June is National Indigenous History Month. There is usually some celebrations in Slave Lake to commemorate this event. Last year, this included the first annual Métis Fest in Slave Lake. It was held in all six Métis regions of Alberta on the same day.
“Last year, it was a big do,” says Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Region 5 president Hilda Lambert.
The event held at the Slave Lake Inn included a jigging contest, stew and bannock, and many more events throughout the day.
This year, the content is similar, but the form has changed.
Instead of each region organizing something, says Lambert, head office in Edmonton is bringing together videos for a virtual Métis Fest on June 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Alberta Métis Fest will stream live,” says a June 3 MNA media release, “connecting viewers from all over Alberta, Canada and the world with Métis culture and supporting Métis performers and artisans who may currently be struggling financially due to COVID-19.”
The event will include videos of fiddlers, guitarists and other Métis musicians from Region 5 and other regions. There is also a virtual jigging contest. The deadline to submit a video was June 5.
Door prizes were made by local Métis artisans.
Everyone is welcome to log in and view the festivities.
The full experience is available on the ‘PSAV Events’ app this includes access to a virtual trade show, discussion rooms, and bonus content. For people who don’t want to download yet another app, it will also be broadcast on the Alberta Métis Fest’s Facebook page.
“Since its inception in 1928,” says the media release, “the MNA promotes and facilitates the advancement of Métis people in Alberta through self-reliance, self-determination and self-management.”