MMF e-Talk - April, 2011
Article List :
- Message from the president
- Congratulations to the LPN Class of 2011
- LRI donates scholarship funds to Brandon Metis students
- Metis Business Day 'generating buzz'
- Metis media production is a family affair
- Metis Pride is on the Air!
- MNC President Chartier tours the Metis Nation
- Government of Canada invests in Arts, Culture, Michif Language
- Metis skater hopes to 'fly' downhill
- Red Dresses on display for Missing Women
- MMF Media Releases
- MMF Community Events
Spring, is a time of renewal and rebirth and after a long cold winter, the warmth of life beginning to stir outdoors is very welcome. It is the season of change and with that sometimes, come challenges. We are an enduring people that have always prevailed over any hardships or barriers placed before us. With the wisdom of our elders and strength of our youth we successfully forge ahead. This has always been the Metis way and the source of our pride in heritage and culture.
I had the recent honour of seeing this strength and determination first hand. I attended two graduation ceremonies, one in Selkirk and the other in the Pas for our newest group of Licensed Practical Nurses. These thirty, mostly Metis graduates have shown in every way, their determination and intelligence to graduate from one of the most difficult academic courses in the country. With the support of their family and friends, they have achieved greatness and I congratulate each and every one of them. They will now go on to care for our citizens in need in their home communities and set an example for those who follow them. Their faces told the story of Metis strength.
There is much praise that can be given to the political leadership and the sound management of the program but at the end of the day it is our Metis people who have taken hold of this important tool for themselves. Metis citizens are taking advantage of the opportunities to get training and employment in jobs that raise their standard of living. It is you who have waited for this for so long and since it is Metis delivering to Metis, it is so obvious that we understand our own community better than anyone else and the MMF continues to be a leader in this sector.
We never do stop trying to get better or be the best and I can assure you that we will continue to make our mark in this area, as well as the many other needs our people face across the homeland – hunting rights, child and family issues, education and economic opportunities to name a few.
We have done so well when we work together. But there is always more to do – if you want to improve yourself, continue to push forward in your career, please do not hesitate to get in touch with any of our regional offices, who will have people in place to point you in the right direction. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support and I promise we will keep working hard for your family’s sake.
For any challenges that we may face, always mind the wisdom of our Metis Elders. It is they who have taken us to the highest point in the short history of our people. It is their guidance that will take us even further.
On behalf of your Metis Government, I humbly thank the Metis Citizens of this province for the opportunity to serve you. Believe in yourself, believe in Metis!
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For thirty, mostly Metis students, it was the end of a long and difficult journey and the beginning of a bright and challenging future. In packed halls on two separate days and locations, the pride and emotion was clearly evident on every single face in the room. Family and friends gathered to celebrate the remarkable achievements of the newest graduates of the Licensed Practical Nurses Program.
The graduations took place on Thursday March 31st in Selkirk and Saturday April 2nd in The Pas. There were eleven from Cranberry Portage including valedictorian Lee Ann Yakiwchuk and nineteen from Selkirk including valedictorian Glenda Goerzen.
In August of 2010 the Provincial and Federal Governments announced four training projects to strengthen health care in northern and rural communities across Manitoba. The 15 month Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program was created with the intention of creating more jobs for Aboriginal people living and working in northern areas. The programs were a joint partnership between the federal government, the province of Manitoba, Assiniboine Community College and the Manitoba Metis Federation. The Manitoba Metis Federation hosted and administered the program with Assiniboine Community College providing the training at community based sites in Cranberry Portage and Selkirk. Both programs began January 2010 and finished on March 31st of this year.
The President of the Manitoba Metis Federation David Chartrand was on hand at both graduation ceremonies and says that the LPN program will have an immediate impact on Metis health in Manitoba. "Having a large number of LPN graduates in the next few years will help resolve the ongoing challenges of health care in northern Metis communities and ensure that our citizens receive the very best in health care. In light of the recent Health Study identifying Metis as having the highest risk and rate of chronic diseases in the province, the timing for this program is very opportune"
The next challenge for the graduates will be to take the Assessment Strategies Incorporated (ASI) National Licensing exam in May. Upon successful completion of that test they will be officially registered as Licensed Practical Nurses in Manitoba. “I’m extremely proud of each and every one of these graduates for the determination they have shown in completing one of the most difficult academic courses in the country” said President Chartrand. “The MMF will continue to assist these graduates through to the licensing exam and ensure that they all employed in their chosen profession.”
In future issues of Le Metis we will follow up with stories featuring some of the successful graduates of the MMF administered LPN program.
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The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and the Louis Riel Institute (LRI) recently donated $100,000 to Brandon University for scholarships and bursaries. The amount donated by the MMF and LRI will be matched the Manitoba Scholarship and Bursary Initiative, all monies will be added to the Louis Riel Scholarship and Bursaries Endowment.
Metis students from Manitoba who are entering or returning to school and who demonstrate academic potential and financial needs are qualified to receive scholarships from this fund.
Leah LaPlante, the Vice President of the MMF's Southwest Region and the chair of the Louis Riel Institute says that it is important for Metis citizens to get an education and that any amount of money they receive can help. "The MMF leadership has recognized for a long time that education is one of the keys to a better way of life for Metis people, and one of the reasons Metis people didn't have a post-secondary education came down to finances, " said LaPlante.
The Vice President says that the feedback she's received from passed participants is encouraging and the funds are having an impact on Metis Peoples education. "We've been working very hard in the last ten years to change the way Metis people feel about post-secondary education," says LaPlante. "We want them to believe that it is possible, and we're putting money behind that thought process."
The Louis Riel Institute is the mandated authority in charge of education and culture for the MMF and has donated over one million dollars in the last twelve years towards the Louis Riel Scholarship and Bursaries Endowment.
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With just over a week before the Louis Riel Capital Corporation's (LRCC) Metis Business Day on April 11th at the Victoria Inn Hotel in Winnipeg the excitement generated by business owners over the show is growing. "We have heard a lot of buzz about the show in the last few weeks," says the Business Development and Support Services Manager of the LRCC Gilbert Dion. "We're hearing through our social networks about organizations talking about Metis Business Day."
Metis Business Day is open to all businesses big and small, from Manitoba Hydro's Procurement department to Wapusk Adventures, Canada's largest Sled Dog Kennel from Churchill. With over fifty tradeshow booths already on board there will be ample opportunity for business to business networking. "The day is about introducing industry leaders to labour force recruiters and sub-contractors," said Dion.
With three thousand square feet reserved at the Victoria Inn hotel for Metis Business Day there will be plenty of room for businesses to promote their goods and services. The event is open to the public and admission is free which should generate a lot of traffic. "We're definitely expecting a lot of extra foot traffic," said Dion. "Since our tradeshow booths are almost full we will see some walk-ins."
One of the more intriguing workshops available at Metis Business Day will teach business owners the dos and don'ts of dealing with the government. "Educating our clients as to the proper protocols when dealing with government is very important," said Dion. "It's a different approach dealing with a government organization than another business."
And if you get confused by terms like "tweeting," "tagging" and don't have a clue what a #hashtag is, then the workshop on Social Networking headed by Michele McClymont of the Women's Enterprise Centre would be one to check out. Attendees will learn how to develop a Social Media plan for your business, learning how to promote your brand through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn blogs and other social media tools. "Word of mouth for this event spread very quickly through social media," said Dion. "It's a big tool in business today."
With the developments in upcoming energy and resource projects a portion of Metis Business Day will also be dedicated to identifying the potential of sub-contracting and training for industry looking to participate in projects such as Bipole III.
The Louis Riel Capital Corporation's Metis Business Day is April 11th at the Victoria Inn Hotel in Winnipeg and runs from 9am – 5pm. If you would like more information please contact the LRCC at 204-589-0772.
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In 2007 Charles Clément gave himself the opportunity to become something he always wanted to be, a 'story teller'. After spending eleven years working in broadcasting for companies like the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), and being involved in media relations during the Sydney Olympics, Clément, a Metis from Saint-Boniface opened up his own television production company, Média RendezVous Inc.
"I always wanted to have my own production company," says Clément. "I wanted to be in the story telling business, to tell stories about Metis, First Nations and Inuit people in Canada and Indigenous people around the world."
Clément, who started Média RendezVous four years ago, has since been joined by his two brothers, Patrick and André. The trio forms a strong team with each bringing something unique to the company. "We all come from different working backgrounds, so we all have our strengths," says Clément. "One thing we all shared was a love of our culture, we're French and Metis and very proud of it."
Charles and André were an obvious match as business partners. André is a freelance film maker and at Média RendezVous he is a writer, director and co-host's some of their shows along with Charles. On top of co-hosting duties and being the owner Charles also acts as producer for all things RendezVous. Patrick is the Director of Business Affairs, with a degree in finance and law. Patrick says that many of the problems that come up while working in TV production are the same he encountered while he was practicing law, just in a different setting. "Addressing problems is all about keeping the lines of communication open, whether you're in a lawyer's office or on set," he says. "But I won't lie, this is much more fun, we're working long hours and we're very busy, but I'd rather do this ten hours a day than work with people you don't know."
Patrick is the newest member of the Clément clan to join Média RendezVous, leaving his job last March to work with his siblings. The brothers realize that having their name attached to their company could be a risk. "You have to make sure you treat people the right way and they'll be happy to do business with you again," said Patrick. Charles adds that they're okay with people associating the business with their family. "Legally I started the company, but I would not be where I am without the work of my two brothers," said Charles. "Some people know us as Média RendezVous and some know us as the Clément brothers. We've been working and making contacts for a long time."
They've produced several nature documentaries; including a twelve part series covering different Aboriginal communities entitled 'One with Nature'. "The premise is to show the viewers how Aboriginal people live off the land, and some of the problems that come with living that way," says Charles. "We're not only covering the Aboriginal people but also the scientists and researchers that are trying to solve some of the day-to-day problems they (the Aboriginals) face." Like in areas such as Shoal Lake where they do not have clean drinking water.
Another Média RendezVous production is Planet Eco, a thirteen part children's series that Charles calls a "Mash-up of eco and science." "We do anything to help kids learn, it's kind of like a variety show for me and André," he says. They perform sketches, use comedy and make up characters all in the name of learning. Season two has begun production and will air next January. The first season is available online at myplaneteco.com.
Média RendezVous also worked with Les Productions Rivard and Animikisee two other TV production companies to co-produce Aboriginal Day Live 2010. They helped produce the live show and taped the behind the scenes footage. "We produced six behind the scenes documentaries that will air throughout the year," says Patrick.
One of the biggest challenges for the brothers is making sure not to disrupt the communities they're working in, but also trying to create an accurate depiction of those communities. "When you're in the far north filming a documentary you're living and working in someone's area, in their society," says Charles. "You definitely have a responsibility to represent their lives and community in a respectful manner."
So far the feedback from the stories they've told has been great. "When I hear people from Aboriginal communities tell me how well our team depicted their home and their lives, how well we highlighted the problems and challenges they face, it makes you feel proud," says Charles. "There's so much to learn from traditional Aboriginal knowledge," said Patrick. "It's very inspiring."
The goal for now is to keep working on as many projects as possible; right now it's project to project because the company only consists of the three brothers. "We're not a big team right now, hopefully in the near future we can hire full time staff or freelancers," says Charles. "As much as we enjoy where we are now, working with our family, we'd like to get to a point where we can have multiple groups working on multiple projects at the same time," he says.
Média RendezVous want to offer their productions in a number of languages. The twelve part documentary 'One with Nature' is available in English, French and Ojibway. And in the future they would like to add more Aboriginal languages like the Metis language of Michif. "That's one of the reasons we're looking to expand, more staff means more shows in more languages," says Charles.
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The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) in its continuing efforts to showcase Metis culture and heritage sponsors the top-rated weekly radio program on NCI FM - The Metis Hour X2. It’s a fast paced two hour show of witty banter, event information and of course, great Metis entertainment.
Over the past fourteen years the Metis Hour X2 has built a vast and loyal audience that tune in every Saturday from 11am-1pm to join hosts Ray St. Germain and Naomi Clarke for the best two hours of radio in the country. Ray has always said that it is "our listeners show, they drive the format." The Metis Hour audience wants to hear their favorite Metis artists whether they are new, or longtime favourites.
The Metis Hour X2 features a Metis artist once a month, from the more popular musicians like Al Desjarlais and Clint Dutiaume to the re-emerging Gurney Anderson. It’s a great opportunity for the audience to learn about the artist and their music.
Ray adds to that by saying that being on the Metis Hour can definitely help Metis musicians gain some new followers. "I think when we feature an artist, we expose them to a huge listening audience, not only in Manitoba, but on the world wide web as well," said St. Germain. "The Metis Hour X2 has won the Best Radio Show in Canada at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, President David Chartrand, the board and staff are very proud of their show," continued St. Germain. "Naomi Clarke and I are honoured to host the Metis Hour every week."
If you would like to recommend a Feature Artist to be profiled on the Metis Hour X2 please visit the Metis Hour X2 page on the MMF website and email us your suggestions.
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Following the momentum created by the Year of the Metis Nation in 2010 the Metis National Council (MNC) has declared 2011 to 2020 the Decade of the Metis Nation, and the theme for 2011 is 'Paying tribute to our Metis Veterans.'
The President of the Metis National Council Clement Chartier began his tour of the Metis Nation on March 21st in Edmonton at the University of Alberta with other stops including the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) and the University of Winnipeg. He took the time throughout his tour to identify the significance of the declaration with the many Aboriginal guests which included students, dignitaries and Metis citizens at each location.
"We are making progress in getting our message out as Métis people about our history, culture and language and our continuing struggles as rights bearing people," said President Chartier. "We hope to use the decade as an avenue to promote our issues, whether it’s our push for a land base for our peoples; securing harvesting rights or recognition for Métis Veterans.“
The tour was also an opportunity for the President to introduce his new book which relates to other indigenous peoples struggles. The Struggles that President Chartier witnessed first hand as the President of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. In his book Witness to Resistance: Under Fire in Nicaragua President Chartier recounts his perspective into one of the most significant indigenous struggles in the twentieth century. He details the political failings of the revolutionary Sandinista government which led to conflict and war between the indigenous people in Nicaragua and the Sandinista.
Joining President Chartier on his tour was Brooklyn Rivera from the Indigenous peoples of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua and leader of the Yatama political movement. In January 1986 President Chartier accompanied Mr. Rivera to Yapti Tasba in Nicaragua to document the challenges of the Atlantic coasts indigenous peoples.
When the Sandinista government turned against the Indian population in 1981, Rivera set up a political office in Costa Rica and oversaw the Indian armed resistance movement. In 1990 lead to the re-incorporation into the country of the Indian movement and their involvement in the regional autonomy government of the Atlantic Coast, with YATAMA (formerly MISURASATA) capturing key positions within the autonomy government.
Throughout the tour Mr. Rivera discussed the progress Indigenous peoples of Nicaragua achieved with respect to land rights and self-government, and he outlined the continuing challenges his people face today. "Many of the rights we were fighting for and continue to fight for are the same that plague all indigenous people around the world," said Rivera. "They are the same rights that the Metis fight for."
In 2006 Brooklyn Rivera won a seat in the National Assembly and based on this alliance, Rivera was appointed President of the Commission on Ethnic Affairs, Autonomous Regions and Indigenous Communities, a position he still holds to this day.
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The Province of Manitoba has become a thriving art and culture scene within Canada, and an investment by the Federal Government announced March 16th in Winnipeg will help it expand even more.
The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages was accompanied by Shelly Glover, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Saint-Boniface to announce on the stage of the Cercle Moliere at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain, that the Government of Canada will provide funding in the amount of $3,537,210 under four programs of the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Minister Moore explained to the leaders of the arts and culture community in Manitoba in attendance that even though many other countries around the world have cut funding to the arts and culture because of the recession, that the Canadian Government decided to increase their funding to help create jobs. "With Canada's economic recovery still fragile, we are focused on creating jobs and economic growth throughout Manitoba," said Minister Moore. "We are proud to support our artists and arts organizations, because supporting arts and culture is vital to our economy."
One program that will benefit from the Federal Governments funding is the Louis Riel Institute and the official language of the Metis people, Michif. On the very stage where the previous week saw the first play conducted entirely in Michif (Li Rvinant) had its world premiere, Minister Moore announced an investment that would see $65,000 towards the preservation and revitalization of the Michif language and Metis culture.
The funding is an important step when introducing today's Metis Youth to the language that was spoken by their Metis Elders. "Through learning the language of our grandparents, we will gain a deeper understanding of this key component of our Metis culture" said Andrew Carrier, Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) Minister for Michif Languages. "We applaud the efforts of the Government of Canada to work in partnership with the Louis Riel Institute to help promote and protect this unique Aboriginal language"
The four programs under the Department of Canadian Heritage that received funding were: the Canadian Arts Presentation Fund, the Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program, the Development of Official-Language Communities Program and the Aboriginal Peoples' Program.
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Ten years ago in Stockholm, Sweden a new sport was born. Some dubbed it 'a sport of the century', combining ski cross with skating, and one huge downhill course. The sport is called Ice cross downhill and the event is Crashed Ice.
Every year competitors from all across the globe qualify to take part in the international event. Sometimes held overseas and sometimes in North America – and for the sixth time, and second year in a row the event will take place in Quebec City. Five athletes from Manitoba will compete at this year's event, and none with a better chance than Metis hockey player Donny Kerfoot.
Born in Beausejour but raised in Winnipeg, this Manitoba Metis Federation member started playing organized hockey at the age of five and still plays competitively today for the Swan Lake Cougars of the Tiger Hills Hockey League. With a career that has seen him through the 'AAA' ranks to Junior 'A' and now into senior men's leagues, Kerfoot definitely never expected to end up competing at one of the newest and fastest sports in the world. "I've never really been into extreme sports, I've always wanted to go bungee jumping or sky diving," says Kerfoot. "But I'm definitely not an extreme sports enthusiast."
It was four years ago when a friend recommended he attend the Manitoba qualifiers that his interest in the then unknown sport took off. "I won’t lie, the first thing that got me interested in the event was the free trip to Quebec," jokes Kerfoot. "But after going to the qualifiers and seeing some clips on You Tube from past events I remember thinking I could definitely make it, I could compete."
In 2007 he did just that, finishing in the top five in Winnipeg and earning a trip to Quebec. Although qualifying on the course in Winnipeg isn't quite the same as competing in the main event in Quebec. "In Winnipeg you just skate through an obstacle course, some jumps, tight turns, it's pretty basic," he says. "But when you're standing at the top of the course in the middle of downtown Quebec City, it can be pretty intimidating."
Intimidating for sure, the track which begins at the top of the Chateau Frontenac in downtown Quebec City stands sixty meters high and is 540 meters long with racers reaching speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour. In the first round of qualifying the racers get two runs to score their fastest time, and the top sixteen qualifiers move on to the next round where they race against other competitors in groups of four.
Only 64 competitors make it to the second round, with sixteen groups of four skaters racing down to the finish line located on the Fleuve St. Laurent. Although contact is forbidden, Kerfoot explains that it's just part of the experience. "It's bound to happen when you're racing at those speeds against three other competitive guys," says Kerfoot.
Last year Kerfoot took a spill in one of his qualifiers and separated his shoulder, which not only hurt him physically, but affected his confidence as well. "I was feeling confident because I had been here a few times before," he says. "Then I took that spill and wasn't feeling as good."
Then some confidence came back, thanks to an unlikely source. "My mom sent me a text message that said I had to keep going, I had to finish," laughs Kerfoot. Most mothers would probably be thrilled to hear their child wasn't going to be barreling down a hill at sixty plus kilometers an hour on hockey skates, but not his mother.
In 2009 he had his best finish, placing in the top 32, and he hopes to use his experience to build his success this year. "I definitely feel more confident with each year," says Kerfoot. "It's difficult because some of the other guys do this full time." The top three Canadians compete on the world tour full time with other racers from all over the world. "I'd like to improve each year," he says. "But overall it's just a really cool experience and hopefully I can keep going back."
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The issue of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Manitoba and across Canada has been a hot topic for some time. The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) released information as of March 31st 2010 that there are 582 cases throughout Canada of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women with 14% of those missing being from Manitoba.
There are some organizations established to bring the facts of missing and murdered Aboriginal Women to the forefront of issues in our country. Organizations like the NWAC's Sisters in Spirit program which has developed a database to research and educate on the subject of missing and murdered women. Another is the Stolen Sisters Campaign by Amnesty International, which fights for the need of a comprehensive response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada.
Jaime Black, a Metis artist from Winnipeg has once again brought the subject to the front lines, with the REDress Project that was on display this month at the University of Winnipeg. Black, with the help of the U of W's Institute for Women's and Gender Studies created a display throughout multiple areas around the university to draw attention to the almost six hundred cases involving missing and murdered Aboriginal women.
The exhibit of over a hundred red dresses hanging from ledges, ceilings and trees around the university is not only supposed to draw attention, but a feeling as well. "When you walk through one of the displays you get the feeling that you're not alone," said Black. "You really feel like there was someone in that dress, they were there and now there gone, the feeling almost haunts you."
Some visitors of the project had very emotional responses to the red dresses. "On one of the tours we had a police officer that had tears in his eyes after passing through the exhibit," said Black. "The response has been what we intended, educating and informing people about the violence against Aboriginal women."
Black, who studied English Literature at the University of Manitoba and also has a Bachelor of Education, was inspired to do this project from her many travels around Canada and across the world. "I've traveled from Germany to Bogota, Columbia; taught in The Pas and worked on Baffin Island," said Black. "I've seen struggles in lots of different communities."
At a conference in Germany for missing and murdered women a representative from First Nations University stood up and shouted about the amount of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada. "People in absolute shock," said Black. "That’s when the idea for the project really materialized in my head." When asked why the "Red" dresses, Black explains that she chose "Red" because that colour stirs up so many different emotions and feelings. "It's a really powerful colour, it can represent something beautiful like femininity, love and sexuality," she said. "But there's also the negative side that the colour invokes, like violence and bloodshed."
As an activist, a citizen of Canada and an Aboriginal (Metis) woman herself, Black knew she needed help bring this problem to the masses, to people that might not even know it exists. "We don't want issues like this to just get swept under the rug," said Black. "We need more awareness to create further funding for organizations that are fighting for these women who can't fight for themselves."
Always interested in activism and political actions, it wasn't until recent years that Black really discovered her Metis culture. Her Grandfather, which is where her Metis roots come from, was a big inspiration in her life. "He'd take me fishing and hunting and we'd look at Aboriginal art together," recalls Black. "At the time I didn't really know that that was my culture."
"As a political person I've been interested in why certain people have struggles throughout history, I feel like our country tries to hide things that have been kept silent for so long," she says. "I'm just trying to do my part in bringing some of these issues to light."
Hopefully the REDress Project will help shed some of that light on the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women in Manitoba.
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Last Updated (Friday, 08 April 2011 14:35)