Welland Museum Exhibit Recalls History of the Métis in Ontario

By Victoria Gray of the Welland Tribune: original article posted Here

Welland Museum Exhibit
Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Métis Exhibit at the Welland Historical
Museum: (left to right) MNO staff member Glen Lipinski, MNO citizen Judy Baxter, MNO
Vice-chair Sharon McBride, Niagara Region Métis Council President Stephen Quesnelle,
Welland City Councillor Paul Grenier and Museum Curator Penny Morningstar.

WELLAND — The Métis have been called "the forgotten people."

"Not today," said a tearful Penny Morningstar, curator of the Welland Historical Museum.

On Saturday members of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) including the MNOI Niagara Region Métis Council, members of Welland City Council and the public filled the Welland Historical Museum for the opening of Infinite History: Métis in Niagara, the first museum exhibition centred on the Métis in Ontario.

People also came to help usher in what they hope will be a new era of understanding and acceptance of the Métis and their culture. According to a 2006 census, there are more then 2,000 Métis in the Niagara area.

Stephen Quesnelle, President of the Niagara Region Metis Council, said the idea for the exhibit has been in the works since 2009.

"This is Canada's history — the Métis people," Quesnelle said. "Just like other cultures who came to this country, they teach (their culture), share it and keep it (alive). We have to do the same, we were the forgotten people for 125 years. We want people to know who we are and where we come from."

Welland Ward Three Councillor Paul Grenier, a member of the Métis community, said he was proud to help share the history with the community and hoped to continue to promote the culture throughout the city.

Members of the Niagara Region Metis Council give presentations to Niagara area and in this way students are taught the history of the Métis.

Quesnelle was pleased to report the council already has 10 presentations planned for this year.

"The children are always very interested when I tell them about how we lived and helped develop this great country of Canada," Quesnelle said.

Morningstar told the crowd one of the best things about working in a museum is that she has a chance to educate museum visitors about pieces of important Canadian history they may not have known, including the Métis. She added museums don't sugar coat the truth.

"We're always learning and we always will be until the day we die," she said.

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