RCMP inks deal to return Louis Riel artifacts to Métis people
Items include crucifix, hunting knife and poetry book that belonged to executed Métis leader
The federal government has officially agreed to return a series of artifacts connected to Métis leader Louis Riel, which are currently housed in the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina, to the Métis people.
The items at the Regina museum include a crucifix belonging to the executed Métis leader, his poetry and a hunting knife.
Book of poetry written by Louis Riel & published in 1886 also returned by the <a href="https://twitter.com/rcmpgrcpolice">@rcmpgrcpolice</a> to the Métis Nation <a href="https://twitter.com/MNC_tweets">@MNC_tweets</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MBMetis_MMF">@MBMetis_MMF</a> <a href="https://t.co/u723sdi35F">pic.twitter.com/u723sdi35F</a>—@rcmpmb
When Donovan found out about the return of the artifacts, he said "it came as a great surprise.
"I expected Canada to drag its feet for several more years," he told CBC. "It's been a tremendous injustice that Canada has held on to these stolen items for so many decades.
As first, the federal government insisted it owned the items, but in March agreed to hand over control after Donovan threatened legal action.
"The RCMP is committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples," Brasseau said on Saturday. "Louis Riel, through his lifelong struggle to protect the social, cultural and political status of his fellow Métis, played a significant role in the history of Canadian Confederation."
Riel was hanged for treason at age 41 in 1885 and remains a controversial figure in Canadian history, but is widely acknowledged now as a founder of Manitoba.
Donovan, whose Métis family roots are partly in the Meadow Lake, Sask., area, has worked on legal research for Métis organizations in Ontario and elsewhere.
As announced at the assembly, the artifacts will be housed at a new Métis museum in Winnipeg. Donovan plans to pay them a visit as soon as possible.
"The first chance I get I'll go to Winnipeg and I'll take a look at them," he said. "I'll jump at that chance."
With files from Radio Canada's Pierre Verriere