Métis Celebration Day took place at Hitchcock Hall on Saturday. Some people drove from as far as Penticton, B.C. Others came from Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and northern Saskatchewan to join guests from Estevan and Hitchcock for a day, filled with cultural activities and dances and enhanced with delicious supper.
“We just wanted everybody to get to know our culture, and different ways we do things. We just thought we would have everybody come out and see how Métis are. They are not much different than anybody else,” explained Linda Sopp, the president of the Métis Federation of Saskatchewan.
The celebration started at 3 p.m. and continued until night. Estevan Dance Club taught well-dressed guests square dances.
“And then we are having supper with bannock, fried bannock, with chicken and pulled pork,” noted Betty Albertson, vice-president of the Métis Federation of Saskatchewan.
Darlene Himmelspeck brought homemade bannock, which is also known as li bangs. It’s traditional deep-fried bread.
After the supper, the floor turned into a stage for Métis dances with fiddle and jiggers.
Prior to the event, Himmelspeck and her husband also went around Estevan for four weeks seeking donations.
So while kids enjoyed bouncy castles, adults had a chance to socialize and look through over 50 prizes that were donated by Estevan businesses and were raffled at the end of the night.
People also had a chance to purchase some knitted clothes and accessorize, weighted blankets, used to manage sleep issues and anxiety, and homemade jams.
Métis Celebration Days are held all over the country and according to Albertson are very successful. The last time the Métis Federation of Saskatchewan hosted celebration in Estevan was two years ago. But they want it to be an annual event.
The organization takes quite a bit of time, so as soon this year’s event is done Sopp and Albertson will get together to start planning for the next year.
“We’ve been working at this for about six or eight months. And after this one is done, we are going to start (planning for the next one) right away next Sunday at our meeting,” said Sopp.
The Métis Federation of Saskatchewan holds meetings at the basement of St. Giles Church in Estevan starting at 3:30 p.m. every third Sunday of each month. The meetings are run as potlucks and are open for anybody willing to join.
“We will do registration whenever people want to say they are Métis, we do registration, it’s all free. We just need to know when everybody wants to come register, we’ll have somebody here so they take pictures and everything else,” explained Sopp.
“We just talk about what’s happening, because our head office for our region is in Indian Head. We go to Indian Head once a month and at meetings, we bring everything back.”
And those who can’t make it to meetings can get the latest updates on social media.