Promoting Métis culture a priority for Lanz

At age 70, Marlene Lanz says this may be her last term as Region 3 president for the Métis Nation of Alberta.

Marlene Lanz

Marlene Lanz

At age 70, Marlene Lanz says this may be her last term as Region 3 president for the Métis Nation of Alberta.

But that hasn’t dampened her enthusiasm for the work she’s setting out to accomplish over the next four years.

Lanz was returned to office in the Sept. 2 election, receiving 162 votes. Her sole challenger, Myrtle Beaulieu, received 137 votes.

“I’m very delighted with all the results across Alberta,” said Lanz. “I think we’re going to move this nation forward.”

She said she would work towards gaining designation for several heritage properties, including sites in Medicine Hat, Pincher Creek and near Buffalo Lake.

Lanz also said she wanted to continue to promote and showcase Métis culture in the region, something that has often been neglected by past generations.

As a result of recent growth in the Métis nation, she said, “Now, they’re just coming out, getting back to their roots, learning more about their culture.”

One such effort was the 11th annual Hivernant Days rendezvous in Big Valley, held from Aug. 1 to 3 during the centennial homecoming. Events included a bannock-making contest, voyageur games, crafts and a performance by Métis dancers from the Kikino settlement in northern Alberta.

Lanz also said plans to construct a Métis village at Big Valley are moving forward. The nation has acquired a building and the surrounding land, and applied for a provincial grant.

The next steps will be an environmental assessment and the establishment of a business plan. Further discussions on the project will take place at a meeting this Thursday, Sept. 11.

Lanz was first elected to serve as Region 3 vice-president in 1996, continuing in that role until she was elected president in 2005. She declined to run for office in 2008 but was re-elected in 2011. Terms were previously three years in length but have now been extended to four years.

Audrey Poitras was re-elected the nation’s provincial president for her seventh consecutive term. She has held the role for the past 18 years.

Lawrence Gervais, a program co-ordinator at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, was elected the new vice-president of Region 3 with 185 votes, defeating Victoria Norris, who received 111 votes.

Unofficial vote results were published on Friday, Sept. 5. Recounts were scheduled to take place between Monday, Sept. 8 and Wednesday, Sept. 10.