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Métis Nation-SK to celebrate 50th year of Back to Batoche

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Métis Nation-Saskatchewan president Glen McCallum addresses their citizens during their legislative assembly last month.

BATOCHE — Métis Nation-Saskatchewan is excited to welcome its citizens and guests to the 50th celebration of Back to Batoche Days.

This year marks a return to festival grounds, after two years of virtual celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MN-S President Glen McCallum said the past two years of the pandemic also showed their courage and resiliency but not without sacrifice.

“Back to Batoche is always an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family and enjoy food, entertainment, and dance while visiting and hearing stories,” said McCallum.

“This year’s festivities have special significance for us all because it marks 50 years of the festival coming back to Batoche.”

Back to Batoche Days is an annual celebration in the historic heartland of the Métis, on the national historic site of the Battle of Batoche.

It is an opportunity to share the Métis culture, honour Métis veterans and reconnect with the land where Métis heroes valiantly fought in the 1885 Northwest Resistance.

The festival showcases Métis culture through storytelling, fiddling, jigging, square-dancing, music, Métis artists, traditional land use teachings, voyageur games, chuckwagon racing, sports, contemporary games, Indigenous language and traditional food.

This year, to honour those lost during the pandemic, MN-S is hosting a special memorial ceremony at the historic graveyard in Batoche on Sunday, July 24.

The names of loved ones will be placed in a special urn which will be buried in the graveyard.

“With restrictions on gatherings over the past two years, many of us have not had the opportunity to come together to grieve for our loved ones and celebrate their lives as we would have traditionally done,” said McCallum.

“This memorial will hopefully serve as an opportunity for people to properly say goodbye to those we lost during the pandemic. Ka-yah-me-sta-moo-wah-na-wok (we’ll pray for them).”

A full schedule of Back to Batoche Days is available on the Métis gathering website. You can watch along with a Livestream of the Main Stage of the festival on this site or on the MN-S Facebook page.