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An authentic way to bring Indigenous culture to your Alberta wedding

December 1, 2020

Congratulations! Marriage is sure to be one of the most exciting and paramount adventures you will have in your life. Marriage is a merging of two families, a fusion of cuisine, traditions, culture, and stories. The wedding is an essential part of bringing two families together in celebration and bringing Indigenous culture to your wedding will make for great memories and an extraordinary event. Here are four ways that you to introduce Métis Indigenous culture to your wedding here in Alberta.

1. Find an Indigenous venue for your big day

Location, location, location. While you have no doubt heard this in real estate, the venue will set the stage for your wedding. Many Indigenous communities have cultural centres well suited for large functions such as weddings. These venues can take you to the heart of local Indigenous culture. Venues such as the Cultural Gathering Centre located at Métis Crossing in Smoky Lake, Alberta can be excellent options. The Cultural Gathering Centre is the first of its kind in the province and can bring the unique traditions, art, and culture of the Métis to your wedding.

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2. Bring Indigenous culture to the table with your menu 

Food can communicate much about a culture’s traditions and history. Traditionally, the Métis were hunters, with their lifestyle revolving around the Plains buffalo. When not hunting for buffalo, other animals including moose, elk, rabbits, duck, and geese were hunted for food. Many of the favourite Métis dishes come from a fusion of past and present, European and First Nations, and local and international. Venues such as Métis Crossing offers menus that include locally harvested ingredients with traditional ties to the Métis people and their heritage.

3. Give a land acknowledgement to start the wedding 

During your ceremony, take the time to pause and reflect on the land’s relationship with the First Peoples in Canada. There are three recognized First Peoples in Canada: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. A land acknowledgement to start your wedding ceremony is a gesture of reconciliation, respect, and goodwill, as well as allowing you to thank them for their hospitality. For brides and grooms without Indigenous ancestry, you may wish to speak with an Elder who can help you with wording and pronunciation. In some cases, the Elder may want to attend the ceremony themselves.

4. Incorporate traditional Indigenous activities 

The Indigenous experiences that cultural centres have been offering are gaining in popularity according to the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. It provides people an opportunity to learn about the cultures and traditions of Indigenous people. Look into adding interactive, hands-on experiences to your wedding, from traditional arts and crafts to roasting a bannock over a fire, to listening to stories from a local storyteller.

Make your wedding an event that everyone will remember by bringing in Indigenous culture through food, stories, activities, and location. Many cultural centres provide catering and traditional activities so make sure you or your wedding planner coordinate with them to make your wedding that perfect day.

Métis Crossing is the first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta and is the premier centre for Alberta Métis cultural interpretation, education, gatherings, and business development. Sitting on 512 acres of land, including river lot titles from the original Métis settlers to the region in the late 1800s, the crossing is designed to engage and excite visitors by exploring Métis cultural experiences. The new Cultural Gathering Centre designed by Métis Architect Tiffany Shaw-Collinge was recently completed in 2020.

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As part of your wedding planning, come and spend a day at Métis crossing to learn about our culture and how we can help bring it to your special day. Métis Crossing strives to represent and share elements of Métis culture, pride of culture and respect (with self-identification), family reconnection and reconciliation, sacredness of place, empathy, and acknowledgement. Contact us to speak with a representative about your future wedding or event plans.

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