The Red River Métis - la Nouvelle Nation

Despite our many names such as Bois Brûlés; flower beadwork people; Otipemisiwak; Louis Riel's people, and, as we call ourselves in our own language - Michif - from the beginning we have always been the Red River Métis. The Red River Métis is the origin, root, and core of the Métis Nation. The Red River Métis is the Métis Nation.

Our People have a strong distinct identity and share a common history in the great western plains centered in the Red River Valley that is entirely our own. Our Homeland is West Central North America which is the historic North-West and part of Rupert's Land brought into Confederation under the leadership of Louis Riel and others.

Red River Settlement - now Winnipeg - is the birthplace of the Métis Nation and the heart of the Métis Nation Homeland. The Red River Métis is Canada's Negotiating Partner in Confederation and the Founder of Manitoba.

Throughout our Homeland, the Red River Métis is made up of Métis Citizens and settlements, also known as local communities and traditional territories, and is defined by a common ancestry, identity, culture, social and kinship relationships and, among other things our history. The history of the Métis Nation is the history of the Red River Métis.

No one else can lay claim to our culture. Its genesis and evolution is here, at the Red River. Any attempts to claim our culture by those who are not us is indeed cultural misappropriation and identity theft: We are the people who created distinctive Métis fiddle music and dance that includes the Red River Jig; and the artistry of our flower beadwork - a beadwork so unique, beautiful, and prolific that we were called the "flower beadwork people."

We also have our ancestral language called Michif, spoken only in our western prairie homes. It is not only the name of our language but also the name of our People. We are also the People of the Red River Cart - today a strong symbol of travel and trade.

For nearly 200 years we fought the legal, political and military struggles in the courts, in the houses of government, and on the fields of battle. We will stand ready to defend the Métis Nation, born in the Red River and extending throughout our Homeland.

We are the People of the 1816 Battle of Seven Oaks, also known as the Victory of Frog Plain. It was this battle that the new nation was born - the Métis Nation. Just prior to that birth the symbol of the new nation - the infinity flag of the Red River Métis - more commonly known as the Métis Nation flag, was first unfurled at Red River.

There are other milestones at Red River: In 1849 there was the Guillaume Sayer Trial that helped break the Hudson Bay trade monopoly, and at which Louis Riel Sr., is attributed to have declared that "Le commerce est libre" - "commerce is free".

The 1851 Battle of Grand Coteau with was fought between the Red River Métis and the Sioux in what is now North Dakota. This was among the last of the battles on the prairies between two great buffalo hunting Nations.

We are the People of the 1869 Red River Resistance leading to the creation of Manitoba in 1870. Much has been said and written of the Red River Métis resisting Canada's entry into what is now Western Canada. While doing so, our Ancestors established the Provisional Government in 1869 and Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia in 1870.

In 1869, one of the major events was the Red River Métis establishment of the National Committee of the Red River Métis with John Bruce as President and Louis Riel as Secretary. The Committee ordered Governor-designate William McDougall not to enter the North-West Territory without the Committee's special authorization.

Indeed "La Barrière" was erected just outside of St-Norbert to keep outsiders from entering the North-West Territory including McDougal. The North-West was considered then and is still considered today to be within the Homeland of the Red River Métis.

Subsequently, the Red River Métis negotiated Canada's entry into the North-West and Rupert's Land. After the creation of Manitoba, recognising and honouring our role in founding the province, Louis Riel and others referred to us as the Manitoba Métis. We were named after this great accomplishment by our Ancestors and after the province we created.

After governing the province peacefully, we faced a Reign of Terror resulting in many of our people being widely dispersed across our Homeland, mainly westward and northward in search of peace and security.

What is important to remember is that we are the Red River Métis, the Manitoba Métis, and the Métis Nation. These names are synonymous and refer to the same Indigenous People - different names, but the same People.

We embrace our roots - back to our origins - and will continue to respect and honour our Ancestors and continue to refer to ourselves as the Red River Métis.

B300-150 Henry Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0J7

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