(Surrey, BC) – This year the Cloverdale Invitational Rodeo and county fair has expanded its programming to include for the first time an Aboriginal Gathering Place. This year’s 125th annual country fair is breaking new ground with an exhibit that honors and celebrates British Columbia’s thousands year old Aboriginal culture and history. Several thousand visitors were able to tour the new event addition.
The Aboriginal Gathering Place was an inclusive interactive pavilion where visitors were immersed in authentic Aboriginal culture featuring dancing, drumming, singing, traditional and regalia and the stories and song that date back to the land before written history.
Cloverdale Rodeo guests were able to tour the Aboriginal Gathering Place and experience interactive displays from the BC Metis Federation, Semiahmoo First Nation and Kwikwetlam First Nation bringing together visitors from all backgrounds guided through the exhibit by Native cultural ambassadors into a welcoming space of learning and traditional festivities. Guests had a unique opportunity to explore exceptional archival pieces that represent Aboriginal history and culture in British Columbia including the 2010 Olympic TeePee, Don Welshe’s Semiahmoo First Nation fishing village diorama and two stunning hand-carved-carved cedar canoes from the Kwikwetlam First Nation.
BC Metis Federation President Keith Henry stated;“One again the BC Mètis Federation showed leadership by providing a stunning Métis cultural display with our partners from the Michif Historical and Preservation Society. Volunteers supported the float during the event parade on Friday, provided daily dance displays, answered questions at our information booth, and showcased traditional Métis regalia.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added; “Thank you to all of our volunteers including cultural ambassador Beverly Lambert, Michif Historical Society representative Derrick Whiteskycloud, BC Métis Federation member Sharon Eyford, BC Métis Federation board member Maxine Lavallee, BC Métis Federation member Phil Lavallee, BC Métis Federation board member Richard lucier Larsen, Canadian Aboriginal Veterans and Serving Members President Richard Blackwolf, Vancouver Métis Citizens Society President Ron Paradis, Nova Métis Heritage Association member Joe Shannon, plus numerous others. The dedication from all was excellent and there was numerous questions about our Métis culture. There was a very positive atmosphere and attending these mainstream events is an important way to educate the tens of thousands of Cloverdale attendees.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded; “Thank you the event organizers for this vision and opportunity for the Aboriginal community. The BC Métis Federation was a proud partner and the Aboriginal Gathering Place was an incredible opportunity. BC Métis Federation was proud to provide authentic Métis culture as we kick off our summer of cultural events for 2013. Our team is preparing for many cultural events this summer across the province and we strongly encourage all British Columbians to come out and celebrate our culture and learn about our Métis community. Next weekend, May 25th and 26th, BC Métis Federation will be at Eurofest held in Burnaby and we look forward to seeing one and all there.”
For more information about the BC Métis Federation please go to www.bcmetis.com.
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
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