(Fort St. James, BC) Representatives from the British Columbia Métis Federation (BCMF) attended and fully supported the Métis Day celebrations this past weekend on Saturday, August 27th at Fort St. James National Historic Site of Canada. The Métis Day event included attendance a few members of the New Caledonia Métis Association in Fort St. James, Métis Nation British Columbia, and a number of individuals from the Prince George Métis Elders. By all accounts the event was a major success and Bob Grill, the site manager, was pleased with the turnout of approximately 200 people despite the fact that there were other community events this past weekend.
Métis entertainment was provided by some well known Métis fiddle players Raynie Gervais, Vern Gervais, René Therrien and their accompaniment, Lloyd Gervais on the guitar and Larry Lilley on bass. There were many requests from the audience for the fiddlers and an announcement from Norm Dagenais that one of the fiddlers, René Therrien had represented all Métis by playing in Ottawa for the Prime Minister Paul Martin a few years ago.
Beverly Lambert, the BCMF Culture Ambassador, did a fabulous job promoting Métis culture throughout the day. Beverly was seen working and encouraging attendee’s, both young and old, to celebrate their Métis culture and participate in jigging performances. She kept the young jiggers on their toes and the audience participating throughout the day.
BCMF Cultural Ambassador Beverly Lambert stated: “This was truly a day to remember! Thank you to everyone who organized the event, especially Rose Bortolon, Jeanine Bortolon and Métis community elder and former president June Hedden and her son Dean. I was raised with respect and that when someone comes into your home you always welcomed them with open arms. The whole Métis community in Fort St. James came to together to celebrate our Métis culture in a family traditional way this past weekend. The grassroots Métis artists Rene Therrien, Rene Gervais, Vern Gervais, and the backup guitarist really brought the spirit to the Métis cultural celebration. These Métis cultural performers are the ones who bring the people together and have my highest honour and respect. Many Métis elders attended and had a blast playing spoons, and watched their grandkids jigging. When you leave and your elders are beaming and telling you how much they enjoyed the day, my heart is filled with Métis pride again. Culture brings people together and with the BC Métis Federation this will always be priority and to fly our flag signifies this.”
BCMF President Keith Henry stated; “I want to congratulate the Métis community in Fort St. James for supporting this important cultural event. BCMF recently presented work produced by BCMF Historical Consultants George and Terry Goulet regarding Fort St. James and how the Métis people played a key role in the development in this community in the 1800s. It is important that our historical story in this area is known and celebrated.”
BCMF President Henry added; “I sincerely want to thank our BCMF board members Rose Bortolon, Rene Therrien and Beverly Lambert. Once again they showcased their commitment to Métis culture this past weekend, a priority of the BCMF. Our team put aside politics and made significant contributions in terms of organization, cultural performances and genuine support for this Métis Day event. They respected all attendee’s, including a few MNBC representatives, as our cultural is more important than our current divisions.”
BCMF President Henry concluded; “BCMF actions to support Métis culture in Métis communities throughout BC in August speak louder than words. BCMF representatives attended the Felker Lake Métis events (Williams Lake), hosted another Métis Day at the Klahowya Village in Stanley Park (Vancouver), and ended with this past weekend in Fort St. James. Our representatives were not paid by the BCMF to attend and each of our representatives added significant value to showcase Métis culture. I am so proud of our team at BCMF for their personal commitment to support our culture. MNBC finally attended this past weekend but I am curious to know if they received travel expenses to attend and what other contributions were made to support these events if any? Regardless I hope the Métis community knows they can count on BCMF for cultural support when requested.”
The BCMF flag and the Infinity Flag were visible at the entertainment center with a lot of curiosity and questions about the meaning of the flags. The three BCMF board members answered a number of questions throughout the day and there was great respect and support.
BC Métis Federation
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