MNO Infinite Reach hosts largest Métis specific event at the University of Waterloo
Submitted by: Alicia Blore, MNO Infinite Reach Facilitator for the University of Waterloo
A Métis cultural event held in November at the University of Waterloo was not only a great success but it was also the largest Métis specific event the university has seen. The event was hosted by Alicia Blore who is the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Infinite Reach Facilitator for the university.
This was Blore’s first time hosting an event in her position as a MNO Infinite Reach Facilitator. The event was held at the university’s Aboriginal Education Centre and provided an opportunity to promote Métis culture to the university’s students and faculty. It also served as an outreach opportunity for Métis and other indigenous students who were unaware of the university’s Aboriginal community.
The event had an amazing turnout of roughly 100 people. The opening prayer was presented by MNO Grand River Métis Council Senator Carol Levis. This was followed by a Métis poetry reading by a University of Waterloo student and a presentation by MNO Grand River Métis Council President Cora Bunn and Senator Levis on Métis people, history and culture, including a background on the MNO.
Other aspects of the event included a finger weaving workshop, several display booths, a community development board where attendees wrote down what community means to them, and traditional bannock and hot cedar tea tastings.
The event would not have been complete without the toe tapping sounds of traditional Métis fiddling. Accordingly, the talented Blore played the fiddle and taught several audience members how to jig the “Red River Jig”.
Blore’s favourite moment at the event was when a Métis student who was not very familiar with the university’s Aboriginal centre or very knowledgeable of his Metis heritage, dropped in and tried his first piece of bannock!
A first of its kind at the university, many of the attendees have requested for more Métis events in the future. Blore is very grateful to the volunteers, the MNO, and the coordinator at the University of Waterloo’s Aboriginal Education Centre who took time out of their busy schedules and provided materials to help make the event possible.
The MNO Infinite Reach: Métis Solidarity Network is comprised of incoming and upper year post-secondary students who have the common goal of working together to enrich and enhance their post-secondary education experience. Infinite Reach facilitators offer assistance to incoming Métis students by helping them adjust to university life and also work to create and maintain a sense of community among Métis students. Throughout the year, Infinite Reach facilitators host cultural and informative events to connect students to the local MNO community councils and various programs, services and events of the MNO. To learn more about MNO’s Infinite Reach program visit: /programs/education--training/infinite-reach
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