City raises flag in honour of Louis Riel

Earlier this month, Mayor Garry Litke signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 16 Louis Riel day.

On Nov. 16, 1885, Louis Riel was hung for treason. But the echoes of the Métis leader and the Northwest rebellion he led still linger 128 years later, though now he is regarded as one of Canada’s great heroes.

Earlier this month, Mayor Garry Litke signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 16 Louis Riel day and tomorrow, the Métis flag will be flying above city hall. Marlene Cox-Bishop, president of the South Okanagan Similkameen Métis Association, said it is the first time it has happened, at least in her three years as president.

The significance of honouring Riel, Cox-Bishop explains, is that he founded the Métis nation in Canada and as a result of his work, Manitoba was brought into being. She describes the flag as having a large infinity symbol at it’s centre representing the ongoing life of the Métis nation and the Métis people.

“There is no end to it,” she said, explaining that the Métis are one of the first peoples of Canada, coming into being after fur traders came in contact with First Nations.

“It is the children of that union that founded, with the founding of Canada, the Métis Nation,” she said. “There are a lot of Métis families in the South Okanagan Similkameen.”

“We walk in two worlds. In the world of the First Nations, we have some traditions there and we have some traditions that are European; not just European, but English, Irish, Scottish and French.”

Local recognition of Louis Riel day is an important step forward, according to Cox-Bishop, especially in light of recent court decisions favouring the Métis, including the expansion of the courts’ definition of aboriginal to include Métis.

“The Métis historically never had a land base. We were entrepreneurs and business people, so we always ended up on somebody’s territory. It’s easy to overlook us as a group of people,” said Cox-Bishop. “There is a huge other population of non-status First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who are often not recognized.

“It is one more step in gaining that recognition.”

Just Posted

Bronze division championship for Okanagan basketball club

The Penticton Lake City U16 boys won the bronze division championship at the BC Spring Showcase

Eastside Road re-opened following repairs

Section of Eastside Road closed by the Ministry of Transportation is open after repairs.

Update: Administrative error results in do-over for South Okanagan dangerous offender’s trial

Ronald Arthur Teneycke will return to Penticton court on June 5 to start the process over

Riders cash in at Okanagan rodeo

Over $12,000 given out to competitors at the 81st annual Keremeos Elks Rodeo

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: rain, clouds, thunderstorms and flash floods

Environment Canada forecasts dreadful weather for Thursday

Nominate your favourite businesses for the Best of the South Okanagan

Join the Penticton Western News as they celebrate the Best of the South Okanagan awards

Okangan MP welcomes plan to fight human trafficking

Mel Arnold applauds Conservative plan for A Safer Canada

UPDATE: Residents asked to manage attractants after bear sighting at Salmon Arm school

Conservation Officer says people need to change behaviours to avoid destruction of bears

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

VIDEO: Suspected arson sends five to Abbotsford hospital with smoke inhalation

Man seen throwing flammable substance in van, lighting it on fire next to home

Okanagan elementary schools help Chinook salmon

Kingfisher is hosting a series of field trips to release the school-raised salmon

Summerlanders urged to travel by bike

Bike to Work Week and Bike to School Week run May 27 to June 2

UPDATE: Water main break in Central Okanagan causes massive flooding

Glenmore Road and Highway 97 are affected by the water main break

Most Read