Metis dancers and more will be at a special free Metis day at the Surrey Museum on July 29. (Photo: Submitted).

Surrey Museum will host a free Metis celebration

It will be July 29, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy a Metis kind of day at the Surrey Museum on Saturday, July 29.

The museum and Metis Nation of B.C. are staging a special free family-friendly event highlighting Metis culture, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., that will feature a jigging performance and lesson by Lisa Sheperd and students.

Sheperd will also do a plant medicine workshop, Brodie Douglas will do a presentation on Metis history and Pat Calliou will do a wood-carving demonstration. Ron Gerard and Keith Hill will play the guitar and fiddle, Chris Kelly will make Bannock and Mechtild Morin will do traditional finger weaving demonstrations.

Moreover, there will be crafts, face painting, a Red River cart and historic trapping tent will be displayed and the Chilliwack Metis Association will have a cultural exhibit.

“Our new mission for the Surrey Museum is about collaboration and partnerships,” explains Lynn Saffery, museum manager. “We are a people museum, where the community can be engaged in activities, be creative and imaginative, and participate in telling the stories of Surrey through interactive exhibits, dynamic special events and innovative programming.”

Meantime, Ken Fisher, president of NovaMetis Heritage Association in Surrey, says the Metis are all-too-often lost in the catchphrases Indigenous or Aboriginal. “Their identity is getting lost in those two words people tend to use,” he said. “It’s a reality.”

That said, Fisher thinks this Metis day at the museum is a “step forward from the standpoint of awareness.

“That’s very positive.”

Fisher says his association has about 2,500 members, and has been operating here for about 30 years.

“Most of them live in Surrey,” he said of the members.

“Metis are all over.”

The Metis are people of mixed First Nations and European ancestry. “The Metis have their own unique and cultural history,” Fisher noted.

“What they’re doing over there, in Cloverdale, that’s a good thing. Anything that can promote the Metis. The thing is, there’s another big event coming where we are heavily involved, and that’s the Fusion Festival.

Fisher has been hosting Vancouver Co-op 100.5 fm radio’s Metis Matters show since 1989.

The Surrey Museum is located at 17710-56A Avenue.

tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com