Metis Culture and Heritage Resource Centre Inc. Profile
Revised February 2005
The Metis Culture and Heritage Resource Centre Inc. (MRC under went a name change to better reflect our mission in September 2003) is a Metis managed, non-profit, membership based charitable organization located in the City of Winnipeg, in the Province of Manitoba Canada. The Centre was founded in 1995 and has continually worked diligently to secure its future direction as outlined in our mission statement (revised September 2001):
To honor the richness of Metis culture and history through preservation, restoration, education and sharing.
Our membership base is open to all regardless of ancestral background, though Board Members must be Metis whose ancestry developed in the historic Red, Assiniboine and Saskatchewan river valleys and received Scrip. Scholars, professionals, students, tourists, and the general public make up a wide range of international users, including England, Scotland, New Zealand and Japan. Presently our membership is 180, with an additional 150 newsletter subscribers. For a small fee of $20.00 all those interested can be involved in the development of the Centre ($10.00 Membership + $10.00 Newsletter subscription).
Resources and services:
- A quarterly newsletter "Buffalo Trails and Tales", with a circulation of over 1200.
- Claiming Ourselves, a family history/genealogy fee for service program for Metis whose ancestors originated in the Red, Assiniboine, and Saskatchewan River Valley Areas. It is unique because it includes both French and English Metis family history data. No other institution in Canada has such a detailed resource delivered by and for the Metis. Now in our seventh year, the program has become increasingly popular. Since April 2004, 520 family trees have been researched and compiled into MCHRC genealogy books.
- Workshops at MCHRC: Metis genealogy, Michif language, jigging, beading, sash weaving, wall pockets, dream catchers, traditional medicines, moccasins, Metis history, Creative Retirement, the Internet, financial planning, and Old-time Metis fiddle to name a few.
- Community Outreach program - MCHRC staff have had displays and been guest speakers at schools, colleges, library’s, banks, conferences, Folklorama, Pan Am Games, shopping malls, youth centres, Stony Mountain Penitentiary, and Friendship Centres. Saskatoon Genealogy Society, Alberta Genealogy Society, Manitoba’s Genealogy Society.
- Schools Program - outreach to teachers and students in the past 10 years have been very successful. MCHRC staff has spoken to over 30,000 students to date in Winnipeg and some surrounding communities. The Gabriel Dumont Inst. students from Saskatchewan have visited our facility for the past 6 years researching their Metis roots. Each year they bring approx. 25 students.
- Research Facility, Metis-Specific Library, Consulting Services: A non-circulating resource holdings of over 2,177 research materials relating to Metis history and culture. Staff assists and provides reference services to researching guests.
- Material Culture Collection: A small but growing collection of historical and modern Metis artifacts and cultural materials for education, interpretation and preservation.
- Support Services: We handle numerous requests by telephone, e-mail or on-site visits. The Centre averages 150 contacts per week. Staff provides assistance on project planning, community activism, and heritage and culture preservation.
- Internet Site: The MCHRC has a comprehensive and widely used interactive web site with average 38,000 hits per year. The MRC Web Site was awarded the 2000 Cool Canuck Site Award for Canadian family content. The url is www.metisresourcecentre.mb.ca
- Referral services: We refer 50 people a week to various social, historical and political organizations in an effort to assist Metis people gain access to the resources and services.
- Community Networking - The MCHRC is committed to have been involved with S.T.O.P. (Solutions to Overcome Poverty), Metis Pavilion - Folklorama Committee, St. Boniface Historical Society, Manitoba Historical Society, and the Council of Women of Winnipeg as well as other organizations that invite the MCHRC to participate in.
- Funding and Project Partners: The MCHRC has partnered with S.T.O.P. (Solutions to Overcome Poverty), the Manitoba Metis Federation (Pemmican Publications, MMF Michif Language Committee, Louis Riel Institute), and the St. Boniface Historical Society on a genealogy project. These ventures have included funding from the Manitoba Metis Federation’s (Louis Riel Institute, Mitchif Language Committee) and the Canada Council for the Arts-Aboriginal Music Programme, M.M.F. Local Management Board (employment and training opportunities at MCHRC), Heritage Grants Advisory Council, and Community Mobilization Programme. In 2002-2004 the M.C.H.R.C. entered into a contribution agreement with Canadian Heritage under the Museum Assistance Programme. The M.C.H.R.C. purchased a computer, colour copier/printer and a photocopier due to a grant from the Winnipeg Foundation.
- Metis Traders - is a project of the MCHRC specializing in the promotion and sale of a variety of Metis specific goods created by Metis craftspeople. The crafters outlet has been in operation since 1998. Items are also marketed on-line, via the MCHRC web site. Funds earned from the MCHRC crafters outlet go to support the operations and a small amount of new product development.
Productions/publications – MCHRC publications include:
- The MCHRC brochure, Claiming Ourselves genealogy brochure,
- “Buffalo Tails and Trails” quarterly newsletter,
- “Red River Metis” a 10 page booklet,
- “Metis Summer” a 30 min. video,
- Colour brochure (French and English) tour of Metis historical sites in Winnipeg called “On the Metis Trail”
- Accompanied 30 second video vignette “On the Metis Trail” which is has been played on A.P.T.N., and on U.S.A. Public Television
- Jointly with the MMF: “La Lawng” Michif language dictionary booklet
- In 2001 MCHRC produced “Li Dawns di Michif”- Dances of the Metis, a Metis traditional 7-dance preservation video with funds provided by the Canada Council for the Arts- Aboriginal Music Programme.
- A 2003 “Michif Historical Date Calendar for youth and adults.
- “Michif Children’s Coloring Book for Children” with Michif on each page that is visually and culturally appropriate with a one-page insert teachers guide in both English and French. The National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention provided funds for the M.C.H.R.C. “Community Pride” colouring book and calendar project.
- In June 2002 the MCHRC and the Western Canada Pictorial Index compiled a pictorial display with accompanying text that was on view at Winnipeg’s City Hall and at Winnipeg’s main library.
- In 2002 the MCHRC along with Michif speaker and educator Rita Flamand developed and produced a book containing 10 lessons of “Michif Conversational Lessons for Beginners” with two audio cd’s.