A Metis Culture Celebration Weekend, which ran Sept. 12th-13th, was all part of the ongoing Alberta Culture Days running through September here in Stettler.
Highlights from the event, which was held at the museum, featured beading workshops and Metis dancing.
Raye St. Denis, president of the Metis Hivernant Cultural Society, said that the celebration is a key way of helping to remind folks of the contributions made by the Metis people.
“They helped open the west in general, and also they had settlements and communities that still exist,” she said, referring to the Buffalo Lake and Tail Creek settlements as examples. “They were here in the 1800s.”
St. Denis, who is also executive director of the Red Deer-based Shining Mountains Living Community Services, also pointed out that the Metis people are in fact a nation.
She said when people use the word ‘Indigenous’ they are often only referring to First Nations people, when in fact the term also includes the Metis as well.
Nearly two years ago, an exhibit exploring the rich history of the Métis Nation called ‘Hiding in Plain Sight: Discovering the Métis Nation in the Archival Records of Library and Archives Canada’ was shown in Red Deer for a number of months.
St. Denis said the ‘Hidden in Plain Sight’ title does reflect how some have viewed the Metis through the years.
“We have our own language and our own culture – we are a unique nation and people,” she said, adding that further education is a key to helping bolster awareness about the value of Metis culture across Canada.
Judy Gentes, region 3 vice president of the Metis Nation of Alberta, agreed.
“It’s about letting people know who the Metis are, and that the Metis were very prominent in this whole area,” she said, referring also to Buffalo Lake and Tail Creek which were known as Metis ‘wintering sites’ in the early days.
“About 4,000 would settle there in the winter, and then in the spring off they would go again.”
She said it’s also good to see more and more Metis people learning about their own heritage.
“More and more Metis are coming forward now and learning about their history, and saying, ‘Wow – we didn’t know any of this stuff’. So it really opens us a door for people to start knowing who they are, and that really makes a ‘people’. We were kind of an acknowledged people.”
Meanwhile, other local highlights of Alberta Culture Days include an art exhibit at the Stettler Public Library entitled Dagumisaatiy (We Persevere). The exhibit features new works by emerging Tsuut’ina artist Seth Cardinal Dodginghorse.
There is also a month-long Prairie Landscape Art Exhibit at the Stettler Town & Country Museum to check out.
During the Sundays of the month, there will be agricultural demonstrations from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Museum as well.
The popular Historical Ghost Walk also runs Sept. 18th starting at 8 p.m. from the Stettler Hotel.
Register at the Stettler Public Library
On Sept. 19th, you can also learn to draw in comic book style with Chance Clark starting at 1 p.m. at the Library.
Something else to check out will be ‘Horse Power’ from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Lunch is included and registration information will be posted soon.
Another Ghost Walk runs Sept. 19th at 8 p.m., starting out again from the Stettler Hotel. Again, participants are asked to register at the Library
‘Horse Power’ runs again on Sept. 20th from 1 to 4 p.m. and a Danceology performance is also being planned at the Museum.
On Sept. 26th, enjoy old fashioned horse pulls at 2 p.m. at the Stettler Ag. Society.
Also on Sept. 26th, make sure to visit the ‘International Market and Craft Fair’ from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Stettler Ag. Society.
Finally, ‘The Art of Persuasion for Creative Writers with Fran Kimmel’ runs Sept. 26th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Library as well.
“In this workshop, you will learn how to hook your readers and keep them engaged from the first paragraph to the last. Bring a pen and paper, a favourite novel or memoir and your enthusiasm.”
Call the library at 403-742-2292 to register.
For complete details, check out www.stettlerboardoftrade.com/CultureDays