Métis Local 51 Reaching Out to All Youth

Carol Baldwin/LJI Reporter/Wakaw Recorder Victor Guillet and Wakaw girls club volleyball wearing donated jerseys.

Carol Baldwin
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Wakaw Recorder

Youth Development Through Horse is an event hosted by Métis Local #51 & Lazy Eight Acres, owned, and operated by Métis Citizens Ryan and Crystal Williams, on June 22, 2024, and is open to all youth, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

Twenty-five young people aged 16 years and under, will have the opportunity to spend an afternoon interacting with and learning about horses and how that connection can help people develop and grow. The interactions will not include riding but will give the participants an introduction to the intuitive nature of horses and maybe push them a little out of their comfort zone in a safe way.

Learning to work with horses presents many valuable lessons for young people as evidenced by the number of equine therapy programs that exist. Horses do not think like humans, no animal does, but their willingness to meet people ‘where they are at’ and work with them sets them somewhat apart from other ‘prey’ animals. When working with horses, individuals need to respect their ‘flight’ instinct and build a partnership with the horse, so they can work together. Learning skills and techniques that facilitate working with someone or something that thinks in a unique way is an important life skill.

World-renowned Red River Métis artist, JD Hawk, will start the day off in a positive way as a guest speaker. Born and raised in Winnipeg, MB, JD specializes in oil paintings and his artwork reflects his love of the outdoors, people, and connections to his heritage.

Everyone is welcome to attend, even just to observe, but a reservation will be necessary, so an adequate amount of food is available. Bannock burgers and hot dogs as well as refreshments will be served but attendees will need to bring their own lawn chair. 

Métis Local #51 has been very actively supporting youth in the area while at the same time building relationships outside of their citizen base. Métis Local #51 sponsored new jerseys for the école St-Isidore badminton teams and the U17 Club Volleyball team in Wakaw. Local #51 is engaged in helping all children and their endeavours, and “by proudly wearing the Métis Local #51 logo children feel connected to their identity.”

On May 1st, Val Gaudet and Carol Roy, both Métis Local #51 citizens, shared their Bannock-making skills with the students at école St-Isidore in Bellevue. According to the students it was delicious. At least 46 percent of the students at the school self-identify as Métis. Together the school and Métis Local #51 were able to bring this simple but significant event to the students.

For those interested in learning more about Métis Local #51 or the Youth Development Through Horse event contact Liana Letendre at lianajletendre@gmail.com or call/text 306-401-8448.