Brandon University’s Louis Riel Room is now the proud home of a large portrait of the famed Métis leader, donated to the university by the Manitoba Métis Federation.
The portrait was originally presented to the university during Louis Riel Day celebrations in 2020, but its placement and unveiling were delayed due to the pandemic. BU President David Docherty and the MMF’s Leah LaPlante came together to put up the portrait earlier today, on the two-year anniversary of its presentation to the university.
Both said it was emotional to see the Louis Riel portrait prominently placed on the brick wall at the end of the room. Flanked by portraits of former BU chancellors, along with a large wooden carving of the university’s coat of arms, and a poster of the university’s commitments to Truth and Reconciliation, the Louis Riel portrait has place of pride and is in good company.
“I never would have through that when I came here in 1997, that I would be looking at him, there,” said LaPlante, the vice-president of the Southwest Region MMF. “There’s been some major changes in this city.”
“This is a ‘wow’ day,” Docherty said. “It is so appropriate for us to honour Riel’s great legacy, and it is long overdue.”
The Louis Riel Room is adjacent to BU’s main dining hall, Harvest Hall. Formerly known as the BU Private Dining Room, it was renamed the Louis Riel Room in 2008 in recognition of the continued support from the MMF and the Louis Riel Institute. Pre-pandemic, the room was often used for meetings, small receptions and events — all of which the university hopes to welcome back in the near future.
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