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Metis culture takes centre stage at Metis Fest

This Saturday, the Metis Nation of Alberta is holding its first ever Metis Fest at the Beaver River Fish and Game Building.

Regional youth project coordinator, Sarah Johnson, said the event is meant to teach about the Metis culture.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there about who the Metis are. We think it will be a really good event to showcase that our culture is distinct. That we are one of the Indigenous groups, but we are not the same as Frist Nations. People often just guess that the Metis are like half-First Nations, which isn’t the case,” said Johnson.

“We have our own distinct culture and tradition. We just want to show that to people.”

The event is easier to put on with the newer access to funding from higher governments.

“Recently we’re getting a lot more recognition that as a distinct people from the federal government. We’re gaining access to some funding we didn’t have before which is really helpful for us to run events like this and run cultural programming,” said Johnson.

Johnson plans to be expanding the programs the nation offers. Soon, she says, there will be beading and jigging classes available and perhaps first-aid and gun safety courses for MNA citizens.

“Just so Metis people can get back in touch with their roots,” said Johnson.

The event is free and happening from 9:30am-9pm. There will be traditional fiddling and jigging around 10am, soup and sandwich for lunch, and stew and bannock for dinner.

There will be a chance to win some money in the jigging competition.

In the evening, the mic is open from 6-9pm with the Nicely Put Together Band for people to sing.

Each of the six regions in the across the province is holding a Metis Fest Saturday.

Bonnyville is in Region II, which covers as far as Lloydminster to Vegreville.