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Cultures unite in friendship

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Pamela Sexsmith, Sweetgrass Writer, Lloydminster







Page 9

A bright, sunny day and warm hospitality greeted visitors at the fourth annual Metis day celebration held Aug. 12 in the border city of Lloydminster. With a record-breaking number of participants from Alberta and Saskatchewan joining in the cultural, culinary and sporting events, the day could not have turned out any better or have been more fun, said Val Cey, program co-ordinator at the Lloydminster Native Friendship Centre.

"Metis Day is a celebration of two cultures coming together in unity. It has been a growing event, as each year goes by, especially as our community has become more culturally diverse in our city," said Cey.

The day was a mixed bag of Cree, French, Dene and Scottish programming that included canoe racing, kayak paddling, log sawing, horseshoes, spike driving, pie eating, tug o' war, sack races, jigging, country dancing and an old-time fiddle band.

The LNFC Dancers entertained the crowds with jigging, square dancing and Scottish reels, turning heel and toe and spinning out "Drops of Brandy," led by Metis dance instructors Yvette Dejarlais and Faye Couston.

Dejarlais and Couston, two sisters who grew up steeped in Metis tradition at the Fishing Lake Settlement, explained that teaching the young dancers "was a way of retaining and passing down their culture, giving them back their heritage while having a lot of fun."

With another successful Metis Day under their sashes, Cey thanked the many volunteers and staff members who gave of themselves, their time and their commitment to the culture.

"We used to be a lost people, in the dark days of growing up, going through a time when there was a lot of shame put on them and their culture. Today is a great big day celebrating who we are and what we have overcome."