Moccasin Camp a Meaningful and Useful Experience for Métis Citizens

Moccasin Camp MidlandScott Carpenter with the MNO Education & Training Branch speaks about the
significance of the sash to Métis culture during the Midland Moccasin Camp.
The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Education and Training Branch has recently started offering Métis Boot Camps to provide MNO citizens training on presenting about Métis history, culture and issues in Ontario. The participants at a recent Boot Camp in Midland were an enthusiastic and engaged group who quickly adopted a suggestion from Senator Roland St. Germain that these events would be more appropriately called Moccasin Camps. So, from now on, these training events shall be known as Moccasin Camps!

Moccasin camps address the increasing demand from schools, governments and among the general public for information about the Métis. As well, the camps assist Métis by increasing awareness and pride about Métis identity, which leads us all to want to learn more about Métis history and culture. In response to this growing demand, Moccasin Camps, provide Métis educators and community leaders including senators, elders, youth, community councillors and other activists with training on effective ways of making presentations to different audiences and how to use various presentation tools to explain Métis heritage and current issues.

During the weekend of January 29-30 over 30 MNO citizens from the Moon River, Toronto-York, Georgian Bay, Credit River and Midland Community Councils gathered in Midland for a Moccasin Camp. The group included Senators Audrey Vallee, Roland St. Germain, Cecile Wagar, Alis Kennedy, Andre Bosse and Verna Porter as well as MNO Chair France Picotte. MNO Education and Training staff members, Chris Paci, Bonny Cann, Scott Carpenter, Chris McLeod and Guylaine Morin-Cleroux led sessions on such topics as public speaking skills, presenting Métis material culture, and how to promote Métis culture. The participants were also provided with a power point presentation called Métis 201, which they can adapt for their own presentations.

Highlights for many participants included Scott Carpenter’s beautiful display of Métis artefacts and a similar impressive display brought by Jim Tolles of the Credit River Métis Council.  Reaction for the participants was very positive. “The Moccasin camp was great,” stated Larry Duval, the President of the Moon River Métis Council, “I learned something new about my Métis heritage and gained more confidence in my public speaking ability.  This type of education is very important because it helps people get a better understanding of Métis history and culture."

Kathy Morgan, an MNO citizen from the Toronto area, commented: “I loved the Moccasin Camp! I hadn’t had the chance to expose myself to this kind of learning before and it was really quite wonderful.”  During discussion about how to tell the Métis story, Kathy shared the story of her own family, which everyone felt was quite moving. Kathy is a descendent of Louis Riel’s grandparents Jean Baptiste Lagimodière and Marie-Anne Gaboury. She explained that as a teenager she had resisted learning about her Métis heritage, a time when she could have learned from her mother and other elders. However, now that her mother has passed she is actively trying to re-connect with her Métis identity. It was a powerful story that many at the camp could identify with.

After the completion of the camp, Chair Picotte presented each participant with a certificate recognizing that they had completed the camp.

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