We Are Here – On Nay Icit
Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives official grand opening event
By: Bill Morrison, Vice President and Chair of the MNO Credit River Métis Council
On Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, the Métis Nation of Ontario’s (MNO) Credit River Métis Council participated in the grand opening of the Aboriginal exhibit, We Are Here at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA).
It was a very proud and meaningful moment for all who contributed and attended. MNO Chair France Picotte spoke at the event and provided the translation of We Are Here into Michif as On Nay Icit.
Before viewing the exhibit, Chair Picotte participated in the symbolic Ribbon Ceremony held during the opening ceremonies where she and Aboriginal representatives (Garry Sault, Carolyn King and Vince Musson) joined red, black, yellow and white ribbons together to symbolize unity and the future.
The exhibit featured a video station presentation by MNO Credit River Métis Council President Richard Cuddy describing the organization and its activities. A panel board that depicted the history, culture and arts of our nation was also featured. A great deal of pride and dedication was portrayed in all the material presented within the exhibit.
MNO Credit River Métis Council members who attended included: Senator Ray Bergie, Talitha Tolles, Karen Derocher, Chair Bill Morrison and Councillors Darlene Lent and Jean-Marc Maheu. Regrets were also acknowledged from President Cuddy, Treasurer Joyce Tolles, Councillor Murray Berger, Councillor David Neville and Jim Tolles.
Prior to the opening ceremony, a Smudging ceremony was performed by Karen Derocher and Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
Approximately 100 participants attended the ceremonies and were welcomed by PAMA manager and event master of ceremonies, Clair Loughheed. Sault began the ceremony with the opening prayer which was followed by introductions of notable speakers by Loughheed.
Among notable speakers were: Emil Kold, Chair Regional Council and CEO for the Region of Peel; the Hon. Susan Fennel, Mayor of the City of Brampton; Allan Thompson, Acting Mayor for the Town of Caledon; John Sanderson, Councillor for the City of Brampton; Carolyn King, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation; and Pat Chrisjohn, Oneida First Nation and PAN member.
Members of PAMA’s Aboriginal Committee were also announced and included: Jo-Anne Absolon, Debbie Alves, Kevin Alves, Judy Carter, Pat Chrisjohn, Delmor Jacobs, John KL Keeshig, Carolyn King, Damian MacSeain, Pauline Sutherland; and MNO Credit River Métis Council members President Richard Cuddy, Senator Ray Bergie, Vice-President and Chair Bill Morrison and MNO Vice-Chair Sharon McBride.
Following the speeches, participants enjoyed the music of Alorut Inuit Throat Singers, Raiglee and Jennifer Alorut, as well as hand drumming performed by Judy Carte, Pat Chrisjohn and Jo-Anne Absolon and traditional Métis fiddle music performed by Rajan Anderson.
As part of the grand opening celebrations, PAMA hosted a Family Day on Monday, Feb. 18, at the Gallery Museum. The event was a huge success and over 300 visits to the We Are Here exhibit.
A number of activities were planned and supported by MNO Credit River Métis Council for the youngsters in attendance. Instruction was supplied by MNO Credit River Métis Council citizens, Kyl Morrison and three of his daughters Matilda, Parker and Jordan. They demonstrated the skills of finger weaving and assisted many children create multi-coloured bracelets.
Other activities included paper canoe making, sash colouring and fiddle drawing. The activities were well received and enjoyed as a great Family Day experience.
Fun was had by all and the PAMA staff appreciated the support provided by the MNO Credit River Métis Council children.
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