Yvette and Lionel Parenteau just thought they were going for a nice Father’s Day lunch on June 17.
To their surprise, Sherry McLennan was there, with a bouquet of flowers. McLennan, the Metis Nations – Saskatchewan Minister for Batoche, had an announcement.
‘She said we were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Batoche, Yvette recounted.
“We were quite excited.”
The Parenteaus are regulars at Back to Batoche, the annual celebration of the Métis people held just outside of the Batoche National Historic Site. They’ve been going with the 1970s. They’ve only missed it twice. Back then, they took all their children. Now, as they grow older, their children take them.
“It’s a great deal for us,” Yvette said, looking around the festival site.
‘We were around when it was in tents, and there was nothing like it is now with motorhomes and trailers.”
Thanks to the festival, she said, the couple has met many people.
The chance to go back to Batoche, for the Parenteaus, is a chance to go home. They’re from St. Laurent, just a few kilometres down the road, but now live in Prince Albert. As Mr. and Mrs. Batoche 2018, Yvette and Lionel got to participate in the Sunday mass and ceremony at the church and the cemetery. Lionel recounted the days he would make the walk there and back. He also talked about his other memories of the festival, racing wagons and watching the kids play ball.
He likes to go to Batoche.
“(The ceremony) was good,” he said of this year’s remembrance, which he described as emotional.
“There were lots of people. It’s nice. I like Batoche.”
Yvette is pleased with how the festival has grown.
“Look at what they’ve got in here, all the events,” she said.
“It is very cool.”