The blue and white infinity symbol that represents the Métis was raised at City Hall on Monday, representing the beginning of Métis Week in Alberta.
The annual recognition of Métis culture and peoples began on Nov. 13, and runs through Nov. 19.
Lawrence Gervais, President Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3, called the flag raising ceremony an important recognition by the City of Calgary.
“It’s important for all our municipal partners to be quite honest, and Calgary actually is the one that’s been doing this for many years, so I attribute a lot to that,” Gervais said.
“It’s so valuable for us to be recognized and be acknowledged as an Indigenous group.”
The City of Calgary made a proclamation declaring this week Métis Week in the city.
“It’s my honour to carry on with this annual tradition, whereby the City of Calgary officially proclaims the third week of November as Métis Week,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
Mayor Gondek reflected on city demographic statistics, that indicate Métis make up nearly 50 per cent of the total Indigenous population in the city.
“Many of these people are our neighbours and friends, and are a very important part of the city of Calgary’s work with indigenous communities and families who call Calgary their home,” she said.
The Province of Alberta will be holding a commemorative ceremony on November 16 at the Alberta Legislature in honour of Louis Riel.
The ceremony will be streamed live on the Legislature’s website at assembly.ab.ca.
Historic vote underway for Métis constitution
The Métis Nation of Alberta is currently undertaking a vote amongst its nearly 56,000 members in Alberta to consider a new constitution.
The historic vote would, should it pass following the end of voting on Nov. 30, would allow for the Métis Nation of Alberta to be recognized as an Indigenous people with rights to form government, and to negotiate rights and claims with other governments.
On a civic engagement level, Gervais said that it would bring the Métis Nation into the list of groups required for consultation.
“If they put a shovel in the dirt, there’s certain groups that they acknowledge and have to consult with, and we’ll be on that list,” he said.
“And hopefully the Alberta government gets to that level where where they can actually enforce it and say ‘yes, we need to speak to these Métis.'”
Gervais said that he’s confident the threshold of approximately 75 per cent of yes votes would be met. He said that currently they are about half way with the number of votes being cast before the end of November 30.
The recognition of consultation, he said, would be a return to a historic reality that occurred pre-Confederation.
“It was important when the settlers moved into the Red River in 1816, for them to consult with [the Métis] before it happened,” Gervais said.
“And the same thing happened in 1867… and Riel had to stand and say, ‘well, it’s important that you speak to us first.’
“That teaching is always been there, and we’re just reigniting it.”