Métis Nation – Saskatchewan celebrates new local office grand opening

Sherry McLennan (holding scissors) cuts the ribbon to open the new Métis Nation regional office in Prince Albert Tuesday. The Métis community gathered to celebrate the grand opening with a lunch and entertainment. (Peter lozinski/Daily Herald)

The Métis Nation – Saskatchewan is rebuilding.

The organization, which held an election in May hoping to end years of turmoil and indecision, is finally getting back on its feet, said regional director Sherry McLennan.

Prior to May’s election, the organization had gone through years of infighting and a dispute between two factions that brought operations to a standstill. The federal government had suspended funding. Many saw that election as a chance to get back on track.

The group was in the news again following the election when they announced Mary Ann Morin, who was elected as treasurer, had resigned. Morin said she hadn’t resigned, but was pushed out. Morin indicated she would seek legal action. According to EagleFeatherNews, Morin’s supporters said she was pushed out because of concerns she raised about accountability.

But McLennan said things are improving. Since the election, she has been working to engage with the local Métis community and revive the local chapters.

“Our locals need to be revived again,” she said. “They’ve been at a standstill. When the Métis Nation wasn’t up and running and there was so much turmoil, people were stepping back. Now we’re bringing people back. They’re getting their cards, they’re getting involved and they’re getting excited again.”

Tuesday was another milestone towards getting things back on track, as the community celebrated the opening of the new Métis Nation – Saskatchewan regional office on 13th Street in Prince Albert. The new office is located beside the Métis Housing Authority.

“That’s who we rent it from, so it’s awesome,” McLennan said. “We call it Métis central.”

That new office has seven offices inside and space for programming. The group has a lot of different programming planned.

McLennan said there are plans to have a volunteer income tax program, an LGBTQ support group, an anxiety and depression support group, a support group for women who have had their children apprehended, a program to deal with violence against women and children and a program to help deal with the problem of youth and child obesity.

“We’re trying to have programming. Our youth are really suffering right now and our community is having a hard time. We need to move ahead and keep trying for our community,” she said.

“If we can provide programming for the things they need, I think we’re going to win.”

For more on this story, please see the February 14 print or e-edition of the Daily Herald.