Before us, they built a community and a heritage and died defending our heritage and land. And every year, on “Back to Batoche” Sunday, we march to Batoche to the nine graves to pay tribute to those who fell on the battleground.
As far as I’m concerned that’s when we truly go back to Batoche. We follow the same road as our ancestors, passed the museum, down the path, past the church, across from the battleground, to where Métis blood was spilled so long ago!
My heart swells with pride every time I walk down that path and think of those that made that ultimate sacrifice so we, as a Métis people, could be recognized as a distinct people — neither native or white — I am Métis!
But this year, during what should have been a time for remembering, I was totally disgusted by our Métis Nation of Saskatchewan Council.
As we gathered around the graves to pay our respects, our national president had words to share.
A priest led us through a prayer. But somehow there was not one Métis political leader from Saskatchewan at the march to Batoche. Nobody to be seen!
Instead, the president from Manitoba had to step up and speak for us.
When I looked around the crowd, I saw veterans who were upset.
Where were our represented elected officials? I’m not the only one that thought this is the biggest disrespect our current elected officials could do to the Métis people of not only Saskatchewan, but to the whole Métis community in Canada! How’s that for a slap in the face?
Did Batoche and all the celebrations become about money? Have they lost focus on how important our veterans and elders are?
Are we not there to celebrate ourselves as a people, to relive our culture, and to pay respect to our elders and veterans?
As a people, we will not forget this.
For this, there is no excuse that any member of our elected officials can give. And I call upon our Métis Nation of Saskatchewan Council to apologize to the Métis of Canada for this lack of respect.