On the behalf of the Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee (SUILC) I would like to wish you a happy Louis Riel Day. I would like to begin by acknowledging that our work takes place on the traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwantlen, Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations. It was on this day 135 years ago that Louis Riel was executed for his part in leading the North West Resistance of 1885 and the Red River Rebellion of 1869-1870. He passionately defended the rights of Métis, pursuing guarantees for their land as well as their language and political rights. It was under Louis Riel’s leadership that Manitoba was established as Canada’s fifth province in 1870.
As a Métis person we know that despite his execution the legacy of Louis Riel survives to this day. Despite the efforts made to eradicate it in the century that followed, our Métis culture survived, not only survived but thrived. As a Surrey resident I feel fortunate to live in a city that not only recognizes Métis culture but celebrates it as well. I am thankful for the City of Surrey’s 2020 Louis Riel Day Proclamation and their continued support. In normal times we would be able to deliver this message in person, but the current reality brought about by the COVID 19 pandemic does not allow for it. That said, I look forward to a proper celebration upon the conclusion of the pandemic and wish you, your friends, and your families a safe and happy Louis Riel Day.
Co-Chair Surrey Urban Indigenous Leadership Committee