Métis Crossing—the Métis heritage site near Smoky Lake owned and operated by Métis Nation of Alberta—recently won an award for their entrepreneurial spirit. The award was granted by the Growing Rural Tourism Conference on February 14, 2017. The $6,000 dollar award will go toward funding the Métis Crossing Voyageur Experience Program in which travelers can experience the life of a Métis voyageur during the 19th century fur trade era. The experience will be made possible through strategic partnerships with Haskin Canoes and Victoria Settlement.
Participants involved in the experience will be offered comfort camping, spending the nights under starry skies in an authentic Métis trapper’s tent. Home-cooked meals consisting of bannock, berries, and other ingredients procured from the land will be provided for breakfast and lunch. A traditional fish fry with all the fixings will be served for dinner. In the morning, partakers will visit a Métis trap line and learn about living off the land, including making and tasting locally foraged teas. Participants will additionally explore the river valley to learn about local wildlife and medicinal plants and trees. In the afternoon, participants will undertake a canoe voyage to Fort Victoria to experience life at the early Settlement when it was founded in 1860 and learn about commerce and trade during the mid-1800s fur trade era. The experience will conclude with a return trip to Métis Crossing where participants will partake in Métis jigging lessons and learn the famous Métis dance number, The Red River Jig.
A pilot run of the camp takes place on May 24, 2017. On this day, a group of approximately 40 educators will visit Métis Crossing to experience life as a Métis voyageur in 19th century Alberta. The project is currently in the preliminary stages, however, MNA will be providing further details about how to get involved going into the future.