Another new venture for a true Métis entrepreneur
Submitted by: Margaret Fleury
Leon Fleury is a Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen and a true Métis entrepreneur. He loves a new challenge as can be seen by his diverse careers as an industrial painting contractor, a steeplejack painter, a thoroughbred racehorse breeder, an owner and manager of two restaurants and a flea market, and a farmer raising horses, cattle, rabbits and goats. Fleury has also owned and operated a used car business for over 45 years and built two homes for himself and his wife, Margaret.
Fleury’s latest venture is Aboriginal drum-making, crafts and herbal healing. His love for Aboriginal arts started with the discovery of his Métis ancestry in 2002. Since then, he has applied his entrepreneurial skills to this area of his life just as he has done in all other areas.
When Fleury was given a medicine bag, it unlocked his curiosity for Aboriginal art and he began making his own medicine bags. He also studied drums at a local Pow Wow and decided to try his hand at drum-making and other crafts. With no training or guidance, he gradually developed his own crafting techniques.
Fleury makes all sizes of hand drums and Pow Wow drums out of moose, buffalo, deer, elk, cow and goat hides. He sells them ready-made but prefers customers to visit his home where he guides them in making their own drums. He also makes small crosses out of horse shoe nails and lock washers. Friends contribute to his hobby by bringing him a variety of bird feathers, which he uses to make smudging feathers.
Fleury enjoys presenting drum-making and medicine bag workshops at Pow Wows and other public events. In February 2014, he was at the Sportsmen’s Show in Toronto and most recently at the Aboriginal Heritage Festival in Fergus. Recently, Garth Pottruff, of the Grand River Rafting Company, in Paris (Ontario), invited Fleury to make drum presentations to school groups.
Fleury also loves to share his Métis knowledge with others and sits on the MNO Clear Waters Métis Council as the Traditional Knowledge Keeper. Through extensive reading, he has developed a broad understanding of wild plants and their uses in traditional Aboriginal healing.
Over the years, Leon has mastered his many skills through observation and experimentation. He is a risk-taker. A true entrepreneur!
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