The Métis Experience

This year, Festival du Bois is excited to be collaborating with the North Fraser Métis Association and Métis Nation British Columbia to offer a glimpse into the Métis experience in British Columbia. Come to the Métis Experience to enjoy, explore, and appreciate the rich Métis history, art, culture, perspectives and tradition that have been part of this country for over 200 years!

In this very special part of the festival, and under the guidance of elders, artists, musicians and other knowledgeable community members, you will see, hear, learn, and participate in their rich and dynamic culture.

Come sit with Elders as they tell stories from Métis history, share artifacts, and teach you words from Michif, the Métis language.

Listen and thrill to Keith Hill, and Kathleen Nisbet's Métis fiddling, guitar and song, and dance along with Metis jiggers.

Watch and learn from master craftsman Pat Calihou as he shows us how to carve a wood paddle.

There are crafts and family activities – and more to experience!

Today, there are nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis in BC – descendants of both Indigenous and European ancestors. 2020 is a significant year for Métis people in Canada as it marks the 150th anniversary of the Red River Resistance of 1869-70, led by Métis leader Louis Riel. It is to honour the Métis community, people, history and this significant anniversary that the Métis Experience was created. 

Come by, stop for a while, and share in the Métis spirit!

Saturday and Sunday: Visit The Metis Experience between the Grand Chapiteau and the Food Zone

Kathleen Nisbet

Kathleen Nisbet is a fiddle player and singer from Vancouver, BC Canada. Classically trained at the Vancouver Academy of Music, She returned to her Métis roots, pursuing more traditional fiddle music. Since then she has worked with artists in a variety of genres. A collaborator and regular accompanist with V'ni Dansi, Métis traditional dance, she has also composed music for independant modern dance. Theatre credits include A Christmas Carol with Pacific Theatre and Salmon Row with Mortal Coil. Kathleen is an active member of Vancouver's thriving bluegrass and folk scene, performing and touring regularly with her band Viper Central.

Keith Hills

Keith Hills has played both fiddle and guitar for many years, including backup guitar at fiddle contests and concerts for Canadian fiddle players including Calvin Vollrath, Mark Sullivan, Frankie Rogers, Graham Townsend. He has competed in many fiddle contests, won the BC Fiddle Championship in 1988 and 1989, judged at fiddle contests in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan as well as the Grand Masters in Ottawa and will be judging at a BC contest this summer. He has played fiddle and guitar for Métis dancers and entertainment for the past 15 years.

International Women’s Day at Festival du Bois

The last day of Festival du Bois this year, March 8, is also International Women’s Day. To mark this occasion, the Sashing our Warriors Campaign will give everyone attending the Festival on Sunday two small sashes paying tribute to the women of this world. This project is especially meant to show our support to the Métis women and girls who are victims of violence. By wearing your warrior sash, with its symbolic colours, you commit to protecting, honouring and respecting the women in your life. By the same token, we strongly encourage you to share the second sash with another woman near you to help spread the message.

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