Humboldt and area residents gathered in civic park on Friday June 21st to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. The gathering was hosted by Métis Nation Saskatchewan who provided a burger luncheon courtesy of the Humboldt Co-op. Kids were invited to the Humboldt aquatic centre afterward for a free swim. 

Brent Digness, Minister of Economic Development for Métis Nation Saskatchewan greeted everyone as master of ceremonies. 

“I believe that any day identified for Indigenous people is important,” said Digness in his introductory address. “Every day we work together for Truth and Reconciliation, all of us no matter what culture we come from. If we work together, we become one – we become a community, a province, a country.” 

Vice-president of MN-S Michelle LeClair also provided remarks. Michelle outlined the important strides that Métis people are taking of late when it comes to self-governance. The fight for self-determination extends to Louis Riel and the North-West Rebellion of 1885. 

“Even before that, at the Battle of Seven Oaks where the Métis people put their flag up and said to the Hudson Bay Company, ‘you cannot take advantage of our land and our people anymore,’ and that’s 208 years ago,” LeClair said.  

In the last few years, Métis Nation Saskatchewan has signed self-government agreements and are at the point where they are negotiating a modern-day treaty, LeClair explained.  

“It’s a really exciting time for us. While some people say it’s happening too fast, when I think of the generations of people who have come before us over the last 208 years, it’s finally happening. It’s Reconciliation in action.” 

Mayor Michael Behiel brought greetings on behalf of the City of Humboldt and its residents. 

“Thank you for choosing Humboldt to host this celebration; it's both an honour and a privilege to have you here,” Behiel stated. “Please consider Humboldt your ally in the pursuit of Métis self-governance through the sacred document of the Méchif.” 

Other guests and dignitaries spoke during the ceremony. Following the speeches, Digness reflected on the presence of the Métis officials in Humboldt and the sizeable turnout the event brought.  

“It’s fantastic to see the support for the Métis and support of National Indigenous Peoples Day. When you have events like this and have as many citizens come out, it really shows Reconciliation, I believe.” 

Digness believes that the action of Reconciliation involves acts of forgiveness and a determination to strengthen bonds among all communities and forge strong alliances in the province and in the country.