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Métis Nation of Alberta virtually reconnects members with culture, talent amid COVID-19

President of the Métis Nation of Alberta Audrey Poitras.
President of the Métis Nation of Alberta Audrey Poitras. Métis Nation of Alberta

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is working to keep its community connected amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the MNA announced that the second annual Alberta Métis Fest will continue this year on a virtual platform, helping to connect its members to local culture and talent during a time of social isolation.

READ MORE: Métis Nation of Alberta announces COVID-19 support plan

“Our shared culture is something we are proud to celebrate, and the vibrance of our culture, from music, to dance, to singing, is something we will showcase at our second annual Alberta Métis Fest,” president of the MNA, Audrey Poitras, said in a news release on Wednesday.

“Even in a global pandemic, it is important to find moments of joy and celebrate the diversity of Canada’s and Alberta’s populations.”

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The six-hour festival will live stream across the province on June 13, with each of the MNA’s six regions showcasing five different performers.

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“We have such an incredible pool of talent throughout Alberta, across all ages and backgrounds,” Poitras said. “This is our way of acknowledging and supporting these brilliant artists in a difficult time.”

The festival will include traditional and cultural performances, including fiddling, singing and spoons.

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Officials also noted that many Métis musicians and artists are struggling with a significant loss of income due to the novel coronavirus forcing the cancellation of summer events across the province.

Poitras said the virtual festival will help provide work for the struggling artists, as well as reconnect residents to performances that are vital to their culture.

“The Métis are social and supportive people. We find joy in gathering together in celebration of our culture and our accomplishments, so we knew it was important to maintain that connection while we were in isolation,” Poitras said.

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“Connection to culture and community is essential for a healthy nation and Alberta Métis Fest is a way for us to reach out and support each other during this difficult time.”

Residents can watch the festival by downloading the PSAV Events app or by visiting MNA’s Facebook page.

“We hope that people from all walks of life will tune in and celebrate with us.”