June 22nd, 2024

College hosts inaugural Metis Celebration Day

By Ry Clarke - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on November 17, 2022.

Herald Photo by Ry Clarke Staff, Elders, and Metis representatives raise the Metis flag on campus Wednesday morning at Lethbridge College

Lethbridge College hoisted the Metis Flag on campus Wednesday morning, hosting Metis celebrations for the first time in its history.

Recognizing the culture and history of the Metis people, the college held an open house with Metis artwork, crafts, music, and dancing in The Cave. Celebrating the events on the day Louis Riel was executed by the Government of Canada in 1885, the day held significance for those looking to honour his memory towards the Metis people.

“Today is technically Louis Riel Day, and that is why we do a celebration around this whole week,” said Brittany Lee, academic advisor and recruiter for Indigenous Services. “Riel was one of our heroes who helped lead us to fight for our rights back and the resistance when Canada was coming to take our land. He was one of our heroes that helped gather us together and to fight for our rights so that we could have the freedoms that we have today in celebrating our culture.”

Looking to honour Metis students in the flag raising, the college hopes the events helped empower those on campus to feel proud in their culture.

“Metis Week is very important for us to showcase our culture and our place here in Canada. The college is significant to that, involving a lot of the Metis students that are attending Lethbridge College, showing them that the college supports them and hopes to help them with their dreams and goals on their educational journey,” said Lee.

With a large Metis population here in Lethbridge, the college is proud of their Indigenous students choosing this campus for their education.

“It is very important that we are involved in Indigenous initiatives, and that all the students here feel supported by staff and faculty,” said Lee. “Last year we were looking at approximately 40 per cent of the Indigenous students on campus self identify as Metis. […] A lot of them are coming to Lethbridge College from different areas. (Metis) homeland spans a lot of the prairie provinces as well as B.C. so for them to come here and feel like it is home, is very important. Feeling connected to their culture and feeling they have a place here.”

Going forward, Lee hopes to see Metis Week as an annual event at the college, building growth as it evolves.

“I hope that this is going to be something that goes forward every year. Building on itself so we can add more activities for people to enjoy and get involved with,” said Lee. “We hope that people can go into The Cave and see our cultural pieces and educate themselves. I am glad on how it turned out and how many people came out to support the flag raising.”

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