The Métis Nation Columbia River Society has proclaimed the week of Nov. 15-21 “Métis Week” in Golden and Area A, a week dedicated to the recognition and celebration of Métis heritage and culture.
The Métis society is seeking to raise awareness of the Métis in modern society, with a mandate to teach the history of Indigenous people with the local population and to try and move towards reconciliation, according to Davene Dunn of the society.
“It’s important to understand what has happened to indigenous people so that the generation that is still suffering from intergenerational trauma can be proud of who they are and not hide it anymore,” said Dunn.
“It’s a celebration of our culture so that we can share it with our brothers and sister in Golden.”
The Métis are one of three federally recognized Indigenous peoples in Canada, along with the Inuit and First Nations.
“We’re not half of anything, we’re born of a marriage between two very different peoples,” said Dunn.
“We’re blessed with the best fruit of both.”
The week falls over the anniversary of the execution of Louis Riel, who was hung on Nov. 16, 1885, for treason, after years of resistance to the Canadian government and advocating for the Métis people.
Riel is often called the father of Manitoba, after leading the Red River resistance and negotiating Manitoba’s entry to confederation as the fifth province and defending his Métis people. He was also crucial in the North-West rebellion in 1884 at the request of the Métis.
“I think he represents to us all the hurt that our families have experienced,” said Dunn.
“To look up to Louis, he tried so hard to make it right for Metis who were losing their land to the colonizers. He represents hope, as well as the past.”
The Métis have a long history in Golden, dating back two centuries, when Baptiste Morigeau opened the first general story and settled the area. It was Morigeau who first gave Golden its name.
In Golden, the Métis work with local partners to promote their message and increase education and awareness.
They put on clinics and workshops, such as basketweaving, buffalo hide preparing and drum making, which are open to everyone in Golden, to help pass on their culture.
“It’s very important because it’s can be lost when only the elders know it,” said Dunn.
“The people just in Golden have done a wonderful job of acceptance and many other things, but all over if they would just help us work towards reconciliation, I think that’s important.”
Dunn says Golden residents can help work towards reconciliation by educating themselves on the 94 Calls to Action, which were released in 2015, as well as by acknowledging the land Golden is on.
For Métis Week, the Métis will not be able to hold the activities that they usually would.
A lot of their work will be moving online, which can be accessed on their Facebook page, found by searching Metis Nation Columbia River Society.