Had the privilege and honor of being able to attend a 3 day Metis Nation Summit on Child and Family Services hosted at The Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg. Metis people from across Canada as well as some very special Maori guests from New Zealand all gathered together in the name of our Metis Children. Being Metis and a part of the child welfare system myself at 8 years old, being able to be a part of this event and to be present documenting it was truly a dream come true because it allowed me to combine my passion for photography and my passion towards Metis children in care.
"The Summit brought together practitioners, social workers, elders, youth and leaders of the Métis Nation to discuss the social and economic situation of families whose children find themselves in the care of provincial child and family services systems. It builds on the successful January emergency meeting on Indigenous child welfare called by Minister Philpott and the National Framework on the Well being of the Métis Child."
Set against the backdrop of the 1900's architecture of the hotel, many attending spoke of their experiences with the child welfare system, stories of their childhood and their ideas, hopes and goals towards the future to improve the lives of our Metis children. Youth and Elders came together to support one another in telling their stories, 60's scoop survivors also spoke of their experiences being placed in care or up for adoption. Despite the serious tone of the event, there was still a feeling of warmth and joy from being united together with hope for the future. Throughout the 3 days of presentations, panels and workshops, there were many entertainers and performers showcasing their Metis talent such as jigging, fiddling and singing. During the conference, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services, announced $ 1 million in funding to the Métis National Council to support their consultation efforts towards culturally appropriate child welfare reform. Despite a full schedule, the delegates of the summit also had the opportunity to enrich themselves in the history and culture of Winnipeg with a visit to the Museum of Human rights as well as a visit to pay Homage to a Metis icon, Louis Riel's final resting place alongside the Red River.
I am so grateful and blessed to have been a part of this amazing and unforgettable experience in Metis History.