CUPE members proudly joined the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan in celebrating the 41st annual Back to Batoche Days in Saskatchewan. Held this year from July 21 to 24, the special event celebrates Métis culture and traditions at historic Batoche, the site of a key battle in the North-West Resistance of 1885.
CUPE sponsored and participated in several different events at the celebration, including jigging, fiddling, and square dancing, a “Métis got talent” competition, as well as traditional sports and voyageur games. CUPE representatives Tony Head and Don Moran hosted aspecial CUPE table at the festival’s Artisans Village, where they shared information about the union and gave away prizes.
CUPE’s participation in this year’s events comes after last year’s signing of an historic partnership agreement with the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan that commits both organizations to working together to improve inclusivity and representation of Métis people in the public sector workforce.
“CUPE Saskatchewan is honored and excited to be included in these celebrations,” said CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham. “Events like Back to Batoche are a great companion for the real work of our partnership—finding ways to improve opportunity and equality in our province.”
CUPE National President Paul Moist spoke on the importance of supporting the Back to Batoche Days. “Events like this that celebrate Métis history and culture showcase the significant contributions Métis people have made to the growth and development of Canada,” said Moist. “CUPE’s involvement in events like Back to Batoche is instrumental to their success.”
Entertainers at the festival, including John Arcand, Donny Parenteu, Darren Lavalle and Ryan Keplin, provided music and entertainment from morning to the late evening.
Other highlights included an attempt to break the Guinness world record for the largest spoon ensemble. Participants this year fell 541 spoon players short of the record 1,364 spoon player ensemble, held by a group in India. Organizers were committed to trying again at next year’s event.