Journey Home Gathering brings Métis together
- Kaitlynn Nordal | July 24, 2019
For 16 people, last week was all about meeting new people and connecting with their culture.
From July 14 to 18, The Mamawi Project in Saskatoon hosted The Journey Home Gathering, where young Métis leaders from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba all came together in Saskatoon and traveled to places such as Round Prairie, Duck Lake, and Batoche, and talked with Elders and Knowledge Keepers at each stop.
The idea for the Journey Home Gathering came from a few people at The Mamawi Project discussing spending a week together with other young Métis people discussing the future, meeting with Elders and Knowledge Keepers and seeing sights of historical significance to their culture in Saskatchewan.
“We try to find ways to connect people and that’s what this was about,” said Justin Wiebe, one of the organizers and member of The Mamawi Project. “It was a time where we got to visit some of our important places as Metis people and connect with each other, knowledge keepers, and spend some time discussing what the future of our nation might look like.”
The gathering was done by word of mouth and whomever wanted to come could, but they wanted to keep the group small to ensure everyone got a chance to know each other.
The gathering was a full week for those who participated in it. Everyone gathered in Saskatoon on the evening of the 14th and had supper together as a way of first getting to know each other. The morning of the 15th opened with Métis literature. In the afternoon, everyone met with Cort Dogniez at his house and had soup and bannock. In the morning of the 16th, participants traveled to Round Prairie and learnt the history of the place. They then spent the afternoon with Maria Campbell. The next stop was Duck Lake and they also visited the shrine at St-Laurent-Grandin. The gathering finished on the 18th in Batoche to coincide with Batoche Days.
The places stopped at were chosen not only because of their historical significance but also because participants had friends or family at that location.
According to Wiebe, having an event like this not only brings more awareness for people about their Métis culture, but it also brings a sense of pride.
“I think with this era we are in now having spaces for Metis young people to gather is critical. It’s helped us instill that pride in who we are. It helps to ensure that we know who we are, we know our communities, learn our stories and we are able to visit those important places,” said Wiebe. “It’s about learning (and) just being able to sit with each other and elders and hear those stories so that we are equipped to take on leadership in our communities.”
Wiebe hopes the connections forged over the week last the participants for the rest of their lives.
“This gathering has been about bringing people together in a good way. We shared laughs and we learned a lot ...we build relationships that will sustain beyond this gathering and will last us a lifetime.” said Wiebe.