The legacy of Louis Riel was honoured Tuesday at the Legislative Building in a big way.
"Today the province of Manitoba recognized a Métis visionary and leader, Louis Riel, as the first leader of the province," said Jonathan Hamel, communications director with the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF).
The province mounted a photo of the historic Métis figure next to the likes of former premiers.
Hamel said the unveiling represents a significant symbolic gesture to the Métis community.
"If it wasn't for Louis Riel we wouldn't have the privileges we enjoy," Hamel said.
"Under his provisional government, they created a list of rights that recognize equality, bilingualism and made assurances that all people in the territory would be looked after, cared for, recognized — that of course included the Métis Nation, First Nations and English and French."
Hamel says the MMF has been working with the province since 2010 to make this a reality, when Riel's role as president of the Assembly of Assiniboia was formally recognized.
"It's been a long time coming; it's making progress, we're pleased with that," he said. "We'd like to see the complete recognition of Louis Riel as the first premier of the province, but the acknowledgement by the province that he is the first leader of the province is a step in the right direction."
"It was a good feeling, finally they are starting to acknowledge if it wasn't for the Metis Nation and Louis Riel we wouldn't have the wonderful province we have today."