Métis Veterans Legacy Program Commission visit the gravesite of Métis Leader Louis Riel
On November 16th, 2021, the Métis Veterans Legacy Program Commission joined the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) to commemorate Louis Riel on the anniversary of his execution.
Members of the MMF Cabinet and federal, provincial, and civic dignitaries, as well as representatives from the RCMP and Police Service were in attendance to speak about the father of Manitoba and his role in bringing Canada into the Northwest.
In honour of Louis Riel, the Commission also visited his gravesite in St. Boniface to lay a wreath.
Louis Riel, Red River Métis leader, founder of Manitoba and it’s first Premier was initially dismissed as a rebel by Canadian historians. Today, that history is being corrected and there is growing recognition that Louis Riel was a strong leader who fought to protect his “little nation” of Red River Métis, while defending minority rights, language rights and religious freedoms for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
About our Métis Veterans
For years Métis from across the Homeland enlisted in the Canadian military in large numbers. Many Métis who volunteered during the First and Second World Wars were descendants of Métis who fought for Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont in 1885. Traditional Métis skills such as trapping, hunting, scouting, and guiding were in high demand by the military and made the Métis very successful soldiers.
Following the Second World War, Métis Veterans were often unable to obtain their veterans’ benefits after their military service. Many Métis Veterans were turned away by Veteran Affairs Canada and did not receive the same supports, resources or benefits promised to them that were routinely given to other non-Métis Veterans. As the Veterans aged and their immense contributions to Canada’s war effort continued to be ignored by Canada, the Métis Nation launched a campaign to right the wrongs of the past and ensure that our Métis heroes were accorded the honour and compensation they so justly deserved.
Honouring Second World War Métis Veterans
It took three-quarters of a century to address the concerns of Métis Veterans who had joined Canada’s call to arms to enter the Second World War (WWII), and more recently 20 years of advocacy and negotiations from President of the Manitoba Métis Federation David Chartrand.
In 2019, Federal Minister of Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAuley issued Canada’s apology that the benefits offered to Canada’s Veterans did not meet the needs of WWII Métis Veterans (click here). At the same time, Canada and the Métis National Council concluded a $30-million Agreement to honour Métis Veterans of the WWII including the payment of compensation. The Agreement is known as the Métis Veterans Legacy Program.
This website is part of our on-going efforts to keep citizens throughout the Homeland — and beyond — informed on developments and initiatives at the national and international level concerning Métis Nation Veterans. It is our goal to honour our Veterans by being the leading source of information regarding Veterans affairs, and to provide Canadians with a better understanding of the contributions and sacrifices made by Métis Nation Veterans in service to their country and their people.