Regional Métis projects are expected to get a definite boost in the future now that the Sunset Country Métis launched its new economic development corporation at a special membership meeting here Saturday.
“Métis Ventures”—a subsidiary of the Métis Nation of Ontario—will be managed by a board of directors to be appointed by the Sunset Country Métis, which received its charter as the governing and administrative authority for the MNO for Rainy River District two years ago.
“‘Métis Ventures’ is a major step towards greater economic self-sufficiency—one of the key values of the Métis Nation,” MNO president Tony Belcourt said Saturday.
“Sunset Country Métis is to be congratulated for their foresight and hard work,” he added.
“This is something that’s been in the works for several years,” noted Gary Lipinski, a regional councillor for the Sunset Country Métis. “This development corporation will be able to further our goals within the community.
“It will allow the council to work on its own, and with other corporations, to raise the funds needed to grow,” he added. “The benefits won’t just be for the Métis but for the community as a whole.”
Tourism, training, forestry, and mining are all areas the corporation expected to focus on.
What pleased Sunset Country Métis president Earl Klyne most about the announcement was the fact more endeavours by the group would mean more exposure of their culture to the public.
“As our nation grows, people become more aware of who we are and where we come from, and that warms me,” he remarked.
“It’s a thrill to see people who can learn to be proud of their heritage,” he stressed. “It’s not that we haven’t always been here but now we are united.”
The first project the corporation looks to undertake is finding a new base for the Sunset Country Métis, which has been renting office space in the Nanicost building since its inception in 1995.
It hopes to raise money by getting pledges in a “brick by brick” fashion recently used by Riverside Health Care Facilities in Rainy River to raise money for the new hospital there.
The target amount needed to secure a mortgage on the desired building is $10,000.
If all goes well, the group may relocate to the former Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau office on the 400 block of Victoria Avenue.