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Wednesday , 8 July 2020
Image credit: Susan Arens / Pinterest

Celebrating Metis Week in Bonnyville

Image credit: Susan Arens / Pinterest

Metis people across the country have been celebrating Metis Week, including in Bonnyville on Thursday.

A community lunch was held at St. Louis Parish Hall that featured a fiddle player, traditional jigging and food to celebrate Metis Week.

It’s an opportunity to showcase Metis culture, said Duane Zaraska, Region II President of the Metis Nation of Alberta.

“It is a celebration and the remembrance of Louis Riel, our great leader who died of course on Saturday, November 16,” said Zaraska.

“We have the flag-raising all over the province in many communities. Edmonton was Tuesday. We have ourselves a flag-raising in Smoky Lake tomorrow (Friday). It’s just a full week of activities. We wrap it up on Saturday with the Louis Riel commemorative at the Legislature building in Edmonton,” he said.

A 6.6 kilometre walk near Cooking Lake signifies the same distance of Louis Riel’s funeral procession and is a tradition that kicks off Metis Week.

While the lunch was a chance to celebrate, the Rupertsland Institute: Metis Centre of Excellence was also showcasing the services they provide to unemployed Metis people looking to get into the workforce.

“We have the education and training arm of the Metis Nation of Alberta,” said Belle Dy-Reyes.

“We provide services in terms of funding for education and training. And also we support people who are looking for employment. So like any resumes or using a computer, faxing, stuff like that, so we can also assist people.”

There are also programs geared toward youth and education.

Ther first Metis club meeting at Dr. Brosseau school was this and was a “huge success” where kids from different backgrounds come together and learn a little bit more about Metis culture.

A youth group is also starting in January out of the Rupertsland Institute in Bonnyville.

At the end of the month, Region II is hosting a hunter education course in Kitscoty for Metis members.

The Rupertsland Institute is open Monday-Friday from 10:00am-4:30pm.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.