MMF e-Talk - April, 2011
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Spring, is a time of renewal and rebirth and after a long cold winter, the warmth of life beginning to stir outdoors is very welcome. It is the season of change and with that sometimes, come challenges. We are an enduring people that have always prevailed over any hardships or barriers placed before us. With the wisdom of our elders and strength of our youth we successfully forge ahead. This has always been the Metis way and the source of our pride in heritage and culture.
For thirty, mostly Metis students, it was the end of a long and difficult journey and the beginning of a bright and challenging future. In packed halls on two separate days and locations, the pride and emotion was clearly evident on every single face in the room. Family and friends gathered to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the newest graduates of the Licensed Practical Nurses Program.
The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and the Louis Riel Institute (LRI) recently donated $100,000 to Brandon University for scholarships and bursaries. The amount donated by the MMF and LRI will be matched the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative, all monies will be added to the Louis Riel Scholarship and Bursaries Endowment.
With just over a week before the Louis Riel Capital Corporation's (LRCC) Metis Business Day on April 11th at the Victoria Inn Hotel in Winnipeg the excitement generated by business owners over the show is growing. "We have heard a lot of buzz about the show in the last few weeks," says the Business Development and Support Services Manager of the LRCC Gilbert Dion. "We're hearing through our social networks about organizations talking about Metis Business Day."
In 2007 Charles Clément gave himself the opportunity to become something he always wanted to be, a 'story teller'. After spending eleven years working in broadcasting for companies like the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), and being involved in media relations during the Sydney Olympics, Clément, a Metis from Saint-Boniface opened up his own television production company, Média RendezVous Inc.
The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) in its continuing efforts to showcase Metis culture and heritage sponsors the top-rated weekly radio program on NCI FM - The Metis Hour X2. It’s a fast paced two hour show of witty banter, event information and of course, great Metis entertainment.
Following the momentum created by the Year of the Metis Nation in 2010 the Metis National Council (MNC) has declared 2011 to 2020 the Decade of the Metis Nation, and the theme for 2011 is 'Paying tribute to our Metis Veterans.'
The Province of Manitoba has become a thriving art and culture scene within Canada, and an investment by the Federal Government announced March 16th in Winnipeg will help it expand even more.
Ten years ago in Stockholm, Sweden a new sport was born. Some dubbed it 'a sport of the century', combining ski cross with skating, and one huge downhill course. The sport is called Ice cross downhill and the event is Crashed Ice.
The issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Manitoba and across Canada has been a hot topic for some time. The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) released information as of March 31st 2010 that there are 582 cases throughout Canada of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women with 14% of those missing being from Manitoba.
Last Updated (Friday, 08 April 2011 14:35)
Michif Language Training Goes Viral
This past fall Speaking Michif, an instructional DVD developed by the Louis Riel Institute to assist in teaching families the traditional Michif language, was made available to trainers. Recently, the DVD's beginner lessons teaching Michif through everyday family life activities and conversations were made available online through the Louis Riel Institute's website at www.louisrielinstitute.com.
Michif Consultant and Teacher, Norman Fleury, says that there are not many Michif speakers left. "We are losing the Michif language," he says. "I estimate that there are only about 500 people in Manitoba who can still speak Michif, and very few who could teach it to young people."
Michif was most widely used by throughout the Metis Homeland. It is a blending of English, First Nation and French languages. In an effort to preserve the language and teach future generations, the idea to create Speaking Michif came about and, taking it a step further, to add it to the World Wide Web.
Fluery says, "There are people that study Michif all across the globe but there are not many resources for them or for our youth. You'll be able to learn with this anywhere at anytime; it will be a great tool."
The Michif language has never been standardized, there are no guidelines to teaching it, and pronunciation is the most important aspect of learning it. By seeing it and hearing it, at your own pace, learning becomes easier.
In another attempt to revitalize the Michif language, classes have been offered by the MMF Southwest Region since last year. The region recently received the good news that they will receive funding for a second year of Michif programming in six different MMF locals from the Government of Canada through the Aboriginal Languages Initiative of the Department of Canadian Heritage's Aboriginal People's Program.
"We were thrilled when we got the phone call to tell us we were funded for another 14-week Michif language program. We were funded last year and in some of our communities we had four generations of the same family at the classes," said Leah LePlante, vice-president of the MMF Southwest Region. "The younger ones were learning the language for the first time and the elders were excited to be reacquainting themselves with the language that had been spoken in their homes when they were children."
The classes are taught by an elder fluent in Michif and are intended for children, young people, and adults. Contact the Southwest Regional Office at (204) 725-7520 or online at www.swmmf.ca to learn more. Don't forget to try your hand at Michif online at www.louisrielinstitute.com.
Last Updated (Friday, 10 February 2012 14:10)
Metis Youth Wins National Achievement Award
This year, the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards were held in Vancouver, B.C. on Friday, February 24, 2012. Manitoba's own Candace Sutherland set a great example for young Metis across Canada by being awarded with the Special Youth Award for National Aboriginal Achievement.
Sutherland says this award will show other youth what she's been doing with her life and how she's been living it.
"Youth in Canada go through similar experiences. I want to help them grow, talk to them and let them know they can do more with themselves," said 18-year-old Sutherland. "I know what it's like to think you're coming from nothing, but you have to know that you can better yourself."
Sutherland knows what it's like to be poor and hungry. That's why she devotes her time to helping others. She has donated to charities such as Ma-Mawi-Wi-Itata and Shamattawa Reserve giving back to those who need it most.
Sutherland has been running since she was eight years old, and has already won five marathons. At 13, she was the youngest person ever to compete in the Run Manitoba marathon. Sutherland says she wanted to do a run for poverty because she says there are many children living under the poverty line in Manitoba and throughout the country.
Last year, she completed a run across Canada called “Vision4Hope” in support of four charities: the Salvation Army, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Diabetes Association and the Canadian Cancer Society.
"At my age I've seen so much sadness in the eyes of the children and the eyes of the less fortunate and homeless. I've seen them come to me sick from cancer, diabetes, sick from poverty, sick from heart attacks and strokes. Many of these people passed on after suffering in silence. There are cases where people were not found for days after they passed on. We live in a sad world and sometimes it seems that nobody cares," said Sutherland.
The award came as a surprise to Sutherland. "I guess they just saw everything I was doing in the community and nominated me. I had no idea it was coming."
Sutherland continues her fundraising efforts and speaks to many Metis and First Nations youth about poverty, following their dreams and being proud of their heritage.
"I advise them to keep their heads up and don't worry about others because they can bring you down," said Sutherland. "Smile at the good opportunities. Get up and pursue things."
For Sutherland, being Metis means being able to share your culture and still be proud enough to recognize and show who you are no matter what.
Eventually, Sutherland hopes to go into nursing, but for now she's simply trying to figure out her life and what she wants to do.
The MMF congratulates Candace Sutherland on her National Aboriginal Achievement award and wishes her great success in the future.
Last Updated (Monday, 05 March 2012 10:32)
Manitoba Hydro Settles Longstanding Claim With Metis Trappers
Metis trappers who harvested furs in the Summerberry marsh will soon be compensated for the flooding caused by Manitoba Hydro and the Grand Rapids hydroelectric dam. Through the 1940s and the 1950s, trappers from throughout the area, including Grand Rapids, Moose Lake, Cormorant, Duck Bay, Camperville and other locations, trapped fur bearing animals in the Summerberry. Construction for the generating station in Grand Rapids started in 1960 and was completed in 1968. Since the beginning of the construction, water patterns changed throughout the Saskatchewan River, of which the delta in the Summerberry marsh felt incredible impacts.
The way the water used to flow affected many things, including how the muskrats lived and thrived in this area. A business was set up in partnership with the provincial government and the private sector. Trappers from throughout the area were hired to participate, and as Metis were raised and lived off this economic sector, it was natural that Metis families became the trappers of choice. And throughout the 40s and 50s, many people sustained their families or supplemented their incomes in positive ways through trapping in the Summerberry.
Because of the nature of the marsh, detailed accounts of who was licensed as a trapper in this area was kept track of on a regular basis. This is very important because now, years later, Manitoba Hydro, was able to admit that their actions in flooding this area changed the very way Metis people made a living off the land. In the recent past, Manitoba Hydro settled with the trappers who lived in Grand Rapids and Easterville. Others from different communities were not included.
This past week, after more than a year of discussions, MMF President David Chartrand facilitated a settlement for the trappers who came from Camperville and Duck Bay. Again, because of the detailed accounts, it is fairly simple to see which trappers were affected. Past MMF President John Morrisseau was also instrumental in his tireless efforts in finding the archived documents that clearly showed these Metis harvesters using the land, and therefore losing their way of life when the floods happened.
"This has been a long and sometimes bumpy process," said President Chartrand. "But I want to thank outgoing Manitoba Hydro President Bob Brennan for working until the last minute on the job to find real solutions to real problems that affected real people. Hydro employee Bob Monkman, who knows the Summerberry issue very well, was also a big help in getting to this conclusion."
Meetings will be taking place in the not too distant future in the affected locations to ensure that the financial settlements will go to the proper people. MMF will be developing this process and details are expected to be available soon. Community meetings will commence shortly and the process to distribute to the licensed trappers in the Summerberry will also start shortly afterwards.
"I am pleased with the agreements that we have reached with Hydro," continued President Chartrand. "I trust that the spirit and intent of our Manitoba Hydro partners to help the families will be realized when we finally conclude this in writing."
Man In Motion's Mission: Marathon of Social Change
On January 20, 15 students from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate and R.B. Russell Vocational High School bundled up and helped Rick Hansen, the Man In Motion, celebrate the 25th anniversary of his journey around the world.
Walking in front of the Manitoba Legislature along with Hansen, Lieutenant Governor Philip Lee and his daughter, Maggie Lee Grant, the students were there representing the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Experience Program (LGYEP).
LGYEP challenges Manitoba youth to improve their school performance, participate in community events, overcome obstacles and strive to reach their full potential.
"He was particularly inspiring for young Canadians, who saw in Rick that adversity is no match for the strength of the human spirit," said Lieutenant Governor Philip Lee during his speech. "For that reason, I'm pleased that today young Manitobans who are part of the Lieutenant Governor's Youth Experience Program have joined the Man in Motion."
Hansen spoke about how proud he is of youth that are difference makers in their communities. "We have to honour the youth of the province and our country that are doing their part to make a difference. We are on a marathon of social change to have a healthy, accessible, inclusive world."
Through the Louis Riel Institute (LRI), the Manitoba Metis Federation supports and encourages ongoing education and youth taking part in bettering our communities. Sharon Conway, Acting General Manager of LRI and Chair of the LGYEP committee, chaperoned the youth chosen to attend the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"It was great for some LGYEP students to get the chance to experience meeting Rick Hansen and to be inspired to make a difference in their communities and their own lives by a man who has overcome so much diversity," said Conway. "They will never forget what they heard and saw today."
After being surrounded by media taking photos and video, the students went on a tour of the Legislative Building before heading over to a dinner reception in honour of Hansen at Government House, the beautiful historic residence of the Lieutenant Governor, located at 10 Kennedy Street.
"I've never been to anything like this in my life!" said Kevin, an awestruck ninth grade student from R.B. Russell Vocational High School who either wants to be a rapper, NBA star or NFL star when he grows up. "It's kinda weird, but it's been so awesome!"
As Hansen mingled and took photos with the students at the Lieutenant Governor's reception, he reminded them to be the best they can be with what they have and to "pay it forward."
"It's not about what you have or what you do, but how you do it that counts," Hansen told the students.
Kristin, a grade 11 student from Daniel McIntyre Collegiate, is part of the science club at her school. They try to raise awareness of green initiatives and other needs at their school and in the community.
"We're doing a water bottle initiative right now where we're trying to get our school to reduce the amount of plastic water bottles used," explained Kristin who is trying to decide between environmental science and medicine for her post-secondary education. "Very soon we plan to volunteer at Winnipeg Harvest."
"I'm honoured that I got to be part of this and to hear his speech," continued Kristin. "Mr. Hansen is so happy that we're involved with our community and it makes me want to do more."
One "difference maker" that has done so much for her community is Dr. Judith Bartlett, Director of the Health and Wellness Department at the Manitoba Metis Federation and Associate Professor, Adjunct Scientist (Manitoba Centre for Health Policy) Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba.
"When we look closely in our own backyard we can easily find so many heroes from all walks of life that make a difference in our community or on our families," said MMF President David Chartrand. "We NEED to remember them, thank them and ask ourselves, 'What can I do?'."
That is why President Chartrand put Bartlett's name forward to be a Medal-Bearer in the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay to represent Manitoba's Metis people on Saturday, January 21.
"It's an honour to be thought of as a difference maker and it's nice to see that Metis are being visibly included," said Bartlett who carried the Medal for her 250-metre relay section between Rae & Jerry's Steak House and the Clarion Hotel. "This experience meant that what I've committed my life to has been appreciated – my work and my commitment to Metis people. Thank you, thank you."
Hansen is retracing the 40,000-kilometre route he took back in the mid to late ’80s, which is equivalent to once around the globe at the equator, but instead of wheeling the entire distance, he's being joined by 7,000 Canadians who have made a difference in the lives of others.
Last Updated (Friday, 17 February 2012 11:06)
- Southeast MMF Newsletter - March 2013
- Canada's Metis Partner Given Cold Shoulder in Federal Budget of Inaction
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- Louis Riel Day
- MEDO nominated for Spirit Award
- Manitoba Métis Put Manitoba Hydro On Notice About Bipole III - MMF President Testifies at Clean Environment Commission
- MMF President David Chartrand to Receive Honorary Law Degree
- Current State of Metis Law in Canada
- Metis Are Open for Business
- UWinnipeg first to offer Youth In Care Tuition Waivers
- Métis Nation a long way from reconciliation; Efforts continue for recognition and compensation for Métis residential and day school survivors