The Me­tis Na­tion to build Their Mu­seum

La Liberté - MMF-Une culture riche - - PUBLI-REPORTAGE | ADVERTORIAL -

An­noun­ced at the time of the Ma­ni­to­ba Me­tis Fe­de­ra­tion’s An­nual Ge­ne­ral Mee­ting, the Fe­de­ral Go­vern­ment sup­port for the fu­ture Me­tis Na­tio­nal He­ri­tage Centre marks an im­por­tant mi­les­tone in this uni­fying pro­ject for the Me­tis people.

To see their smiles when they ap­pea­red on stage at the Pan­tages Theatre at the height of the Me­tis mu­si­cal eve­ning on Sep­tem­ber 22, 2017, it was ob­vious that the Mi­nis­ter of Crown-In­di­ge­nous Re­la­tions and Nor­thern Af­fairs, Ca­ro­lyn Ben­nett, and the MMF President, Da­vid Char­trand, had ex­cellent news to an­nounce to the pu­blic.

In fact while the Mi­nis­ter had a few sou­ve­nirs to share with her hosts, she sa­ved her big­gest gift for the Me­tis people was the Fe­de­ral Go­vern­ment’s $2.7 mil­lion contri­bu­tion in sup­port for the construc­tion of the fu­ture Me­tis Na­tio­nal He­ri­tage Centre.

In its cur­rent ver­sion, this pro­ject, which is unique in Ca­na­da, be­gan ta­king shape in 2014. Plans are to do the sod tur­ning and construc­tion next year on the Up­per Fort Gar­ry site. Which is no ac­ci­dent, as Da­vid Char­trand re­minds us: “This site is at the heart of our Me­tis his­to­ry, on the banks of the Red Ri­ver which gave rise to the Na­tion and the Pro­vi­sio­nal Go­vern­ment of Louis Riel. It would be in­con­cei­vable to think of ha­ving a He­ri­tage Centre de­si­gned to show­case the role of the Me­tis in Ca­na­dian his­to­ry, anyw­here but in Red Ri­ver: the Bir­th­place of the Me­tis Na­tion and the Heart of the Me­tis Na­tion Ho­me­land.”

Led by the MMF on be­half of the Me­tis Na­tion, the $4.8 mil­lion fu­ture he­ri­tage centre will en­com­pass 6,000 square feet, 4,000 of which will be dis­play areas for show­ca­sing the his­to­ry, he­ri­tage, lan­guage, culture and contri­bu­tion of the Me­tis from prior to the time of the Red Ri­ver Set­tle­ment up to to­day.

Al­rea­dy the MMF is plea­sed to soon be able to in­clude, as part of its fu­ture per­ma­nent col­lec­tion, a true treasure main­tai­ned up to now by the Royal Ca­na­dian Moun­ted Po­lice: the cru­ci­fix that be­lon­ged to Louis Riel, his hun­ting knife and his poe­try col­lec­tion.

A re­pa­tria­tion which De­pu­ty Com­mis­sio­ner Ke­vin Bros­seau, him­self Me­tis, views as the sym­bol of a new be­gin­ning in the re­la­tion­ship bet­ween the RCMP and the Me­tis Na­tion, as he out­li­ned du­ring the si­gning of the agree­ment to res­tore them to the Me­tis People. Cur­rent­ly, these his­to­ri­cal ob­jects are held in Re­gi­na by the RCMP. Once the he­ri­tage centre opens in Win­ni­peg, they will join with other ar­ti­facts ca­re­ful­ly col­lec­ted by the MMF over the years, like so ma­ny silent wit­nesses to its past.

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