The RCMP and Metis came together at the Manitoba Metis Federation’s annual assembly to sign the agreement.
“This is no longer artifacts of souvenirs that they killed a villain,” said David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation. “These are artifacts of a leader, a founder of Manitoba, the father of Manitoba.”
A crucifix, hunting knife and a book of poetry belonging to Riel will be returned to the Manitoba Metis.
The items were seized from Riel before he was hanged for treason in 1885.
He held two rebellions against the Canadian government to preserve Metis culture and heritage.
The artifacts are currently open to the public at the RCMP heritage museum in Regina.
“When I think about reconciliation, when I thought about the declaration of the rights of Indigenous people, I think these items of significance ought to be with the communities who own them,” said Kevin Brosseau, deputy commissioner of the RCMP who is also Metis.
“It’s a real proud moment for me personally. I’m a very proud Metis person but also a proud public servant.”
The artifacts will be returned after the new Metis Heritage Centre is built.
Construction is scheduled to start in 2018.
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