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Metis journey planned for Manitoba’s 150th

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 03/25/2019 10:45 AM

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Plans are underway to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Manitoba’s entry into Confederation with a Metis-led journey along the historic Dawson Trail.

The Red River Metis Expedition would begin in early May 2020, just west of the Whitemouth River, and wind through the RMs of Reynolds, Ste Anne, and Tache on its way to a ceremony at Winnipeg’s Upper Fort Garry trading post.

Jenny Dupas, executive director of Eastman Tourism, said the idea originated with Armand Jerome, an Oakbank-based master builder of Red River carts who will lead the expedition.

She hopes Metis and First Nations elders will ride along, and is inviting members of the public to saddle up too, for as short or long a ride as they wish.

"It’s open to anyone and everyone."

An earlier leg of the journey by dogsled, beginning near the Ontario border, is also planned.

The horse-drawn caravan of carts and wagons would travel no more than 25 kilometres per day, said Jerome, who’s logged thousands of miles on previous commemorate journeys across Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

"There’s been a Metis resurgence," he said.

In the coming months, Dupas will meet with municipal councils, trail groups, museum and community club committees, and other stakeholders to drum up support for the one-time event, which she hopes will also birth a recurring Metis experience tour.

Richer’s Dawson Trail Museum is already onboard, and Dupas said she’ll also seek a portion of the $45 million in grant funding the Province of Manitoba has set aside for projects commemorating Manitoba’s 150th next July.

Those interested in volunteering or participating can contact Dupas at 204-451-1757.

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