The High Land Waters Metis Community has been holding annual Harvest Dinners for 17 years, but this one, held Saturday at the Flinton Township Hall, held a little extra significance.
Part of this year’s ceremony was to acknowledge and thank the Ontario Trillium Foundation for a grant of $75,000 which will allow the Community to begin its Traditional Knowledge Project, Metis Mamawapowuk, which will document Metis culture and knowledge in this area (which stretches from Smiths Falls to the 401 and west to the Kawarthas.
“We’ve been trying for years to start this project,” said Scott Lloyd, the Community’s president. “I’d like to also thank my sister, Candace (the Community’s secretary/treasurer) who did much of the work to make this happen.
“Our focus will be on traditional land use but also on traditional gatherings of friends, family where the history was told through stories.
“We depend greatly on our land and waterways and so want to protect the land and bring traditional knowledge forward.”
“I’d like to acknowledge that we’re on traditional First Nations land here,” said Jim Roulston, representing the Trillium Foundation. “The seed grant is to preserve the oral traditions.
“The Trillium Foundation gave out 1,000 grants last year through the Ministry of Tourism and our goal is to move people from being a passive audience to active participants in arts, culture and heritage.”
“I wish I could say the Trillium Foundation was federal but . . .” said area MP Mike Bossio. “How do we move forward with reconciliation if we don’t know where we come from?
“It’s wonderful to see this grant come forward as many are just finding out they have Metis connections and this may allow them to reconnect with their heritage.”
Candace Lloyd emceed the event and brought greetings from Margaret Froh, president of the Metis Nation of Ontario, France Picotti, chair of the Metis Nation of Ontario and Brian Tucker, associated director of Education and Way of Life who said: “This work will benefit generations far into the future because it will gather and preserve the stories and knowledge of the Metis Community.”