Funding for a major new Alberta Metis centre has been announced by the federal and Alberta governments and the Metis Nation of Alberta (MNA).
The funding will be used to create a new Metis cultural gathering centre at the Metis Crossing heritage site, located downstream from Edmonton on the North Saskatchewan River within the Victoria District National Historic Site. Metis Crossing encompasses 512 acres and features a historic village, restored homesteads and nature trails. It offers outdoor programming such as voyageur canoe trips, festivals and comfort camping in newly built Metis trappers tents.
The new cultural gathering centre will provide a welcoming indoor space for visitors to enjoy after outdoor activities. With meeting rooms, classrooms, exhibit and interpretive spaces, it will also enable Metis Crossing to offer year-round programming for the first time with experiences such as trapping, night sky-watching and snowshoeing.
“Métis Crossing is a place of pride where we not only share culture and tradition but offer an opportunity for others to learn and experience Métis culture,” says MNA President Audrey Poitras. “Our long awaited Cultural Gathering Centre, that has been a dream of Alberta’s Métis people for decades, is finally underway and will open up so many more future possibilities for visitors to enjoy in every season.”
“Investing in cultural infrastructure plays an important role in developing dynamic communities, promoting tourism and preserving Canada’s heritage, including the history and experiences of the Métis,” says Amarjeet Sohi, the Edmonton MP who is also the federal minister of Infrastructure and Communities whose department is providing $3.5 million in funding for the project through the Major Infrastructure Component of its Building Canada Fund.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support the Métis Nation of Alberta in honouring this region’s—and Canada’s—diverse heritage and history by investing in the construction of a new cultural gathering centre for Métis Crossing,” Sohi said. “The new centre will not only serve as a year-round tourist attraction, it will also act as a social gathering place for the community where residents and visitors can celebrate the unique traditions, art and culture of the Métis.”
“Métis Crossing will contribute to the local and provincial economy while showcasing the history of a proud people – the Métis people of Alberta, “said Richard Feehan, Alberta Minister of Indigenous relations. “Through this initiative, visitors from across the province and the country will learn about the importance of the Métis to Alberta and Canada through several exhibits and historical village tours.” The Government of Alberta is contributing $1 million and the Métis Nation of Alberta is providing the remaining project costs.
Métis Crossing is the first Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta. It mirrors Métis core values such as self-sufficiency, respect for Elders, encouraging youth participation and cultural pride. This site is one of many initiatives and projects the Métis Nation of Alberta supports to develop the socio-economic and cultural well-being of Métis people in Alberta.
Construction of the new cultural centre is scheduled to be completed in the late summer of 2019.
The Government of Canada will invest more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
$25.3 billion of this funding will support social (including cultural and recreational) infrastructure in Canadian communities.
$4 billion of this funding will support infrastructure projects in Indigenous communities.