From the verdict's announcement in Ottawa, to the jubilation at the airport in Winnipeg, the Métis spent this past weekend celebrating the validation of their 143-year-old land claim. On Friday March 8 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favor of the mixed-race aboriginal group. In a 6–2 vote, the court said that the federal government was remiss in not awarding the Métis land that it had promised in 1870 in return for the cessation of hostilities in one of the bloodiest rebellions in Canada's history.
After paying homage at the gravesite of Métis hero Louis Riel in the cemetery of St. Boniface Cathedral in Winnipeg, the celebrants repaired to the community hall for an afternoon of dancing, fiddling and traditional food.
“To be a part of this historic event was truly a gift from the Great Spirit, a God-inspired moment, with Riel surely smiling down upon the great victory and vindication of his sacrifices and a testament to the tenacity, perseverance and excellent leadership of President David Chartrand, his government members and the Métis Nation citizens within the province of Manitoba, which brought the Métis Nation of the Northwest into confederation,” said Métis National Council (MNC) President Clément Chartier. “To be standing at Riel’s resting place with Métis leader John Morrisseau, the President who initiated the action 32 years ago and current Métis leader Chartrand who brought it home over his leadership of the past 17 years, was certainly both an honour and a humbling moment, a moment in life I will never forget.”
Below, the main players are introduced to a backdrop of rollicking fiddle music. Then the parties begin.