Today, November 16, is Louis Riel Day in Ontario. Louis Riel Day recognizes the anniversary of Riel’s execution in 1885. This day is an opportunity to learn more about the life and importance of Louis Riel, leader of the Métis.

Riel led Métis People in the Northwest Resistance to protect Métis rights and ways-of-life. The Métis were defeated at the siege of Batoche and the Canadian government captured Riel. Riel was put on trial where he was convicted of treason and executed. As a result, Métis People across the Métis homelands in the place now known as Manitoba were labeled as traitors. Many generations felt the need to hide their Métis identity.

Louis Riel Day provides an important opportunity to learn about the excellence and many contributions of the Métis People and their historical leader Louis Riel. During his life, Riel laid the groundwork for his vision of a Canada that included the Métis Nation and protected Métis rights.

Note: The Métis Nation of Ontario recognizes Louis Riel Day on November 16th each year, while Louis Riel Day is an annual general holiday in the province of Manitoba on the third Monday of February.