly an aspect of Manitoba life the Metis have not contributed to. “Metis have made significant contributions to politics, religion, arts, culture, music, business and to the founding of Portage and the development of Portage.”

A delegate from each section of Metis government attended the flag raising including Manitoba Métis Federation Vice-chair Landeyn Aymont. “This was the first time in the history of Portage la Prairie the Metis flag was raised at city hall. It’s very significant. The Metis people have a deep history in Portage right from our founding fathers. Our first settlement was a Metis settlement.

“William Garrioch Jr. was the elected official that sat on Louis Riel’s provisional government and our representative here when we transformed into Manitoba,” Aymont explained. “From that time to now, there has always been a Metis involvement. We’ve always played a part in the community.

The Metis Nation’s flag has a blue background with a white infinity symbol that has two meanings: The joining of two cultures and the existence of a people forever

The blue infinity flag is a Metis national flag and represented the political and military force of the Metis as early as 1816.

The Metis community celebrated its culture Monday with its 6th Annual Louis Riel Day celebration which each year grows bigger and better.

 

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