November 13, 2014
A Métis flag-raising ceremony took place this morning at Milton District High School to recognize the upcoming Louis Riel Day.
Métis Nation of Ontario members, students, school staff and administrators from the Halton District School Board, as well as local politicians attended the ceremony to witness the Canadian flag and Metis flag being raised in unison as a sign of respect and appreciation. Students from the Native Studies English class read a poem honouring Métis culture while the high school’s musical ensemble and choir performed as the flags were raised.
On Sunday, November 16, the Métis Nation of Ontario will join other Métis governments across the Métis Homeland in commemorating Louis Riel, the Métis leader who was executed by the Canadian Government on November 16, 1885, for leading the Northwest Resistance. The Métis flag in Milton will stay up until after Sunday.
Lorna Burke, a Métis veteran with Clear Waters Métis Council, was moved by the raising of flags and hopes the gesture strikes a chord with the students in attendance.
“I hope students learn about tolerance of other ethnicities and to accept differences,” she said.
Nicholas Bertrand is the Board’s Instructional Program Leader of the Equity and Inclusive Curriculum: First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education. He said he hopes the ceremony will impress upon students the need to know about the Metis Nation.
“I’m hopeful they will be inspired by today’s events,” he said.
Grade 11 student Andrea Woodland said it was touching to see elders raise the Métis flag in an act of cooperation and togetherness.
“It was amazing to see first-hand the elders come out and raise the flag to show that we are equal,” she said, noting in her class, students have learned about First Nations, Métis and Inuit traditions and their place in Canadian history.
PHOTO CAPTION: LEFT: Lorna Burke, a Métis veteran with Clear Waters Métis Council, raises flags
RIGHT: Lorna Burke - Clear Water Métis Council - Veteran and Elder (left), Suzanne Jackson - Clear Water Métis Council - Chair, Nick Bertrand - Instruction Program Leader - HDSB, Keith Pearce - Milton District High School Teacher and Department Head, and David Neville - Credit River Métis Council - Councilor pose with a sash. The sash symbolizies pride and identification for Métis people.