Celebrating the recognition of Métis culture, identity and history

By: Richard Cuddy, MNO Credit River Métis Council President

Credit River Riel
(Left to right) City of Brampton Regional Councillor Jon Sanderson and MNO Credit River Métis
Council members Councillor Joyce Tolles, President Richard Cuddy and MNO Senator Ray Bergie
during the Riel Day gathering in Brampton.

On Sunday, November 17, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Credit River Métis Council hosted a Louis Riel celebration and gathering in Brampton. MNO citizens from neighbouring MNO Hamilton-Wentworth and MNO Grand River Métis Councils also attended bringing the total number of guest to over 150!

Senator Ray Bergie provided the opening prayer and MNO Credit River Métis Council President Richard Cuddy provided welcoming remarks. President Cuddy also spoke about the significance of 2013 and the dual anniversaries of the MNO and the Powley decision.

During the event, MNO Lands, Resources and Consultations Branch staff presented a “Métis 101” information session. MNO Healing and Wellness staff were also present.

A highlight of the event was Jim Tolles’, a traditional knowledge specialist, display of Métis culture, artifacts and information that spanned more than 50 feet; right across the back of the hall!

Entertainment included performances by the drumming ensemble, the Group Orange Ladies & Good Hearted Women’s Singers, who took the stage for several powerful, traditional songs, Métis Fiddler’s Duo, Kim and Rajan Anderson, champion jigger Modeste McKenzie, and the Olivine Baisquet Métis Dancers.

A door prize, 50/50 draw and a silent auction were conducted by Councillors Maheu, Neville, T. Tolles, Derocher and Senator Bergie.

Guests were treated to a buffet feast consisting of salad, beans, fish soup, scalloped potatoes, vegetables, moose, venison and so much more. Special thanks to the contributions provided by our Harvesters Joe Paquette, President of the MNO Veterans’ Council and Jim Tolles; also to Chef Mike Tenue for the preparation of the venison hind quarter.

The Council would like to thank their volunteers for organizing a successful event; Wendy Elliott, Janice Graham, Helen Barron, Don Lent, Mike Kerr, Jacqueline Warll, Christina Tolles, Ryan Maheu, Angela Cuddy, Samantha Cuddy, Ms. Karen Tolles, Bertha Tolles and Pamela Philips, Jean-Marc Maheu, David Neville, Joyce Tolles, Darlene Lent, Karen Derocher and Taliltha Tolles. Councillor Joyce Tolles was recognized for her hard work, efforts and dedication she exhibited as the lead for the gathering.

Special guests included representatives from Peel Diversity and Inclusion Charter Phase II Combating Racism; Conservation Halton; Centre Ontarien de Prévention des Agressions (COPA); Mississauga Halton and Central West LHINs, Dufferin Peel District Catholic School and Peel District School Boards; Peel Children’s Aid Society; the Region of Halton and Councillor John Sanderson, Regional Councillor for Wards 3 and 4 in the City of Brampton.

“Gatherings like these are vital to our community’s stability, sustainability and growth,” stated President Cuddy. “The Council and MNO staff use these opportunities to deliver important information and to receive instant feedback. All in an afternoon surrounded by family, friends and colleagues; with the chance to jig and enjoy a feast of traditional Métis foods while being serenaded by traditional Métis music. “