Lisa Stephens shows off some simple dance steps to students at KVR Middle School as she teaches them to do a Métis style jig, part of cultural activities Monday at the school. Steve Kidd/Western News

Video: KVR students explore Métis culture and history

KVR Middle School immerses students in Métis culture

The Métis culture is a lively one, but it was even more lively Monday at KVR Middle School when the students took part in a Louis Riel Day gathering.

Terry Kennedy, president of the South Okanagan Similkameen Métis Association, is delighted to see all the activity, watching students enjoy a nutrition break with a Métis tea and cookies.

The gathering at KVR was in honour of Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, the province he helped found through the Red River Rebellion of 1869-70.

“Louis Riel was a very important person in Canadian history but also for the Métis,” said Kennedy, explaining that the kids were learning about Métis history and culture through different activities like dance, the language — Michif — and other cultural activities like making spoons – the musical instrument kind.

“This is the second year that the KVR school has done this and I think it is fantastic the Métis are being showcased within the school.”

Kennedy said it’s only in the last couple of decades the Métis have become more proud of their culture and heritage, saying “this is who we are.”

“For so many years they have not done that because of a lot of racism. Other people did not value the Métis culture,” she said. “Learning about Louis Riel in the context of why he is important in Canadian history is part of people learning the story of the Métis.”

Riel, a politician and a political leader of the Métis, sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as Canada spread into the prairies, leading two rebellions. The North-West Rebellion of 1885 wasn’t as successful as his earlier action, ended in his arrest and conviction for high treason, and sentenced to hang.

“He was a Canadian hero, he was a traitor,” said s1, simply expressing the dichotomy of Riel, a cultural folk hero to the Métis and others. “The Canadian government was just taking over the whole land and he decided to stand up and defend the Métis and First Nations people.”

Kennedy explained how the inhabitants of what would become the prairie provinces asked Riel to help them.

“They wanted a voice, they wanted someone to speak up for them because First Nations people and the Métis were ignored in all of this negotiation for this land they had grown to think of as their own.”

For the Grade 6 students at KVR, that ancient history was brought back to life as they explored the ongoing culture of the Métis that Riel was standing up for.

“It is really quite interesting to watch them go through the various station throughout the day. They are very involved and they are quite enjoying it,” said Kennedy.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

‘Hero’ kid fighting cancer helping with B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraiser

Penticton’s Wills Hodgkinson helping raise funds for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Vees add another notch to the win column

The team beat the Surrey Eagles 4-1 in the Bauer BCHL Showcase on Sept. 20

50-site RV park proposed for Okanagan Falls

An applicant has requested the property area be rezoned to Commerical Tourist instead of Industrial

City council passes tax exemptions without discussion

Permissive tax exemptions approved for 2019

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

Most Read