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This article was published 1/3/2016 (1627 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Louis Riel's portrait now lies alongside those of Manitoba's premiers in the halls of the Legislative Building.
On a day that a bill promoting reconciliation with indigenous peoples received second reading in the legislature, the government and the Manitoba Metis Federation participated in a symbolic ceremony recognizing Riel's role in the founding of the province.
"In our minds in Métis nation, we recognize that Louis Riel... was the first premier of the province of Manitoba," said Andrew Carrier, the MMF's minister for Michif languages and residential and day school survivors.
Pictures of all Manitoba premiers align the wall of a hallway next to the premier's office at the Legislative Building. The portrait of Riel now precedes that of Alfred Boyd, who served from Sept. 16, 1870 to Dec. 14, 1871.
About three dozen people attended the short ceremony, including several government MLAs and cabinet ministers.
Dwight MacAulay, chief of protocol for the province, said Riel is regarded "by virtually everyone" as the founding father of the province of Manitoba.
Riel was never premier, MacAulay said. "He was the president of the legislative assembly of Assiniboia."
But he laid the groundwork for Manitoba to enter Confederation.
"In fact the very name Manitoba was put forward by Louis Riel. He left just before Manitoba entered confederation officially, July 15, 1870."
Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson said the recognition embodied by the placement of Riel's portrait alongside the premiers of Manitoba is long overdue.
He called it "a small gesture" as Manitoba strives to achieve reconciliation with the province's indigenous peoples.
Robinson said some would say Riel is Manitoba's first premier.
"It may not indicate that on a plaque, but give us time. We're moving in that direction," he said.
Meanwhile, Robinson suggested the government also plans to commemorate a Métis shantytown that once existed in the Grant Park mall area of Winnipeg.
"In the time to come we are going to be, as well, saying more about Rooster Town, as they called it. And we're certainly going to be showing our commemoration there as well," the cabinet minister said.
Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.
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