Rayann Conrad

Rayann Conrad

Smaller attendance, but same big fun at Spring Fling

Numbers may have been down at this year's Hivernant Métis Cultural Society's Spring fling this past Saturday, May 7.

Numbers may have been down at this year’s Hivernant Métis Cultural Society’s Spring fling this past Saturday, May 7, but that was due to other events taking place in the province, not a lack of interest.

Shirley Vols, a Big Valley resident and vice-president of the society, said that a charity casino obligation had taken away many of the usual guests, and the fire in Fort McMurray had tied up others in volunteer work.

Despite that, there was still a healthy number of people who attended the event in Big Valley. Central Alberta’s Métis community gathered in the village’s community hall to enjoy traditional Métis fare like buffalo stew, activities like fiddling and jigging, as well as bid on items donated for a silent auction.

Many attendees proudly wore the arrow-sash, the traditional Métis sash worn by North America’s voyageurs and first Métis. Others wore pins or shirts bearing the Métis symbol of the infinity sign, which pre-dates Canada as a nation, as it was first used to identify the Métis people in 1814.

After supper, the music began, with country tunes seguing into fiddling reels and jigs, the traditional music of the Métis people.

Dorothy Bergum, secretary of the society, is also one of its most active dancers. Every year, she comes and teaches the traditional jigs to the youngsters who come to the events, and is working with others on a project to make recordings of the Métis culture and history to help preserve it for future generations.

This year, she led dancers in a square dance that had everyone laughing and clapping, starting off the night’s dancing on a bright note.