While Manitobans mark Louis Riel Day, a leader in the Metis community in Manitoba has died.
Co-founder of the province’s Metis Federation, George Fleury died Feb. 5.
He passed away peacefully at St. Boniface hospital at the age of 86.
George was elected as the first vice-president of the MMF Southwest Region in 1968. In 1971, he opened the first MMF office in Brandon. He continued to serve on the MMF board of directors until 1979.
He then served as the Metis elder for the MMF and the Metis National Council until his passing.
His son, Darcy Fleury, joined Global News Morning to talk about his legacy and the importance of preserving the Metis culture.
Fleury says his father was a leader in economic development, education, and preserving the Michif language.
“He continued to enhance and promote the Michif language. That was one of his key goals as he aged and continued on with the Manitoba Metis Federation as an adviser and an elder.”
Fleury said his father believed the language was important to their society and as a distinction for the Metis community.
From food, music, and stories, Fleury said his father was proud to promote and encourage Metis traditions.
“Somebody that when we walked into a room, everybody flocked to him, enjoyed his company and wanted to be around him, just a real gentleman,” Fleury says.
“My dad was a very special person. He was very caring, very touching, and very loving.”
The Manitoba Metis Federation was established in 1967 as a political representative for Manitoba’s Metis Nation.
“He was very committed to the Manitoba Metis as an organization and the people,” Fleury said.
Fleury says because of COVID-19 his family is very limited with how they can have George’s funeral ceremony this week.
When asked if he has any advice to share with Manitobans from his dad, Fleury noted the importance of spending time with your family.
“Engage all the way through their lives, they have stories to tell and history to share that is really important throughout your lives.”