The Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council was thrilled to welcome the public to the grand opening of their long-awaited cultural centre on Saturday.
Today’s festivities began with a sunrise ceremony which paid tribute to the Métis ancestors, including ones who were buried at the site.
The grand opening also featured a variety of activities like open-house tours, Métis workshops, traditional foods, games, music, dance, and special guest speakers.
In 2017, the Anglican Diocese of Algoma returned the former Metis burial ground and the three buildings located on the site to the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO).
The centre will now serve as a place for Métis citizens in Region 4 to gather and engage with their community.
The community centre will be available for members to take part in activities, programs, council meetings, and more.
Mitch Case, Region 4 Councillor on the Provisional Council of the MNO, says it’s an amazing feeling to have the facility up and running.
“For a community that’s had its land taken since 1880, and now to have a place that’s our own – it’s incredible,” Case says. “The feedback has been extremely positive from the community, council and the citizens.”
Anne Germond, the Archbishop for the Diocese of Algoma, says this is the start of an exciting new partnership.
“This is not just a new beginning for the Métis Nation of Ontario, but a new beginning for all of us,” she says. “I’m not Metis by birth, but by adoption. I feel very much a part of this community already.”
Germond adds she’s extremely thankful for the hard work that’s been put in to help make this historic venture possible.
“A huge amount of dedication and commitment has gone into what is happening today,” she says. “To watch this new centre emerging is so exciting and so wonderful, for me personally, but for us as a Diocese and for us as a church.”
The Sault Métis Centre can be found at 136 John Street.