On February 20, 2017, The Métis Dance Club of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council (HSSMC) performed to a packed audience at The Machine Shop in Sault Ste. Marie. The performance was part of the Bon Soo Festival, which coincided with Passport to Unity 2017. Passport to Unity is a yearly cultural event held in Sault Ste. Marie celebrating all ethnic groups calling Sault Ste. Marie their home. In 2016, Bon Soo the Sault Ste. Marie Winter Carnival added Passport to Unity to their schedule events.
The Bon Soo Festival typically features food booths and displays along with cultural entertainment. Since its early days, the Sault Ste. Marie Métis community has participated in Bon Soo. The MNO HSSMC involvement started with Councillor Carla Labee serving bannock with strawberry jam, while the Métis Dance Club performed on stage. More recently, the dance performance has expanded to include songs that encourage audience participation.
This year, some of the youth performed the Heel Toe Polka and the Seven Step while the youngest in attendance played the spoons. They were joined by adult members singing Voyageur inspired songs. The two songs selected were Vive La Compangie and Alouette. Like the name of the winter carnival Bon Soo, Bon being the French word for “good” and Soo being the local colloquial term for Sault Ste. Marie; these songs reflect the mixed heritage of the Métis. The lively tune and unchanging refrain in both familiar songs made it easy for audiences to participate. It also gave the attendees an appreciation for the long days put in by Métis voyageurs and how they used songs to speed them towards their destinations.
Posted: March 31, 2017