Darlene Lent, Credit River Métis Council’s Woman
Representative presents Corporal Cheryle Hayden,
RCMP Métis Community Liaison, with a pair of
handmade moose hide moccasins and a coffee table book.
Click here to view a larger version of the picture

With the smell of fresh blueberry rababoo on the stove, bannock in the oven and cedar tea in the air, a group of strong women and their allies gathered at Peel Aboriginal Network (PAN) in Mississauga to celebrate, empower and thank women for all they do.

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Credit River Métis Council and the MNO Brampton office sponsored a Female Empowerment Event on February 16-17. Hosted by Darlene Lent, Credit River Métis Council’s Woman Representative, the event created a positive, safe space where all women could share and express themselves.

After an opening prayer and smudge, Darlene taught participants how to make her family’s traditional bannock and rababoo, a type of stew popular amongst the voyageurs and fur traders. Participants were amazed that such a delicious meal could be prepared in under 30 minutes.

Participants received instruction in Métis beadwork. As the work began the room filled with laughter as stories of strength, resilience and togetherness were shared. Beginners tried not to prick their fingers, experts passed on their knowledge and wisdom. You could feel the positive energy flow within the group, it was a truly moving experience.

Participants also learned about the medicine pouch. They discovered that medicine could be anything that a person uses to aid them through their healing, whether it be sacred medicine, a pebble from the Grand Canyon, or picture of a loved one. The women were encouraged to gift their medicine pouch to men in their lives whom they felt went above and beyond in showing women they were respected and loved.

Corporal Cheryle Hayden, RCMP Métis Community Liaison, was on hand to share her expertise of martial arts. She taught the woman proper form when punching and ways to break from different attacks. She followed up with improv skits and games that had participants on the floor with laughter.

The weekend concluded with gratitude painting. Participants were asked to reflect on things they were grateful for and create a physical representation as a reminder of that thankfulness. It was insightful to see the different ways participants viewed such a topic, everything from paintings of nature to favourite getaway spots.

The event concluded with a closing prayer. All in all a great weekend for those in attendance.

Posted: May 13, 2019