Weaving the Sash: Land-based knowledge exchange between youth from two Councils

Submitted by: Métis youth Elise St. Germain and Dalton Latondress

Weaving the sash_Toronto_Georgian Bay Councils
Youth from the MNO Toronto and York Region Métis
Council and the MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council gathered
in Midland for the Land-Based Knowledge Exchange
workshop. Click here to view a larger version of the

On September 15, 2016, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Toronto and York Region Métis Council (TYRMC) Youth Committee and the MNO Georgian Bay Métis Council (GBMC) hosted a land-based knowledge exchange at Wye Marsh in Midland, Ontario. This event marked the end of the Weaving the Sash: Métis youth, culture, and connection project‒an MNO TYRMC Youth Committee-led project funded by Laidlaw Foundation.

The day started early for the MNO TYRMC youth with an eventful 7:00 a.m. bus ride. Though the bus had some mechanical difficulties halfway, they were able to use what they had (as is the Métis way) to get to the nearest Tim Horton’s and wait for a replacement.

It was a successful day for youth and volunteers from the MNO GBMC, in part because a majority of participants arrived at the event between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. The morning was spent getting everything set up for the arrival of the MNO TYRMC youth.   

Once they finally made it to Midland, the MNO TYRMC youth were pleased to find so many children, youth, and elders from Georgian Bay waiting to greet them as they were quickly ushered into canoes. After a beautiful canoe trip around the marsh, Métis Knowledge Keeper Janice Ferris taught the youth how to make a salve from medicinal plants with olive oil, vegetable oil, and beeswax. After a delicious elk and bison lunch, which was provided by the MNO GBMC, Georgian Bay Islands National Park Naturalist and Heritage Presenter Shawn Corbiere gave fire-starting teachings and led a medicine walk. The day ended with dinner at the MNO Midland office followed by jigging and music by MNO citizens Liam and Alicia Blore. Though rainy, it was a full and rewarding day!

Most of the Georgian Bay youth and elders that grew up around the area have experienced what the marsh has to offer over the years. However, this was the first time an event like this has happened between two Councils from different regions. The event provided an opportunity for both Councils to broaden their views as the MNO TYRMC youth tended to be older than their MNO GBMC counterparts. The MNO GBMC youth in particular were able to learn from the Elders and older youth from the MNO TYRMC.

For the MNO TYRMC youth, the knowledge exchange was a wonderful way to connect with the land and to gain skills that are difficult to access in the city. Sitting down with youth, Elders, Senators, and Knowledge Keepers from another region also provided a unique opportunity for relationship building.

This event, and the others in the series, would not have been possible without the help of some amazing volunteers. Their efforts are greatly appreciated by many especially from the youth who attended these events. Both Councils extend a grateful “Maarsi!” to all!

To celebrate the end of the Weaving the Sash project, the MNO TYRMC Youth Committee will make a special presentation on November 19, 2016 at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto during the MNO TYRMC’s Louis Riel Day Celebration, which included a feast for the community. 

For more information on the Weaving the Sash Project, please contact tyrmc.youth@gmail.com.

Learn more about the MNO TYRMC, by visiting their website at http://www.torontoyorkmetis.com/ and their Facebook and Twitter (@TOYorkMetis) accounts.

Learn more about the MNO GBMC, by visiting their website at http://www.georgianbaymetiscouncil.com/, as well as their Council Facebook account and their Youth Facebook account. 

Published on: November 14, 2016

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