By Jeremy Derksen for #TakeItToTheLake
This is your invitation to #TakeItToTheLake this summer. Renew yourself by getting closer to the water and don’t forget to share this with friends and family so they can enjoy all the Smoky Lake region has to offer too.
Looking out on the historic Victoria Settlement on the grounds of present-day Métis Crossing, with its flourishing gardens and log-built homesteads backing onto the flowing waters of the North Saskatchewan River, one can begin to get a sense of what it meant to the Métis people, and what lessons we might take from that.
In today’s developed world, it’s easy to overlook the significance of the river in shaping culture and civilization in the pre-modern era. Before railways, highways and modern conveniences, rivers were life-giving hubs of activity.
Take a Meet the Métis tour at Métis Crossing, just 1.5 hours from Edmonton, and you’ll begin to appreciate how important those connections were.
Hit the road and #TakeItToTheLake this summer, ZenSeekers has more to get you there, it’s all right here – Explore Métis Heritage River.
In the Hunting Camp
It’s an easy stroll to the first stop on the Meet the Métis tour, where visitors learn about life in a hunting camp. Furs are stretched out for drying, and to give visitors a chance to feel the texture.
Next stop is a fishing camp, with a fire pit set up to smoke fish. For a little fun, kids (of all ages) can try their hands at fishing.
Returning to the Homestead
When the hunting and fishing seasons ended, many Métis would return to small homesteads, like the ones preserved here at Victoria Settlement.
Without computers or smartphones, the original Métis families here had to come up with other, creative ways to pass the time. Their sashes have become a symbol of the culture. Your skills will be tested with some finger weaving (just a bracelet, not a whole sash).
Dancing the Métis Jig
Dancing and music have been important to Métis culture. At Métis Crossing, you can learn it too – with the help of interpreters and some musical accompaniment.
“I would never have known about this place, that it was such a major fort between Edmonton and Winnipeg,” says Salma Ahmed, after a visit with her family this summer. “When you think about them going down the river, they had to have places to stop, and where they stopped is where people lived.”
Get out and find some space this summer; this is your invite to #TakeItToTheLake. Please share this story and for more ways to experience Métis Crossing check out the Zen Seeker story Explore Métis Heritage River.