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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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The BeginningsThe People and Their CommunitiesCulture and Lifeways
St-Paul-des-Métis Dance Troupe, Circa 1920

The traditional fiddle music and dance of the Métis has a long history dating from the time when the voyageurs enjoyed them as a diversion from the struggle of their daily lives. There are reports of early Métis settlers forming dance groups that provided entertainment for their people and opportunities for others to experience their traditional dances and music.

In 1895, Father Lacombe called upon Father Thérien to assist in the establishment of the St-Paul-des-Métis settlement. The Federal Cabinet passed an order-in-council, which officially established a colony in the area named St-Paul-des-Métis on 28 December. This order provided the colony with land for 21 years. A $2000 grant was also provided for seed and equipment, but by 1905, following successive crop failures, the colony was considered a failure.

The French-Canadian community co-existed with a strong Métis community that continued to promote itself and its culture with a dance troupe of its own in the 1920s.

The St-Paul-des-Métis Dance Troupe was similar to the many Métis dance groups that are active today, such as the Edmonton Métis Cultural Dance Society. The Edmonton Métis Cultural Dance Society promotes the Métis culture, traditional dances, music, and history. They also teach others their music and dance.

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St-Paul-des-Métis Dance Troupe, Circa 1920

Buffalo Lake Métis Gathering

 

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