Sharing Our Pride: An Evening of Métis Storytelling and Cultural Performance

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The Métis Fiddler Quartetpanel
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"Elvis" (James Kirkham, comedian) serenading the audience

During the evening of August 26, the delegates to the 2012 MNO Annual General Assembly (AGA) were treated to an enjoyable evening listening and watching some of the top Métis entertainers in Ontario and hearing stories about the Métis contribution to the defense of Canada during the War of 1812.

Sharing Our Pride: An Evening of Métis Storytelling and Cultural Performance was a star-studded gala hosted by James Kirkham, a comedian and impressionist. He kept the audience laughing and engaged with sing-a-longs to popular songs and did not shy away from going into the audience to sing to audience members on a one-to-one basis, which usually resulted in hilarity.

The first act of the evening was local to the Sault Ste. Marie area. The Métis Dancers featured children as young as four, right up to senior citizens, who performed three traditional Métis dances under the guidance of mentors Senator Brenda Powley and Anne Trudel. Accompanied by Senator Ruth Wagner on fiddle, the young children in particular impressed the audience who gave them a rousing standing ovation.

This was followed by an energetic performance by the renowned Métis Fiddler Quartet. Playing several traditional Métis songs but also adapting other music to the Métis style including Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues, the Quartet demonstrated why they are a growing force in the Ontario and Aboriginal music scenes.

Following an intermission, the Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year Award was presented by MNO President Gary Lipinski. This year the selection committee chose two winners because the quality of both candidates was so high.  Senators Marlene Greenwood and Olivine Tiedema were both recognized for their many years of dedicated to service to the MNO, Métis rights and self-government.

The storytelling part of the program followed. In a panel chaired by Dr. Chris Paci, MNO Manager of Education, Senator Bob McKay, Barbaranne Wright and Genevieve Routhier provided stories highlighting Métis contributions during the War of 1812. Their stories increased awareness of the important role the Métis during the War and the need to make more people aware that the Métis were fighting for Canada before there was a Canada.

The evening was brought to a successful conclusion by two singers from Fort Frances both with experience performing across Canada and the United States. Pat (Calder) Cupp and Brittney Hayes provided the audience with a series of classic staples as well as some favorite new country hits. In one of the evening’s highlights, Pat was joined by members of the Métis Fiddler Quartet.

By the end of the evening, all in attendance were indeed filled with pride in their Métis heritage!

Click here for a slide show featuring pictures from the Sharing Our Pride evening.