Métis monument unveiled at the official closing of the commemoration of 400 years of French presence in Ontario

Based on the following article: http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/official-closing-of-the-commemoration-of-400-years-of-french-presence-in-ontario-582491141.html

Métis monument_Penetanguishene
(L-R) Former Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs
Madeleine Meilleur, PCMNO Chair France Picotte, MNO
Region 7 Captain of the Hunt Greg Garratt, MNO Summer
Youth Cultural Program Lead Katelyn Lacroix, MNO
Summer Youth Cultural Program Lead Melissa St. Amant,
MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council President David
Dusome, and Mayor of Penetanguishene Gerry Marshall.
Click here to view a larger version.

On June 10, 2016, the Office of Francophone Affairs, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Town of Penetanguishene hosted a special event at Rotary Champlain Wendat Park in Penetanguishene to mark the official closing of the commemoration of 400 years of French presence in Ontario.

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was well represented at the event. The Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) Chair France Picotte brought greetings on behalf of the MNO. MNO Summer Youth Cultural Program (SYCP) facilitators were also present at the event and set up a booth where attendees could learn more about Métis history and culture. MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council President David Dusome and MNO Region 7 Captain of the Hunt Greg Garratt were also in attendance.

An important moment at the event was when Chair Picotte and SYCP Leads Katelyn Lacroix and Melissa St. Amant helped unveil a Métis monument that depicts an Indigenous woman and a European man. The monument was sculpted by Timothy P. Schmalz. There is a plaque beneath the statue entitled “Métis: The Métis Nation”, which reads as follows:

“Prior to Canada becoming a nation, a new Aboriginal people emerged out of the relations of Native women and European men. The initial offspring of these unions were individuals of mixed ancestry who resulted in the beginning of a new Aboriginal people with a distinct identity and culture in west central North America — the Métis Nation.

These Métis people were connected through the fur trade network, extensive kinship and a collective identity. In Ontario, historic Métis settlements emerged along the rivers and watersheds of the province, surrounding the Great Lakes and throughout to the northwest of the province. One of these settlements was a vibrant community in Huronia. In fact, Métis were among the region’s earliest settlers to Penetanguishene with the Drummond Island Migration of 1828 to 1829.”

On August 1, 1615, French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived on the shores of Georgian Bay in the region of what is now Penetanguishene.  Rotary Champlain Wendat Park commemorates Champlain's visit to the region. The park's Legacy Walkway features six statues portraying individuals and peoples significant to the history of Ontario and Canada. Three provincial plaques located at the park share the story of Champlain's sojourn in Ontario in 1615, told in English, French, Anishinabe, Montagnais-Innu, Mohawk and Wendat. A companion provincial plaque was unveiled at Champlain's point of departure from France, in Honfleur, last October.

"The 400th Commemoration was a unique opportunity to recognize the significant contributions of our founding peoples to making Ontario the diverse and dynamic province of today,” said Madeleine Meilleur, former Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. “Ontario is pleased to offer these plaques to the Town and residents of Penetanguishene in the revitalized Rotary Champlain Wendat Park. This is an important legacy of the 400th and a tribute to the key role played by First Nations, Métis and Francophones in our province's development."

Published on: June 17, 2016

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