Annual Metis Gala this Saturday

Funds raised through this Saturdays 18th Annual Metis Gala will be used to continue sharing Metis culture in Portage la Prairie.

Organizers say the Gala — their main fundraiser — goes a long way in helping the Manitoba Metis Federation Portage Chapter keep active in the community with family events that have become favourites.

All Metis organized events here are free to attend and always include music, dance and Metis culture. Money raised goes to offset operating costs to put on Louis Riél Day, Metis Day, the gala participation in Indigenous Days and this year the local also participated in the Fort la Reine Museum celebration of culture.

“Funds are also used to continue running many of our programs involving youth be it cooking, music, sports and right now we are looking at trying to get our youth into the community more. A big part of what we do involves youth. We would also like to increase our bursary we started with the schools,” says organizer Kerri Vandenberg and chairperson for the local.

The bursary is new and is for a graduating Metis student moving on to post-secondary studies. The first one was awarded in June 2019.

“The gala gets underway on Saturday from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the MNP building on Island Park,” explains Sandra Sharpe who is helping organize the gala and chairs the culture and heritage committee for the local. “There will be some vendors and we will have 10 entertainers. We will have dancers, new dancers, Portage Little Steppers (young dancers benefitting from part of the Metis local’s youth programming) who are learning Metis dancing.” Al Desjarlais will be the house band.

There will also be live and silent auctions

A great Metis celebration includes equal parts of family fun, music and dance and this year’s gala has lined up all three in equal measures.

Instead of a sit-down dinner this year, those attending can purchase hamburgers or hotdogs before entering the building. Gotta Have That Lemonade will add to the many flavours available. A casual approach is expected to attract a larger crowd. Usually, 150-200 people attend.

“It’s a very short program with a lot of fun packed into it,” said Vandenberg.

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