Submitted by: Sarah Marusyk, MNO Community Wellness Coordinator

Fall Harvest Celebration_Rainy River
Students celebrate Métis culture by dancing the Virginia
Reel. Click here to view a larger version of the picture.

From October 5 to 6, 2016, nearly 400 students from 11 different schools and programs in the Rainy River District piled into school buses to attend the 2016 Métis Fall Harvest Celebration. The event took place along the shores of Rainy Lake on Couchiching First Nation at the Seven Generations Education Institute.

Twelve stations dotted the grounds, offering students the opportunity to learn about treaties, wild rice parching, dancing, deer teachings, storytelling, the drum and much more!

“The Fall Harvest increases our community’s ability to create and promote safe, culturally significant environments by providing folks with access to traditional knowledge, skills and knowledge holders,” said Sarah Marusyk, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Community Wellness Coordinator.

MNO staff members—Anne-Marie Armstrong (MNO Métis Healthy Babies Healthy Children Coordinator) and Marusyk along with their tremendous volunteers Senator John George with the MNO Sunset Country Métis Council, Dylinda George, Debbie Hebert, and Gloria Bergner—taught students about the traditional diets of our Métis ancestors. Students then had the opportunity to make their own bannock on a stick and cooked it on an open flame—a welcomed activity on a cool, fall day!

Once their bellies were full of bannock and jam, Senator George taught the students how to play the spoons. Students then got their feet moving as they learned the basic jigging step followed by joining hands in the Virginia Reel. Paired with a teaching on Métis culture, the jigging station was a hit with both the young and old!

“Our stations were engaging and hands-on,” said Armstrong. “They provided students and adults with a unique opportunity to learn about the culture, ask questions, and have a lot of fun!”

Published on: November 30, 2016