This winter I became better acquainted with local historian, Dave Rondeau. We met each other through the gun shop in its earlier days and shared some similar interests, off and on. February 2023 brought the Prince Albert Winter Festival which I’ve come to participate in as a board member. This year I was asked to be the Master of Ceremonies for the King Trapper event – I was honoured and I also had a chance to work with Mr. Rondeau. While all the events of the day were fascinating, the Swede saw is one of the most impressive. Click here to see: Swede Saw Event Video
That weekend was extremely cold. The windchill was at least -30C for most parts of it and I was dressed in multiple layers of wool and fur in order to survive the frigid temperatures. What I couldn’t get over, every time I looked at him, were Mr. Rondeau’s exposed bare hands. Dude. I recall trying to do the same thing at one point or another a few days later, thinking, “How bad could it be?” only to find myself trying to escape the pain of frozen limbs by warming them up in cold water. We continued to work into that weekend and I learned so much. I can say I’m much better and way more efficient at starting a fire – one of life’s important lessons. Hotdogs for all.
As the clutches of winter start to unhinge, I am naturally drawn outdoors to re-discover the awakening. An awakening in myself, as well, as I begin again to work closely with my Metis brothers and sisters (mostly cousins) in the Prince Albert area. As a result of my meetings with Mr. Rondeau and Regional Director Sherry McLennan, both pillars of strength and leadership within the Metis community, I found myself called to serve in the most incredible way – as a lead Firearm Instructor for the region I live in. This is life changing for many as we reach out to the men, women, and children in the area to encourage a positive lifestyle.
Conversations surrounding Section 35(2) rights of the Canadian Constitution began to unfold between Mr. Rondeau and I when I learned about the Metis Central WR-2 Council of the Hunt. Throughout my life here in Prince Albert I’ve learned about the value of keeping myself and my family connected to the earth. I see the significance of self-reliance. I understand the importance of honouring and protecting Saskatchewan’s wildlife and resources. I came a long way in gaining the knowledge I’ve retained as an arms dealer. Perhaps it was my chance meeting with certain individuals, but knowing who really is in control, overall, on April 2, 2023 I was voted in as the Treasurer for the Western Region 2 Harvest Council. All of this has built up before me very quickly and there is quite a history behind it.
For as much as I know, my roots run deep into the Duck Lake and Red River Settlements. One of my grandmothers, from as far back as I can go down that line, didn’t even have a last name: Josephte (Sha-we-na-quah) Assiniboine Woman born in 1777: grandmother also to the Gabriel Dumont. I am more recently vocal about this part of my family tree as government attempts to silence the voice and gifts bestowed to me. That is another story, for another time – but I will leave here part of a document I am to sign in order to be publicly recognized as a Metis person within the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan. I won’t sign it but that doesn’t make me not who I am.
Right now the WR-2 Harvest Council is seeking answers as to why the Metis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN-S) has produced seemingly little effort to understand and enforce a hunting/trapping/fishing/gathering policy for the Saskatchewan Metis community. There is a lot of money unaccounted for. There are a lot of policies and decision making which are questionable and don’t appear to have the best interests of our community as a whole. It appears a few people might be making the majority of decisions and it may be to our detriment. I have yet to uncover this. The legwork in our area is being done and we are looking at working with the larger body to develop a fair and transparent system. Our people will look to validate the concerns and questions presented by the WR-2 Harvest Council.
For the next while I am going to spend some time figuring out what’s going on in and around our region. I may come up with nothing; I might discover a lot more than expected. I’m going to dig a little deeper and figure out how provincial and federal connections seem to be affecting our spirit in many ways at the local levels. With much discussion happening around certain international agendas, now seems like a good time to get into my research mode once again. Hunting rights are an interesting albeit heavy topic of discussion in rural Canada but if there’s one thing I know about Metis people, we are easily the messengers, the middle ground, the mediators – once before we were called to keep the connections balanced and I have faith this is what we are once again called to do.
There is a petition formulated and we are ready to proceed to the next level – we just need the signatures to keep going. There are many good people standing with us; please consider signing the petition so we can present our concerns to the provincial government in a fair and transparent way. Petition locations are at the gun shop as well as the Metis Central WR-2 office in Prince Albert.