By Herald on November 18, 2020.
Local Métis people marked the 135th anniversary of the death of Louis Riel with a special flag raising ceremony at city hall on Tuesday.
But while the event paid tribute to the past, and in particular Métis Nation founder Riel, for local participants the flag raising was also about the present.
“Our community of Métis in and around Lethbridge encompasses several thousand people,” said Lethbridge and Area Métis Nation president Adam Browning. “We are a third of the Indigenous people in Lethbridge. For us, the significance of this day, and being able to have this recognized at city hall, is a major step in reconciliation.”
Browning said it is gratifying to know that the Métis Nation has been recognized federally as a distinct nation, provincially, and also right here in their own hometown.
“We are all Canadians,” he said, “but we are distinct Canadians. And to have that represented publicly and officially is a step for us, and it is really significant for Métis peoples.”
Browning said his people can look back with pride on their culture’s survival through a difficult period in history during the late 19th and early 20th centuries toward its renaissance and reflowering in recent generations
“Oftentimes you hear about Métis conflated with terms like ‘mixed blood,’ or maybe you have one parent who is Indigenous,” he explained. “The entirety of my ancestry was Indigenous for millennia, and it is something that, for us, being a ‘people who own themselves,’ we have a unique identity, we have a unique history, we have a unique ancestry, we have a unique geography, and we have a unique language. And so there is so much in there about what it means to be Métis.
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