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Dumont Lodge to help strengthen Métis youth's culture, values

The Dumont Lodge will be the permanent home of the Riel Scouts program.

BATOCHE — Today, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) broke ground at the Batoche Festival Grounds for the Dumont Lodge. This new 18,000-square-foot building will serve as a cultural hub for Métis youth.

The project, funded by the federal government's Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples and MN-S Housing and Early Learning and Child Care, is expected to cost $8 million.

During the ceremony, Métis Elder Max Morin opened with a prayer. At the same time, Elder Louise Oelke blessed the ground where the lodge will be built, near the wooded surroundings of the festival grounds, north of the racetrack.

MN-S President Glen McCallum emphasized the importance of the lodge, which will serve as a place where young Métis people can learn about their culture and traditions.

He added that the project had been long overdue and would help develop further the ancestral lands of the Métis, which also holds significant historical value as the site of the North-West Rebellion of 1885.

“We can start developing this property that we call our land; our history stems from here. To be able to have a lodge like this where young people can get back to their identity, cultural values and language and to have our elders be able to participate,” said McCallum.

“It is a great day for the Métis Nation. It is a great day for our young people that they know there is a place for them to go and to be able to learn our history and our ways. It is [also] for everybody to learn about the history of the Métis.”

McCallum also expressed his gratitude for the cooperation and trust of the provincial and federal governments in making the project a reality. Construction will begin as soon as the snow thaws, with a public grand opening targeted for this fall.

“The planning did not take that long. [The MN-S] government is structured so that people can trust that they can work with us. We have a good government. We have a great staff and good partners. We are going to continue doing good things,” said McCallum.

The Dumont Lodge will be home to the Riel Scouts, a youth program for Métis youth aged five to 18. The program aims to instill pride in Métis heritage by immersing them in core Métis values and culture and teaching the Michif language through the guidance of Métis elders.

“We expect by July when the Back to Batoche celebration opens, most of the building will be up and just about done. Hopefully, later in the summer, this place will be done and ready to be used,” said McCallum.

“Riel Scouts Lodge sits on historical Métis land grounded in our identity, culture, values and language. It is the appropriate place to remember our history and reconnect with our land through programming with our youth.”

A federal partnership with the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples and Inter-Ministerial cooperation with MN-S Housing and Early Learning and Child Care helped fund the $8 million for the Dumont House project.

Jason Surkan, a Métis architect with Solo Architecture, designed the lodge with 3twenty Modular Construction supporting the Métis community by offering sub-trade apprenticeships during its building process.

“This project is an all-encompassing Métis educational and environmental tribute to our identity, culture, values and language that will leave a legacy for generations to come,” said McCallum.