MNO Partner Unveils Traditional Métis CanoeFrom left to right: Denis Hubert-Dutrisac, President of Collège Boréal,
Christian Pilon and Marcel Labelle, Canoe Builders

Collège Boréal at the University of Sudbury was one of the first postsecondary institutions to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO). Currently, the MNO has MOUs with ten Ontario postsecondary institutions. These agreements are the basis for partnership between the MOU and the institution and demonstrate each institution’s commitment to enhance services to Métis students and show sensitivity to Métis culture. MOU agreements with postsecondary institutions were made following a MOU signed between the MNO and the Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities, which in turn followed the signing of the historic MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement in 2008.

Since signing the MOU with the MNO, Collège Boréal has opened the Centre Louis-Riel on its campus. Centre Louis-Riel is the first Métis Centre of its kind at a post-secondary institution in Ontario, and is a special place that welcomes Métis students

As part of the Northern Aboriginal Festival in Sudbury on October 2-3, Collège Boréal officially unveiled its new traditional Métis canoe construction project. This educational initiative aims to familiarize Collège Boréal and area school board students with the ancestral Métis techniques and traditions that were used to explore Ontario over 400 years ago.

This twenty-foot canoe built by Marcel Labelle and Christian Pilon is entirely made from natural materials such as birch bark and spruce roots. It has important historical and spiritual significance, as Collège Boréal’s President Denis Hubert-Dutrisac explains: “We see the construction of this canoe as a way to make our students aware of the richness of their past and the importance of respecting our environment.”

The construction of this traditional Métis canoe began this summer and it will be launched in November.