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Un bill to recognize Louis Riel as 1st Premier of Manitoba

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David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), says his organization has worked for decades to have Louis Riel recognized as the province's first premier.

  • Catherine Moreau (View profile)Catherine Moreau

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The Manitoba government introduces a bill to recognize Métis leader Louis Riel as the province's first premier.

This bill marks the first step in resetting the relationship between Manitoba and Indigenous governments as partners and leaders of the province, says Premier Wab Kinew, who is also minister responsible for Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">He says the government also plans to ensure that the full story of Louis Riel is taught in schools.

For the historian, Philippe Mailhot, this is an important bill, while the history of Louis Riel has been obscured and distorted for a long time.

For me, it is a recognition of a reality; that here at Red River, Riel was the first democratic leader here at the colony. This highlights the fact that when Manitoba became a province on July 15, 1870, it was Louis Riel who was in charge. He is recognized as the father of Manitoba.

The provisional government headed by Louis Riel led the negotiations that allowed Manitoba to join Confederation in 1870 and become a province.

These negotiations were based in particular on a charter of rights. These included representation in Ottawa, seeking ratification of treaties with First Nations, and protecting religious and linguistic rights.

Philippe Mailhot also notes that in addition to being a hero for the Métis, Louis Riel is also one for French Canadians. Without Riel and the movement, the Manitoban Francophonie would not have access to everything we have today, in terms of education, access to courses in French, etc., he specifies.

Rethinking Louis Riel and his companions through honorary recognition.Broadcast HERE FIRST.From 6 to 9.

Rethinking Louis Riel and his companions through honorary recognition

BROADCAST HERE PREMIERELe 6 à 9

Listen to the audio (Rethinking Louis Riel and his companions through a honorary recognition. 11 minutes 33 seconds)

Hanged in Regina in 1885, following the resistance he led to claim the lands promised by the Canadian government to the Métis, Louis Riel was long perceived as a traitor.

This interpretation evolves as Métis and Indigenous voices reappropriate this moment in history, believes the full professor of history in the Department of Historical Sciences at Laval University, Martin Pâquet .

For generations, the Métis of Red River in Manitoba have fought for recognition, dignity and inclusion in our province, says Mr. Kinew.

They have known for a long time the true history of our province, namely that Louis Riel was our first premier, he continues.

Today, our government will honor the tireless work they did to continue his legacy by introducing legislation that would recognize him as Manitoba's first premier.

Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) president David Chartrand says his group has actually been working for decades to have Louis Riel recognized as the province's founder.

With information from the Canadian Press, Antoine Brière and Patricia Bitu Tshikudi

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