Saskatchewan Polytechnic honours Louis Riel Memorial Day

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald (L to R) Carrie McCloy, Campus Facilities Manager Dale Pratt, Indigenous Student Advisor Stan Workman, Indigenous Student Advisor Kristen Bergstrom, Bill Grosskill, Anita Cameron and Holly Rivet raised a Metis flag at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Prince Albert Campus on Tuesday to recognize Louis Riel Memorial Day.

To honour Louis Riel Memorial Day, the Prince Albert campus of Saskatchewan Polytechnic raised the Métis flag on Tuesday morning.

Staff were out to celebrate Riel for representing Metis peoples and advocated for their interests before he was executed on Nov. 16., 1885.

“It is important to recognize this historic Canadian day,” Indigenous Student Centre program head Anita Cameron said. “Raising the Métis flag for Louis Riel memorial day is an important part of indigenizing Saskatchewan Polytechnic. We want our Indigenous students to feel like they belong on our campuses and are values members of our campus community.”

There were also ceremonies at the Moose Jaw, Saskatoon and Regina campuses celebrating Riel Day, and recognizing that Saskatchewan Polytech is on both Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territory.

Cameron said roughly 19 per cent of Sask Polytechnich students across all four campuses are Indigenous.

“It is a very good percentage,” she added.

The flag remained up all day Tuesday, and remains in campus all year round.

There were virtual activities on the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Indigenous Students Facebook page with Saskatoon Indigenous Student Centre Coordinator Derek Yee, Fidder Jordan Daniels, and Courtney-Dawn Anaquod Founder of the Qu’Appelle Valley Square dancers.

There were various events during the day on Tuesday, including a beading activity for Metis flag pins at the Centre and a lunch from noon to 1 p.m. with Cameron preparing Boulette, Bannock and Tea. They are also using the day to spread cultural awareness to all students and staff

“We invite all students to our activities, especially that we have on campus,” Cameron said. “All of our students are welcome and all staff.”

Similar events were held in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina to help celebrate Indigenous culture, history, knowledge and values.

Indigenous Student Advisor Kristen Bergstrom explained that the Kaykiyow Nassyoon Mamawapowuk Enn plass (All Nations Gathering Place Indigenous Students’ Centre) lives up to the name.

“It is very inclusive. We have all students come in and we work to empower (them). We work to make them know that they belong here. We work to inspire them. We do many things to include everyone and incorporate our Indigenous ways or knowing and learning.”

Cameron explained that her role is collaborative one. The works with advisors, who form a mutually beneficial partnership.

“They support us and I support them in their role as well,” she said.