First French Language MNO Moccasin Camp Held in North BayParticipants in the North Bay MNO Moccasin Camp: (Left to right) Senator
Eugene Contant; Jessica Brunne; Paul Rondeau; Yolande Longpré; Christian Pilon;
Linda Krause; Jessica Contant; Jean-Pierre Pilon; Nicole Charron; Melanie Smits;
Marcel Labelle; Joanne Labelle; Guylaine Morin-Cleroux; MNO Chair, France Picotte;
MNO North Bay Métis Council President, Marc Laurin; Louise Vien;
Senator Micheline Boisvert; Leon Fleury; Senator Alis Kennedy; Chantal Cote;
Claude Boisvert; and MNO Regional Councillor, Pauline Saulnier.

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) held its fifth “Moccasin Camp” the weekend of March 17-18 in North Bay. For the first time, the Moccasin Camp was conducted entirely in French. Moccasin Camps build a community of learners within the Métis Nation. Métis presenters are in high demand from schools, governments and the general public who are interested in learning more about Métis in Ontario. The Camps assist the Métis community by building presentation skills, increasing awareness and instilling pride in our Métis identity. At each camp, community members share what they know about Métis history and culture.

Moccasin Camps provide Métis educators and community leaders–including senators, elders, youth, community councillors, and other active community members–with effective ways of making presentations to different audiences and ways to use various presentation tools such as the “Métis Education Kit”.

The highlight for many of the participants was a presentation by renowned Métis canoe maker, Marcel Labelle. Marcel was assisted by his apprentice, Christian Pilon, and together they demonstrated how they use the canoe as the basis for teaching traditional Métis knowledge. Marcel brought a full-size canoe with him to help with his teaching. Other presenters included Melanie Smits, a Métis student at the University of Sudbury, who has received many academic awards and served in numerous leadership capacities at the university. Melanie related her experiences as a Métis in a post-secondary environment. Louise Vien, a Métis finger-weaving artist, demonstrated her craft and presented on the history of the Métis sash and the variations in sash design.

MNO Chair, France Picotte, and Provisional Council of the MNO Councillor, Pauline Saulnier, were among the over 20 participants. MNO Education and Training staff, including Chantal Cote, Guylaine Morin-Cleroux, Linda Krause and Jessica Brunne, also attended and led sessions on such topics as public speaking skills, presenting Métis material culture, and how to promote Métis education. The participants were provided with tools they can adapt for their own presentations.

MNO Moccasin Camps continue to be an important aspect of the MNO’s programs to expand the Métis presence in Ontario’s schools.