In British Columbia, 232,290 people have an Aboriginal identity, representing 16.6 per cent of the total Aboriginal population. There are also 69,475 Métis (15.4 per cent) in the province.
In The North Thompson Valley the Métis people make up 4.3 per cent.
The Métis are recognized by the government as one of the recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
They developed as the mixed-race descendants of unions between, generally, First Nations women and European men, but over time there were more intermarriages within the group. The term historically described all mixed-race people of First Nations and European ancestry.
Within generations in the 19th century, particularly in central and western Canada, a distinct Métis culture developed.
Since the late 20th century, the Métis people have been recognized as an Aboriginal people, with formal recognition equal to that given to the Inuit and First Nations peoples.
Louis Riel Day is perhaps one of the most significant days in our history as Métis people. This day is a day of celebration of who we are as a unique people, with our culture and traditions independent of other Aboriginal peoples.
The Métis people of the North Thompson Valley are proud of their culture and love to share their stories, knowledge, and traditions with all who are interested in learning.
North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre representative Cindy Wilgosh says, “We love to share this with people at our Cultural Centre in Clearwater, and especially during our upcoming Louis Riel Day this coming Sunday.”
Louis Riel Day commemorates the anniversary of the execution of Riel on Nov. 16, 1885, at Regina, Saskatchewan. Riel made the ultimate sacrifice for his people defending Métis Rights, and so on this day Métis honour and celebrate Louis Riel in recognition of being a great Leader of the Métis Peoples, Father of Manitoba Métis Hero.
Wilgosh says, “Louis Riel Day is the day we proudly proclaim our Métis ancestry “Kishchee tey mo’yawn aen li Michif wi’yawn “We are proud to be Métis”.
Louis Riel Day in the North Thompson will be celebrated on Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Clearwater Elks Hall,, Clearwater. The event will run from 12 noon until approximately 4 p.m.
“There will be food, games, fun, information, music, and much more,” says Wilgosh “No tickets needed – by donation only, and everyone is invited to attend.”
The North Thompson Aboriginal Cultural Centre is the only off reserve Centre for Aboriginal peoples in the North Thompson Valley; respecting and honouring the Simpcw First Nation in whose traditional territory the Cultural Centre sits.
The Centre has been operating since 2009 and became a registered nonprofit society in March of 2013.
The main focus of the Centre is to share and create awareness of all the Aboriginal people of the North Thompson Valley; believing that all people, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, must work together to make good things happen.
The Centre serves as a drop-in for area community members and visitors, hosts an area for a museum with the history of Aboriginal and Métis people, provides a gift shop featuring many local artists, teaches Aboriginal culture to all ages through storytelling and making traditional crafts and workshops, volunteers at other community events from Barriere to Blue River, and works closely with Aboriginal Engagement Success By 6.
Check out their website: www.aboriginalculture.ca or ww.aboriginalculture.ca/home and also on Facebook.