June 14th, 2024

Local Métis community gathers in fellowship

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on January 17, 2023.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Mark Carter on the piano and wife Monique Giroux on the fiddle play Métis music for the crowd at the Lethbridge and Area Métis Association holiday gathering Saturday evening at Westminster Hall.

For the first time since before the pandemic, the Lethbridge and Area Métis Association held a holiday gathering at the Westminster Hall on Saturday.

The afternoon event had Métis music courtesy of Monique Giroux on the violin with husband Mike Carter on the piano, a supper, member recognition for their efforts in the Métis community, dancing and draw prize giveaways.

“This was a holiday gathering that was delayed because of the pandemic and it’s a long time coming,” said Adam Browning, LAMA president. “We have a community of about 2,100 Métis just within the City of Lethbridge. It’s a large Indigenous community and it was an opportunity for a sizeable group to come together and celebrate.”

Browning said to put an event like this together, there’s tons of people who contributed to the planning.

“We’ve had everything from people preparing food to local musicians who specialize in Métis music,” said Browning. “A lot of community members put time and effort into making this happen.”

For Browning, the highlight was seeing his community.

“I do this in a non-paid elected capacity,” said Browning. “But to see 100 of my people – you know over 100 of my people here assembled and gathered – to see kids coming together and playing, it’s just something that I’ve been looking forward (to) for a long time.”

Browning thought the biggest piece was just having their elders present.

“We value our elders, knowledge keepers and they really maintain our culture,” he said. “To see them come and connect with little kids, it’s wonderful.”

Browning said Métis people are defined by kinship.

“I guarantee you that with the kinship, there are people here today who have found out that they’ve met their cousins,” he said.

Giroux was recognized for her efforts in sharing Métis music with the community and preserving he Métis culture.

Dane Beeson-Bergeron was recognized for playing guitar at LAMA events and Browning was recognized for his efforts in Métis rights for southern Alberta.

LAMA will look forward to its Michif (spoken by the Métis people) language classes that will celebrate Métis dancing, other programs and more gathering in 2023.

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