Red Deer Polytechnic has just wrapped up Métis Week. The post-secondary school hosted a variety of events and initiatives during Métis Week to provide learning opportunities about Métis culture and history, to celebrate the contributions of Métis people and to commemorate the legacy of Right Honourable Louis Riel.
On November 16, Canadians recognized Louis Riel Day, which honours the contributions of Right Honourable Louis Riel as a political leader, an advocate for Métis rights and the founder of Manitoba. The week surrounding Louis Riel Day is recognized as Métis Week (November 14-18).
“Throughout Métis Week, Red Deer Polytechnic students, employees and community members had the opportunity to enhance their knowledge about Indigenous ways of knowing and being by engaging with Métis knowledge keepers and partaking in daily cultural opportunities,” says Lloyd Desjarlais, Director of Indigenous Initiatives. “These collaborations and learning opportunities help to advance Truth and Reconciliation and to contribute to a culturally diverse campus.”
Over five days, there were a range of learning opportunities that included a session about Indigenous war veterans and a presentation of “Métis Memories of Residential Schools,” which is a collaborative project between the University of Calgary, Métis Nation of Alberta and Rupertsland Institute. In addition, there was also a screening of “Hiding in Plain Sight”, which highlights Métis history and culture in Red Deer.
Individuals were also able to view Métis resources and to gather as a community to enjoy a soup and bannock lunch. Faculty and staff had the opportunity to learn about the role of Métis women, Métis history and identity, and Red Deer Polytechnic Centre for Teaching and Learning’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
“Red Deer Polytechnic acknowledges the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions, our responsibility to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the recognition of Treaties,” says Stuart Cullum, President of Red Deer Polytechnic. “Métis Week provided an opportunity for the Polytechnic community to continue to grow our relationships with Indigenous learners, knowledge keepers, organizations and communities.”
Red Deer Polytechnic’s collaboration with Red Deer Native Friendship Society provided the opportunity for individuals to observe or participate in Indigenous games. Throughout Métis Week, the lights of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre displayed blue, red and white in recognition of the Métis Nations and their contributions to Alberta and Canada.
On main campus, Treaty 6, Treaty 7 and Métis Flags are permanently raised to recognize the land where Red Deer Polytechnic is located and to signal the Polytechnic’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.