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For the fourth year in a row, the Grande Prairie Museum is hosting the Metis Giving Tree during the holiday season to collect donations for those in need in the community.
Gifts of warm winter wear such as hats, mittens, socks, scarves as well as non-perishable food and toiletries are encouraged, with all donations going towards the Women’s Circle of the Native Counselling Services of Alberta (NCSA).
Artist Leah Dorion, who learned of it from a Metis Elder, has recorded the tradition of the Metis Giving Tree. Long ago, there was an old large hollow Manitoba Maple tree ideally situated halfway between two isolated Metis Settlements. Travellers would stop under the tree for a rest and often leave articles inside the hollow of the tree. Those who were in need could help themselves, but they would always leave something else in return. Sugar, flour, tobacco, tea and even moccasins were found inside the tree. For generations this tree was used as a message centre and emergency supply stash. It was a symbol of honesty and respect. It showed the Metis ideal to be kind, generous and helpful to others.
The Metis Giving Tree at the Grande Prairie Museum was originally created “In the Spirit of Sharing Metis Pride” by Marge Mueller, NW Regional Manager of NCSA.
The Metis Giving Tree is located in the Campbell-Rodacker Gallery of the Grande Prairie Museum. Donations can be dropped off until December 31, 2018.
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