The Métis flag is flying at Grande Prairie City Hall. It was raised by Métis Local 1990 and the City of Grande Prairie Wednesday as part of Métis Week, a tradition since 2012.
Métis Week recognizes the history and culture of Métis people across not only Grande Prairie but the province. Métis Local 1990 President Shannon Dunfield says they are incredibly grateful for the support city council has shown over the years, but this year even more so.
“For the month of November as Métis citizens, we are in a historic time right now, we have the opportunity to vote yes for our constitution,” Dunfield says. “That is even more so moving us towards that nationhood that Louis Riel would have wanted for us.”
November 16th marks Louis Riel Day, a day held every year to mark the anniversary of Riel’s execution in 1885. Dunfield explains that when she thinks about the things she was taught about Riel,she thinks of how the legacy he left behind is strived for by Métis people across Canada to realize.
“It’s 137 years and we are still fighting to be recognized and still fighting to be acknowledged as indigenous people. So when I think of Louis Riel I think of how that legacy he left behind has gone through generations.”
Citizens of the Métis Nation of Alberta are voting this month on whether or not to ratify a draft constitution. If passed, it could give Métis people a bigger opportunity to negotiate and could create more opportunities at both a provincial and federal level for the Métis Nation of Alberta.
“It will create more opportunity for the Metis people across Alberta for services and programs that we have not been able to have access to,” Dunfield explains.
She adds that several events are going on this week celebrating Métis week, as well as it being Rock Your Mocks Week. There will also be a retirement party for outgoing Métis Local 1990 President Angie Crerar on Friday and round dance on Saturday at Charles Spencer High School. Métis week is marked from November 13th to 19th.