TIME CAPSULE: North Bay Métis Council looks to the future while preserving past

On November 16, 2021 — Louis Riel Day — the North Bay Métis Council buried a time capsule as part of the Métis Nation Preservation Project.

The time capsule, containing submissions from Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizens and community councils, is scheduled to be opened 64 years from the day, November 16, 2085 as a symbol of preservation to future Métis.

“All I can say is wow, it’s actually here. It came true,” said Susan Van Der Rassel, President of the North Bay Métis Council. “In the words of Louis Riel, we cherish our inheritance, we must preserve our nationality for the youth of the future. The story should be written down to pass on.”

The project was a passion project from the entire council but was especially important for Women’s Council Representative Lise Hughson who spearheaded the project along with youth representative Ish Van Der Rassel.

“Well, today is the beginning of a 64-year long project. And we’ve been really, really excited to get to today,” said Lise.

The ceremony saw local and provincial representatives speak to the importance of preserving the Métis identity, including representatives from MPP Vic Fedeli, MP Anthony Rota, Mayor of North Bay Al Macdonald, PCMNO Chair Hank Rowlinson and Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

“I’m just delighted to join members of the North Bay Métis Council and the broader community to commemorate Louis Riel Day and the launch of the legacy preservation project,” said Dowdeswell. “These remembrances are so much more. I think that they’re all symbols of hope, because together they form a gift of inspiration that’s really addressed to the future. But, as well, they hold important questions for us today.”

Following the speeches, the dignitaries used the shovels provided to ceremoniously shovel the first bit of dirt into the hole. The capsule, a stainless-steel barrel to prevent corrosion, was then buried and covered with a stone and plaque to lay in wait to resurface in 64 years.

“The MNO is made up of communities and citizens working together to create something beautiful, enduring and completely our own,” said MNO Chair Rowlinson.

“Today’s Métis time capsule is further evidence of our beautiful and unique culture and is a testament to the passion of our people, and the creativity of our artists.” When asked what his message would be for those who open the capsule in the future, Ish says he hopes those who open it are proud of how far the Métis have come.

“My message to them is to be proud of who you are,” said Ish.

The MNO would like to extend sincere congratulations to the North Bay Métis Council for all the hard work put into this endeavor to preserve Métis culture in Ontario. ∞