Metis culture rendezvous focuses on revitalization of Michif language
Michif language event held at Nass property.
The Skeena River Metis Community Association and B.C. Federation for Metis came together to put on a rough camping event this past weekend, where the Metis community reviewed the developments of the French-Michif language. Song, dance, food were just some of the many things that were celebrated at the Nass camping spot.
The co-hosts of the event included Rene Therrien, Vice President of B.C. Metis Federation (BCMF), Rosanne Forget, Director of Skeena River Metis Community Association (SRMCA) and Keith Henry, President and CEO of BCMF.
“This was a combination of Michif language, culture, music, and teaching the basics of the language. A lot of our Metis people have lost their language and so we're trying to develop a whole major curriculum at the Federation. The goal is to walk people through some of the curriculum just to give them the surface introduction to begin with,” said Keith Henry.
Jeanie Cardinal, BCMF Director of Michif Language, held a presentation on Saturday to explain the Federation’s revitalization developments over the past four years. One of the key points during the powerpoint presentation was the curriculum that will be used to teach Metis youth. Some of the highlights included a 1000 French-Michif word illustration glossary, 18 Teaching Proficiency through Storytelling templates, and 8 language kits.
Rosanne Forget says truth and reconciliation was heavily talked about during this event and remains to be a message the community aims to push from the western coast to the eastern plains.
“I want to see more inclusivity. We need to be accepted on both sides, our European side and our Aboriginal side because there's just too much dissension.”
In addition to the Michif language, music was heavily celebrated at the event- a piece of Metis culture that Forget holds dear.
“For me, it's freedom of expression. Whether it's the jigging, the guitar and fiddle playing or the older music,it’s our tradition and culture.Music gives me a sense of belonging.”
As with many recent events, the rough camping event brought together Metis community members from the east to the west. After two years apart, President Keith Henry says these kinds of events are needed for the community to grow, learn and prosper.
“For us to learn together, we have to come together. We have to break bread together and we've got to learn about each other's culture. This was a godsend and it has been so amazing to come together once again and celebrate our heritage, this time focusing on a language that is sacred to our ancestors.”
BCMF and SRMCA wish to demonstrate a continued focus on their communities, growth and Metis resurgence through future events.