By Shawna Hansen, MNO Community Wellness Coordinator, Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie National Aboriginal Day ExpoMembers of the Métis Dance Club and the MNO Sumer Youth Cultural Program at the
Sault Ste. Marie National Aboriginal Day Expo: ( Left to Right) Back row – Marie Chalykoff,
Justine Chalykoff, Nikki Doucette, Melody Chislett, Rebekah Trudel, Jada Whalen,
Genieve Routhier, Madison Bissonette Front row – Breanna Doucette,
Savannah Hansen, Chasity King

On National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2012, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) partnered with the Sault College Native Education Department in an Expo of Aboriginal arts and culture at the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Canal. MNO staff based in Sault Ste. Marie and MNO Summer Youth Cultural Program students, and volunteers hosted an afternoon of culture and arts including artisans who showcased their talents and wares featuring everything from canned goods to jewellery to paintings. For all participants, young and old, there was fresh cut fruit as well as water in order to beat the heat and stay hydrated.

After an opening prayer from MNO Senator Brenda Powley, the Métis Dance Club performed and engaged participants in learning traditional Métis jigging. The Dance Club is comprised of various age groups and encouraged everyone to dance and if not dance at least tap their toes along to the fiddle music.

Donny Hansen, a Métis trapper, was invited to share his knowledge and teachings with participants who were curious about the Métis way-of-life. He brought with him a beaver as well as a beaver pelt that he encouraged participants to touch and explore alongside a variety of traps and tools of his trade.

For the children, MNO Staff and students hosted a dot painting station and Sault College Native Education Department hosted face painting and a bubble station. For those who were looking for information on programs and services, The MNO set up a table about its training initiatives.