Fort Frances Métis exhibit grand opening
Information from: Marlene Deschamps of the West End Weekly and Duane Hicks of the Fort Frances Time. With contributions from Wanda Botsford of the MNO Sunset County Métis Council.
The original articles can be viewed at: http://www.westendweekly.ca/pdf%20wew%20editions/april_24_2013.pdf and
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizens from the MNO Sunset Country Métis Council were involved in the creation of the most recent exhibit at the Fort Frances Museum, which showcases Métis people and culture.
The exhibit entitled, “Our Local Métis Story,” highlights the history of the Métis in the Fort Frances area, as well as, MNO President Gary Lipinski’s contributions to the Métis Nation.
The official opening of the exhibit took place on April 22. In attendance were many prominent Métis citizens including President Lipinski and Métis rights lawyer Jason Madden. MNO's Chief Operations Officer Doug Wilson and Fort Frances Mayor Roy Avis were also in attendance.
The evening began with a welcome by Museum Curator Sherry George who spoke of the connections to local history and the alliances that were a direct result of the fur trade. She went on to explain how Fort Frances grew out of a Métis community and how Métis embody the history of the region.
She reflected on the advancement of the Métis and how all people can now enjoy their lively music and dance, their fabulous bead work and their continued contribution to the Fort Frances area.
Mayor Avis spoke briefly on how he learned the Métis redefined the history Canada and thanked President Lipinski for all his hard work and contributions.
President Lipinski thanked all attendees and those responsible for bringing the exhibit together. “This really is our story both historical and contemporary,” he said. He also spoke about the history of Métis in Fort Frances, his home town, and how the region grew out of the Métis fur trade.
President Lipinski also took this time to speak about how the recent court rulings will now recognize the Métis’ rightful place in history. He explained how the Daniel’s case and the Manitoba land claim case are fulfilling Riels dream for the Métis nation. “It is was good to celebrate what we have given and continue to give,” he stated.
Métis rights lawyer, Jason Madden, noted that it was great to come home as he was part of the Calder clan in Fort Frances. He added that the exhibit was very timely as they were winning more often in court and that the Federal Court of Appeal will be held in September and that the Treaties in Ontario and the West must be addressed.
Madden also spoke to an Adhesion to Treaty #3 that stated “half breeds” (Métis) were included. He said they will breathe life into those promises and that the trail of broken promises must be understood and fulfilled. He went on to say the exhibit was important and relevant and this community keeps getting recognized in the courts because of the Adhesion.
The exhibit is a joint venture combining the efforts of several organizations. Museum curator Sherry George took a moment to recognize the committee who worked over a year and a half to put together the exhibit. Committee members included: Wanda Botsford, Anne-Marie Armstrong, Bob and Erma Armit, Dylinda & John George and Gerry Guimond of the MNO Sunset Country Métis Council, Wendy Orchard of the Rainy River District School Board, Michelle Tymkin of the Northwest Catholic School Board, Smokey and Ginny Bruyere and Glen Jourdain of Couchiching First Nation, Art Hunter of Kay-Nah-Chi-WahNung and Merv Ahrens, local author and historian.
The exhibit will remain open until the end of this school year so the schools can bring students to study the history of the area.
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