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Guide to Powwow Country: Métis Hivernant Days - Big Valley, Alberta


Windspeaker Staff







Big Valley, Alberta
August 2 - 4, 2013

A family event where visitors can immerse themselves in Métis culture will be enjoyed at Big Valley on the first weekend of August. The tenth annual Métis Hivernant Days will be jam-packed with activities. Aptly named, hivernant is derived from a French word for gathering place. And gather they do, for traditional crafts, games, good food, dancing, singing and lots of stimulating fellowship. With alcohol being off-limits, it is truly a fun family event. The event is organized by the non-profit Hivernant Métis Cultural Society, which exists to preserve and present the Métis culture. Interpreters in authentic Métis garb interact with the visitors. Activities get underway on Friday night when a train flying the Métis flags will arrive. Saturday starts off with a breakfast at the community hall, opening ceremonies and a parade. Craft demonstrations throughout the day will include beading projects, drum making and baking of bannock. The ancient art of capote making, which is the sewing of a Hudson Bay blanket into a warm and serviceable winter coat, will also be explored, recognizing the strong heritage of trading at which the early Métis inhabitants excelled. A special offering of children’s games and crafts will be available as well. Supper and a dance at the community hall will conclude the day, with the focus on keeping participation affordable with a $25 admission fee for an entire family. Many other activities are free or priced at a modest $5. Sunday will begin with a church service followed by a talent contest which will feature jigging, singing and fiddling, guaranteeing a toe-tapping time for all. Big Valley is located 20 km of Red Deer and offers hotel, restaurant and camping facilities. Its population of 300-plus citizens may be small but its welcome to the Métis Hivernant Days is big!