Major build in Batoche and launch of new youth program a reconnection to Métis tradition

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan ground blessing ceremony at the Batoche Festival Grounds on April 4, 2023, to mark the start of construction on the new Dumont Lodge. -- Métis Nation – Saskatchewan/Facebook.

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MN–S) has recently announced a new two-part project in partnership with the Government of Canada aimed at reconnecting Métis youth to their identity, culture, values, and traditions.

A special ground blessing ceremony was held on April 4 in Batoche to mark the start of construction on the $8 million, 18,000 square foot Dumont Lodge. The Lodge will sit in the wooded surroundings on the Batoche Festival Grounds, immediately north of the racetrack.

With the guidance of MN–S Elders, everything from the traditional Métis framing techniques to windows to floor tiles was designed to reflect Métis culture. Solo Architecture, a land-based architecture and design studio grounded in Treaty Six territory, embraced this Métis vision and designed every inch of the Dumont Lodge to be used as an educational tool.

3twenty Modular Construction will be further supporting the Métis community during the building process by offering sub-trade apprenticeships to MN—S citizens.

Upon completion, one of the main users of the building will be the Riel Scouts, according to a media release.

There will be room for 64 Riel Scouts to camp overnight in the Lodge, plus rooms to house Elders, guests, and staff. The landscaping will include trails through the woods that are home to plants and berries traditionally harvested by the Métis.

“Riel Scouts Lodge sits on historical Métis land grounded in our identity, culture, values and language,” said MN–S President Glen McCallum. “It is the appropriate place to remember our history and be able to reconnect with our land through programming with our youth.”

Led by an advisory board with representation from the north, central, and south regions of the province, the Riel Scouts program will be for young Métis citizens, from five-year-old ‘gophers’ right up to 18-year-old ‘bisons’.

“The goal of the Riel Scouts is to prepare youth today for tomorrow’s challenges by immersing them in core Métis values, contributing to the retention of Métis culture and the Michif language,” said the media release. “The hope is to instill pride in our Métis Youth, which they can carry into the mentorship/counsellor stage.”

More details of the Riel Scout program will be released at a later date.

The MN–S project will be funded through a federal partnership with Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples and Inter-Ministerial cooperation with MN—S Housing and Early Leaning and Child Care.

“Métis Nation-Saskatchewan acknowledges our partnerships with other federal and provincial governments and sends gratitude for their contributions,” said McCallum. “The cross-Ministry collaboration involved in Dumont Lodge and the Riel Scouts program has been second-to-none.”

McCallum added that the partnerships provide a good example within the government of how these kinds of important projects can go from the initial stages to where they are today, “an all-encompassing Métis educational and environmental tribute to our identity, culture, values and language that will leave a legacy for generations to come.”

Construction of the Dumont Lodge will begin as soon as the ground thaws since spring, with a public grand opening slated for the fall.

The design concept of the new Dumont Lodge in Batoche that will mainly be used to reconnect Métis youth with their identity, culture, values and traditions. Construction is scheduled to begin as soon as the ground thaws. — Métis Nation – Saskatchewan/Facebook.