New cultural society for Métis in Maple Ridge

Métis people living in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Coquitlam welcome to join

A baby in a beaded moss bag made by Métis artist Lisa Shepherd.

If you are a registered Métis citizen, identify as Métis but don’t have a citizenship number or if you have heard whisperings that there was a Métis relative somewhere in the family tree, Lisa Shepherd and Sherri Thompson want to hear from you.

Shepherd and Thompson are in the process of creating a cultural society to serve the interests of Métis people living in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Coquitlam.

Hoping to secure the name Golden Ears Métis Society for the organization, the two have a vision of connecting Métis people to each other and to their community.

GEMS vision is clear. It’s all about culture.

The group will gather monthly to share culture, stories and teachings, while the business end will be handled at a board level.

When members gather, they can expect to experience culture and connection with community rather than the reading of minutes, business discussion, or politics.

If a member of the group is interested in the business end, then they are encouraged to consider filling a position on the board. Everyone else can expect to have fun while exploring their culture.

Shepherd says that GEMS fills a need in the community.

As a Métis artist, she brings traditional art and culture into schools and even teaches traditional jigging through Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Parks & Leisure Services.

“I meet people who are at the beginning of their journey learning their identity as Métis people,” she explains.

“I encourage them to join a community but not many are willing or able to travel to Abbotsford or Langley to join the nearest group.”

With more than 60,000 British Columbians identifying as Métis, it stands to reason that there are some in our backyard that are in need of a place to learn and connect with their culture.

• Any person interested in finding out more about Golden Ears Métis Society is asked to attend the first gathering at 6:30 p.m. today (Nov. 23) in the Alouette Room of the Maple Ridge Public Library. You will be able to try a cup of Muskeg tea and enjoy a traditional dance demonstration. The next meeting will be held on Jan. 11. For more information, email goldenearsmetis@gmail.com.

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