“Along with our Annual Métis Festival, which is focused on bringing Métis culture to our youth, and our Annual Infinity Golf Tournament, which raises the money we need to ensure a proper education is accessible to the Métis people of Fort McMurray, the Elders Christmas celebration is a chance to celebrate the successes of our community made possible by our Elders,” said McMurray Métis President James ‘Dickie’ Dragon in his remarks at the Elder’s celebration.
With almost 400 Métis Elders, First Nations Elders, and Fort McMurray seniors in attendance from across the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo all who came had an enjoyable evening of good food and wonderful entertainment with friends. As it does every year, the McMurray Métis were pleased to welcome Aboriginal Elders and local seniors from Rotary House, Araubasca House, Legion Manor, the Long Term Care facility at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre, as well as members of the Golden Years Society and the Nistawayou Friendship Centre. Also in attendance were Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras, Fort Chipewyan Métis President Fred ‘Jumbo’ Fraser, and Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Councilor Jane Stroud. The 2013 Elder of the Year award was presented to Métis Local 1935 Member Almer Waniandy. Past recipients include Sylvia Hodgson and Kay Loutitt in 2012, Violet Hansen in 2011, Joe Hamelin and Elsie Yanick in 2010, and James ‘Dickie’ Dragon in 2009.
In a letter written by Fort McMurray—Conklin MLA Don Scott, which was read by Métis Local 1935 Vice-President Bill Loutitt, he said, “This evening is a celebration of the Aboriginal Elders of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo. They are our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers; our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers. There is no group in our society that should be held in higher esteem for their decades of contributions to the families they raised and the communities they have built for all of us…and to all the Elders in attendance this evening I would like to offer a personal thank-you. Without you we would not have the wonderful community we have today.”
Founded in 1987, the McMurray Métis are a part of the Métis Nation of Alberta and its mission is to pursue the advancement of the Métis people of Fort McMurray and Northeastern Alberta. For more information please visit www.McMurrayMetis.org.