Rodney Proskiw and Yoriko Yamaguchi temporarily swapped the partners they came with, Sheryl Proskiw and Julian Mar, to show off their moves on the dance floor. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

WATCH: Métis heritage celebrated at Louis Riel Dance

Métis society event had people jigging all night long

Jigging, fiddling and plenty of toe tapping highlighted the Louis Riel dance held by the Prince Rupert and District Métis Society on Nov. 23.

The dance was held to both honour the Métis hero, Louis Riel, and to mark the end of Métis Awareness Week in Prince Rupert, which took place earlier in November. The Moose Hall was the site of the fun, where food, drinks and dancing were on tap for all members of the public in a celebration that went well into the night.

“There’s a whole room full of people having a wonderful time, and enjoying the fiddling by Andrew Goulet,” Joy Sundin, president of the Prince Rupert and District Métis Society, said.

Goulet, a local Métis fiddler, led the night’s entertaiment. He was joined on stage by music mates Danny Sklapsky, Glen Edwards, Bev Musselman, Tom Rystad and Dan Wong. Goulet spoke about the origins of Métis music.

“Métis music, fiddle music specifically, was an instrument that the voyageur traders could carry, as they couldn’t carry larger instruments when they were out fur trading. So they all carried a fiddle,” Goulet explained.

Andrew Goulet led the way on fiddle at the Louis Riel Dance. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Métis and non-Métis alike gathered at the Moose Hall for fiddling and jigging during the Louis Riel Dance. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Métis Awareness Week comes to Prince Rupert

The style of the music itself is rooted deep in Métis history.

“The Métis people weren’t allowed in the Native settlements, and they weren’t allowed in the non-Native settlements,” Goulet explained. “So they lived on the shores, on the outskirts, and developed their own music based on what they heard on the other side of the river when the Scottish bagpipes were playing or the French were playing some tunes.”

Many traditional Métis songs were played throughout the evening, as well as a sampling of more modern tunes. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Andrew Goulet and Joy Sundin announce the door prize winners at the Louis Riel Dance. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“They’d hear what it sounded like and try to imitate it on the violin. It soon became their culture from there, and they started playing it at all their dances,” Goulet added. “There’s one famous tune, the Red River Jig out of Manitoba, and it’s a tune that has two distinct parts to it. When it goes to the second part, that’s where a dancer or person can do their own unique jig.”

“It’s music that can be enjoyed by everybody,” Goulet said, adding that his personal favourite tune is the Big John McNeil.

Sundin was excited to see such an interest in the Métis people of Prince Rupert. “It was really good to have recognition by our city council so the community of Prince Rupert knows that we have a vibrant Métis society,” Sundin said. “We’re happy to have people celebrate our culture and our heritage.”

READ MORE: STORY & VIDEO: Crafty combo means even more entertainment at this year’s Kaien Island Craft Fair


Alex Kurial | Journalist
Alex Kurial 
Send Alex email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Dance

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

BC Ferries Sailing Cancellations

Prince Rupert - Haida Gwaii - Northern Adventure

Month-long water quality advisory still in effect for Rupert residents

The City of Prince Rupert recommends those with weakened immune systems boil water prior to use

Jennifer Rice North Coast MLA seeks re-election

Northwest politicians announce intent on elections

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

B.C. unveils new cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers

Government did not say how it will define small producers, but says nurseries will be included in the policy

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Most Read