Willow Lake Métis Group News

Willow Lake Métis Nation Hosts Celebration of Historic Métis Milestone

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The festivities honoured the resilience of the Métis people and the importance of partnerships.

ANZAC, AB, June 3, 2022 – In celebration of its newly acquired land, Willow Lake Métis Nation (WLMN), an Anzac, Alberta-based Métis community, hosted a celebration on its land today to celebrate the historic Métis milestone and thank the stakeholders who were pivotal in its success.

The approximately 205 acres of land will provide Willow Lake citizens with food, power, and cultural and social security. Sohkastwâwin will feature an eco-bison ranch and local food source, a garden, community culture centre, and Métis housing. The Nation also has plans for cultural education programming, local power generation, climate resilience design, net zero emissions, disaster mitigation, and tourism.

“Today is a celebration of a historic milestone for Métis peoples, and Willow Lake Métis Nation is incredibly proud to be leading the charge,” says Stella Lavallee, President of WLMN. “Sohkastwâwin, Cree for ‘the act of being resilient,’ is so much more than land. It is a tangible representation of our Nation’s resilience and our strong commitment to mitigate climate change.”

In September 2021, WLMN, Suncor, and seven other Indigenous communities in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo announced Astisiy Limited Partnership and its resulting 15 per cent ownership of the Northern Courier Pipeline. WLMN used the revenue to acquire approximately 205 acres on the former Platt Farm land, located at Site 403, Mod 8, Comp 5, RR 2, Fort McMurray, AB T9H 5S1.

“Bison and the Métis are intricately connected, and both share a powerful historical connection to all living things,” says Justin Bourque, CEO of WLMN. “Revitalizing our connection with the bison will be a key component in our work to revitalize our land and lay the foundation for our future.”

Stakeholders and supporters from across the country were invited to the unveiling. Their inclusion underpins the importance of collaborative partnerships and underscores that while WLMN is and always has been self-reliant, relationships are the backbone of the success they celebrate today.

“Sohkastwâwin is proof that more can be accomplished together than on your own,” continues Bourque. “Our Nation’s success is not built by our achievements, but by the relationships and partnerships we have formed. These connections have bolstered our confidence to continue to actively maintain our right to self-governance. The Willow Lake Métis always have been – and always will be – resilient peoples.”peter@ciprcommunications.com

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