Western Region 1 was one of the event sponsors. Photo by Randi LaRocque


Honouring Louis Riel in Meadow Lake

By Randi LaRocque

November is a month to remember not only veterans but Louis Riel too. 

Riel was executed in Regina on Nov. 16, 1885, for leading a Resistance against the Government of Canada’s attempts to infringe on Métis rights. 

Every year, Métis communities mark the day in different ways. 

On the eve of Riel Day, 150 guests gathered at the Meadow Lake Civic Centre to honour the Métis leader’s sacrifices and remember how far Métis people have come.

“While Louis Riel Day is a time of celebration, it’s also an occasion to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Resistance,” says Shayla Desjarlais, a Métis woman and Saskatchewan Indigenous Knowledge Network (SIKN) employee.

The day is special for different reasons.

For Gwen King, a Métis woman and the interim vice-president for Les Filles de Madeleine Secretariat Inc (LFDMS), it’s a day of remembering.

“I remember missing school on this specific day in honour of Louis Riel,” said King.

She and Desjarlais set up their information booths at the event and shared what their organizations do in the area.

LFDMS is a Saskatchewan Métis Women’s representative collective that advocates for groups facing extra barriers in life, such as women, children, and LGBTQ2S+ youth. 

At their table members shared information on community safety surveys. 

The surveys are completely anonymous and help an area figure out where they need more assistance. 

When SIKN gets the surveys back, they calculate all the answers and figure out where help is needed, using a technique known as Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, or SWOT.

“LFDM and SIKN hope to identify gaps in current support services and programs, using this information to the development of more effective and culturally appropriate resources for Métis people affected by domestic violence,” said Desjarlais.

The evening also featured Métis cultural traditions, including a soup and bannock meal, giveaways, trapper games and square dancers. 

It was sponsored by the Meadow Lake Michif Local 31, Les Filles de Madeleine Secretariat Inc., Lakeview Michif Kindergarten and Métis Nation Saskatchewan Western Region 1. 

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