The Union nationale’s regular programming consists of a wide range of events and activities that support our mandate by offering Francophone Métis a place to meet and live out their culture in French.
Much of our programming has been in place for generations. It is not unusual to see several generations of a family at a UNMSJM activity!
Wine and cheese night
Once a year in January
The UNMSJM offices, in the Centre du patrimoine
The Union nationale’s wine and cheese party always brings together many of our members. In the dead of winter, this is an event filled with warmth and fun, where members meet up, listen to traditional music and sip wine with bannock and other Métis treats!
Featuring a guest of honour!
Come and celebrate the Métis with us!
Auberge du Violon (or Fiddler's Inn)
Every year during Festival du Voyageur
In the basement of the St. Boniface Cathedrale
During the Festival du Voyageur, the Union nationale runs the Auberge du Violon in the basement of the St. Boniface Cathedral.
This Festival du Voyageur event features traditional Métis music and a dance floor that is never empty all evening. On the menu, delicious Métis food. A real treat!
The Auberge operates five times over the course of the Festival: don’t miss out!
* Organized together with the Conseil Elzéar-Goulet, a Winnipeg Francophone section of the Manitoba Métis Federation.
For Auberge du Violon programming, please consult the Festival du Voyageur program.
Louis Riel Day and Métis Flag Parade
Louis Riel Day, every year (the third Monday in February)
Voyageur Park, during the Festival du Voyageur
The third Monday in February (the Monday of Festival du Voyageur week) is a statutory holiday in Manitoba, named in honour of Louis Riel.
Every year on Louis Riel Day, the Union nationale organizes a parade of Métis flags around Voyageur Park. The parade ends at Fort Gibraltar where the flags are raised, to remain there for the rest of the Festival.
UAfterwards, a short ceremony to commemorate Louis Riel takes place, with speeches and music.
Annual General Meetings
Every year in March
The Annual General Meeting is an occasion for members to be heard, for the election of Board members and for a review of finances and operations for the previous year.
It is also an occasion for Board members and for the team to present the highlights of the previous year and describe upcoming activities.
And remember, the AGM provides the perfect chance to get together with other Francophone Métis to discuss the issues that affect our community!
Join us at the next AGM—and don’t forget to submit your membership application in order to have voting rights!
Work Party at the Pembina Cemetery
Every year in May
The Métis Cemetery in Pembina, North Dakota
Every year, members of the Union nationale visit the Métis hero cemetery in Pembina, ND, to maintain the gravestones of our deceased ancestors and to commemorate their many accomplishments.
There is often a visit to the Pembina State Museum, thanks to our partnership with a local Métis historian who lets us tour the collections.
The “Grand Rassemblement des Métis” Picnic
Every year, on the Thursday or the Saturday closest to June 21
Vermette Park (Ste. Anne’s Road at the Perimeter Highway)
The Grand Rassemblement des Métis (usually called simply The Picnic) has been organized by the Union nationale for generations.
On a fine afternoon in June, hundreds of Métis families gather in Vermette park to have fun and celebrate their Métis culture. There are games for the kids, bison burgers and traditional music that add up to a party you won’t soon forget!
Come and join us!
Commemoration at the Gravestones
Every year on November 16
The basement of the St. Boniface Cathedral
On November 16, the anniversary of the death of Louis Riel, the Union nationale holds a commemoration ceremony beside the tombs of heroes from Métis history.
A mass is celebrated for Louis Riel and other well-known Métis figures. This is followed by a short procession in the St. Boniface Cathedral cemetery.
We pause before the gravestones of Louis Riel and Ambroise Lépine, who was Louis Riel’s lieutenant during the 1869-70 Resistance and the first Chair of the UNMSJM in 1887. Then we visit the Elzéar Goulet monument. He was a member of Riel’s Provisional Government and a Métis martyr, killed by soldiers of the Wolseley Expedition who sank him with stones as he tried to swim across the Red River to refuge in St. Boniface.
Traditional Métis Arts Workshops
Every year, between September and April
St. Boniface Cathedral basement
Since 2018, the Union nationale has been offering a series of workshops in traditional Métis arts where participants can learn in French how to make various Métis crafts.
In small groups, participants are guided in their learning process by a qualified Métis artisan.
The specific traditional Métis crafts offered vary from year to year. Among them you will find:
*** The traditional arts workshops began in 2014 as part of the “Accompagnement des jeunes et leurs familles” (accompanying young people and their families) program led by the Union nationale and supported by Heritage Canada, Sport, Culture and Heritage Manitoba and the Festival du Voyageur.
The idea behind this initiative was to incorporate the practice of “training the trainers” while opening the workshops to all interested participants. The initiative ensured that workshop leaders had an apprentice/assistant, and we were able to train additional staff to meet the growing demand for our traditional arts workshops.
Métis Beading Circle
Every second Thursday
The Commons at The Forks
Virtually on ZOOM since November 2020
Since May 2020, and in partnership with the Festival du Voyageur (FDV), a French-language Métis beading circle has been held on Thursdays for beginner or advanced artisans.
The group is open to anyone who would like to learn Métis beading or perfect their technique!
Come bead with us!
Intergenerational Family Camp
Every year in August
St. Malo Provincial Park
Offered for the first time in August 2019, the Intergenerational Family Camp runs over three days in the St. Malo Provincial Park, and draws many Métis families.
During these three days in a natural setting, a host of activities take place that offer Métis families an opportunity to pass on their Métis culture to the younger generations.
** Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Intergenerational Family Camp for 2020 did not take place. Keep in touch for news of the summer 2021 camp!
Métis Youth Canoe Camp
Every year in July
Quetico Provincial Park, Ontario (led by Voyageur Wilderness)
Offered for the first time in August 2019, the Youth Canoe Camp, led by Voyageur Wilderness, takes place in Quetico Provincial Park, in Ontario.
Groups of ten young people spend a week learning the rudiments of canoeing and living in the wilderness, along with traditional Métis skills.
** Because of the COVID-19 pandemic the 2020 Youth Canoe Camp did not take place. Keep in touch for news of summer 2021
Photos: Courtesy of Sophie Moquin
Since the summer of 2019, thanks to generous support from Heritage Canada, we have been able to enhance our regular programming—and there is still more on the way!