Rendezvous at River Mill Park: A National Aboriginal Day celebration

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Huntsville held its annual First Nations, Métis and Inuit Celebration on National Aboriginal Day, June 21. Huntsville has been hosting a celebration since 2001 and this year’s event focused on Métis culture and heritage.

Students from Huntsville Public School, Spruce Glen and St. Mary’s, as well as members of the public, gathered in River Mill Park to learn more about Métis culture. They welcomed dignitaries who arrived at the Town Docks via canoes, on loan from Algonquin Outfitters, as voyageurs would have done and then followed a procession of musicians to the River Mill Park bandshell for a brief presentation.

“It’s important to celebrate the people who were here first and how they share this land with us,” said Mayor Scott Aitchison.

Senator Verna Porter-Brunelle from the Métis Nation of Ontario followed Mayor Aitchison with a Métis prayer written by Ruth Wagner.

In an earlier conversation with Doppler, Senator Porter-Brunelle noted that the spirit of a Rendezvous is similar to a First Nations pow-wow, but they are not the same thing. “On June 21, National Aboriginal Day, we honour the three aboriginal peoples: First Nations, Métis and Inuit. It’s important to distinguish the Métis from the First Nations and from the Inuit, which each have their own culture and traditions.”

(From left) Victor Brunelle, Moon River Métis Council Senator Larry Duval, Honorary Senator Ruth Wagner, Town of Huntsville Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage Teri Souter, Métis Nation of Ontario Councillor Pauline Davidson, Moon River Métis Council President Tony Muscat, MPP Norm Miller, Mayor Scott Aitchison, Métis Nation of Ontario Senator Verna Porter-Brunelle, and Moon River Métis Council Chair Bonny Cann

(From left) Victor Brunelle, Moon River Métis Council Senator Larry Duval, Honorary Senator Ruth Wagner, Town of Huntsville Manager of Arts, Culture and Heritage Teri Souter, Métis Nation of Ontario Councillor Pauline Davidson, Moon River Métis Council President Tony Muscat, MPP Norm Miller, Mayor Scott Aitchison, Métis Nation of Ontario Senator Verna Porter-Brunelle, and Moon River Métis Council Chair Bonny Cann

“On National Aboriginal Day, it’s great to see so many young kids here,” said MPP Norm Miller. “It’s a day to learn about Indigenous history.”

Following opening remarks, the students participated in Métis activities and games, including dot art and bannock making.

For more information on the Métis Nation of Ontario, visit metisnation.org. To learn more about the Moon River Métis Council, go to moonrivermetis.com.

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