Excerpts from Stories of Métis Women
Music/Dance & Holidays/Celebrations & Social Life
Beatrice Demetrius: The Beaudry’s were a Métis family who lived up the hill; they played fiddles and guitars, and sang they were very talented. There was a young shy girl named Yvonne, everyone would ask her to jig, someone gave her a quarter, she would finally get up and dance the Red River Jig.
After harvest there would be a dance at the schoolhouse and everyone came. Mothers would place their babies in the cloak room on all the coats on the floor, they made coffee and baloney sandwiches, there would be cakes and cookies.
I remember going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve; my father would take us by sleigh, the church was about two miles away.
After Midnight Mass, we hung our stockings up. There would be an apple, orange, and some hard Christmas candy. We were thrilled; we got one present, usually a doll with a porcelain face and rag body, or a set of little dishes.
Christmas was a religious time for the families, the next day we would go by sleigh to our relative’s farm to see the tracks Santa made on a little hill near their place.
New Year’s Eve was a big celebration, where the families would gather at someone’s house, there would be music and dancing.
Doreen Bergum: At the end of the week, it was time to relax. Keeping in Métis tradition, they would throw out the furniture, and the families would haul in food (bannock and harvested meat, and cakes) fiddles, guitars and even the spoons. To dance, sing and laugh to enjoy their Métis culture.
As a young girl of five, I remember sleeping under the table at these events listening to the fiddle and the fun. That’s how I learned to do the Red River Jig. In fact, I learned from the best - my mother was a champion jigger.
The gathering would last until the sun came up. I watched feet flashing around the floor to the Red River Jig, Drops of Brandy, Heel and Toe Polka, Reel of Eight, Broom Dance and the Sash Dance. Our Métis spirit was alive!
My parents and my community taught us how to work with our hands, head, and heart.