Manitoba Metis Federation raises Ukrainian flag in solidarity with besieged nation, makes $100,000 donation

 By Dave Baxter

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Ukrainian flag was raised by the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) on Tuesday to show solidarity with the nation and its people, just one day after MMF announced they would be making a significant humanitarian aid contribution to the country that is in the grips of a full-scale invasion.

“Like many across the globe our citizens, along with the MMF cabinet and staff, have been watching the events in Ukraine with dismay and sadness,” MMF president David Chartrand said Monday, in a press release announcing that after holding an emergency cabinet meeting, MMF has decided to donate $100,000 in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Monday’s announcement of the donation was followed on Tuesday by MMF raising Ukrainian flags at their buildings, including the one on Henry Avenue in downtown Winnipeg.

Chartrand said it was important to fly the Ukrainian colours and to make the donation to support the country, because he said ties run deep between the Ukrainian people and the citizens of the Red River Metis.

“People of Ukrainian heritage have been neighbours and friends of the Red River Metis for more than a hundred years,” Chartrand said. “Over those years, many have intermarried with citizens of our Nation, which means they are not just our friends and neighbours, in many cases they are our family.

“We must stand in solidarity with them and do what we can to provide aid.”

Chartrand said he has watched and been inspired by the Ukrainian people and the fight and resistance they have been putting up against Russian attacks so far, but said he is also sad for the millions who have now already been displaced.

“It should touch everyone’s hearts that we see men and women of all ages taking up arms to defend their home, their culture, their identity and their sovereignty,” Chartrand said.

“We must do what we can to support the millions who have been and will continue to be displaced by Russian aggression. To all Red River Metis, their Ukrainian relatives and the people of Ukraine, know that our hearts are with you as Ukraine comes together to defend itself.”

MMF said the donation was drawn from revenues from their business arm and is being directed through the Canadian Red Cross and MMF said they hope the donation now inspires other people, organizations and governments to make donations to Ukraine.

“While Canadians have already reached the $10 million goal that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government agreed to match, it is important that everyone who can support Ukraine does so,” Chartrand said.

“The funds will support preparedness, immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency, and other critical humanitarian activities as needs arise, both in Ukraine and surrounding countries, including support for displaced populations.”

And Chartrand made it clear that although the war is currently being fought between Russia and Ukraine, it is something that will affect people and communities far beyond the borders of those two countries.

“This war that has been brought upon Ukraine comes with risks to us all. We have all heard the statements of Russia’s Putin that he will be prepared to threaten global peace through nuclear arms,” Chartrand said.

“We all know the risks that come with that and the potential impact on our world. Both the generations of today and tomorrow are at risk.

“The MMF encourages all Canadians to do what they can to help Ukraine and its war refugees in this time of need.”

-Dave Baxter is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Winnipeg Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.


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