MÉTIS IN BC VIRTUAL EXHIBIT
Experience the rich history, culture, and contributions of the Métis in British Columbia through the Métis in BC video series, including segments on Métis Music & Dance, Traditional Craftsmanship, Beadwork, Connections to the Land and Knowledge Keepers. The videos feature Métis artists, craftsmen, historians, and Elders who each share their knowledge and experiences of being Métis in BC.
Métis Nation British Columbia wishes to extend our sincerest gratitude and respect to the title holders of the land on which the Fort Langley Historic Site rests, which houses the Métis in BC exhibit. We respectfully and specifically acknowledge the Kwantlen First Nation and their strong generational connections to this area since time immemorial. We further acknowledge that the area now known as the Langley Township is located on the traditional unceded territories of the Katzie, Kwantlen, Matsqui and Semiahmoo First Nations.
Oral traditions, place names, languages, resources and sacred sites of the local land-based indigenous Nations are emblematic of their deep and enduring connections to their territorial lands. Their continued presence, leadership and resiliency resonate throughout the intangible fabric of the landscape. In recognizing the continual connection of the original peoples of this area, we affirm our dedication to walking gently in gratitude and humility. We recognize the privilege it is to have the story of our Métis culture shared in such a powerful place.
Métis identity is not an individualized identity, rather it is formed and expressed through Métis community. Métis are not simply a mixed ancestry people; they come from historic communities that emerged before Canada was Canada. There were distinct networks of communication from Western Ontario across the homeland and into BC. Although connected to both the Fur Trade and to First Nation’s communities, Métis are recognized as being distinct and separate from their First Nation and European relatives.
Métis Knowledge Keepers
Engaging with Elders grounds the community in Métis culture and is essential in transferring Métis knowledge. It is important that this knowledge is transmitted throughout our communities and within schools to preserve our Métis culture for future generations. Elders Stella Johnson, Bruce Dumont, Phil Gladue, and Ken Pruden share their stories and experiences of growing up Métis and how they embrace their culture.
Métis identity is connected to the land. It is a culture that is grounded in our relationship to the land and the animals with whom we share it. Kim Hodgson demonstrates her commitment to her culture through honouring traditional ways of living and embracing the land.
Traditional Métis Craftsmanship
It takes devoted personal time and commitment to learn about and produce the Red River Cart and the York Boat in a traditional way, and to ensure that the quality of the crafts that were designed and used by our ancestors are maintained. Patrick Calihou reflects on the importance of being seen and recognized within the Indigenous landscape.
The fiddle and dance have gone together for hundreds of years — like the infinity symbol, they are one together. V’ni Dansi is a Vancouver-based traditional Métis and contemporary dance company dedicated to sharing the dances, stories, and culture of the Métis.
Métis beadwork has always been a means of embracing our cultural identity. Sharing our culture within the Métis community brings us closer to our ancestors. Lisa Shepherd shares some of her beadwork and how there is a story behind each piece.