First Nations converged on the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines this evening in celebration of their arts, culture and tradition.
The ceremony opened with a solemn procession to honour the flags of the Nations and a special ceremony to honour First Nations’ veterans of various wars fought by Canada.
A tent is set up on the grounds for the 3-day event by the Métis Nation to show the tradition and culture of the community.
Glen Lipinski, Consultation and Community Relations Coordinator the Métis Nation of Ontario told Mosaic Edition the display of the tradition and culture would help inform the public on the journey of the Métis Nation.
The Métis camp depicts how the Métis lived and travelled in the early days. The tent depicts the culture as accurately as it can.
Representatives of the Métis Nation will eat and sleep in the tent for the period of the celebration.
The camp will also display furs, which symbolized the economic activities of the community.
We want to tell our stories, we want people to know the Métis people exist and have been here before Canada was Canada, says Glen Lipinski.
He said people of the indigenous background should not be ashamed or hide their background rather they should be proud of it.
On the Métis campsite is the sacred fire. The sacred fire happens when there is a gathering of the Indigenous people. It is lit at the beginning of the event and burns 24/7until the end of the event. A fire keeper is dedicated to make sure the fire keeps burning.
There is a ring of cedar branches around the sacred fire. No one is allowed to walk across the circle. One can enter the circle from an opening on the east side.
There is a medicine bowl located close to the sacred fire. It contains various medicines including sage that can be sprinkled on the fire for wishes and prayers.
Glen Lipinski was wearing the traditional costume of the Métis nation with the sash around the waist, the moccasin shoes and a pouch.