The Columbia Valley Métis Association (CVMA) has opened a permanent office in the building shared by the Lake Windermere Lion’s Club and the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“The new office will give all of us endless accessible opportunities to support our citizens,” said CVMA president Monica Fisher. The location is perfect for the growing association as its citizens live as far north as Spillimacheen and as far south as Canal Flats.
“Our volunteer board has been supporting our citizens remotely, which has been difficult for our community to support our citizens,” said Fisher. Before the pandemic, CVMA utilized an array of facilities and meeting places to come together, including the Windermere Hall, Mountain Hub (since gone out of business), the Tim Horton’s parking lot or Stolen Church Cafe.
The new office gives the CVMA an accessible, centralized location with access to a commercial kitchen, indoor and outdoor club facilities, and office space for a wide range of administrative tasks. “We like to base activities around food, so having a commercial kitchen for kitchen parties will be great,” Fisher said. Office hours have yet to be established. CVMA members are encouraged to check their email for when office hours are announced.
The time and paperwork required for preparing and submitting Métis citizenship applications can be daunting. The CVMA’s membership now numbers over two hundred. “And I would like to state that we fully acknowledge this is not our traditional territory but the Shuswap and Akisqnuk First Nation.”
On June 15, Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) announced $48,000 in funding to the CVMA. “MNBC’s Cabinet has heard from our chartered communities that providing more resources is badly needed,” said Region 4 director Debra Fisher in a press release. “In expanding the funding available to our grassroots citizens, we can create more opportunity for success in our Métis communities. The funding builds on MNBC’s historic $1 million investment into MNBC chartered communities, announced before the nation’s 2021 annual general meeting.
By mid-July, CVMA plans to hire and train a part-time administrative employee from within the CVMA to help ease the workload from the volunteer board. Having a part-time employee will enable CVMA’s leadership to plan more events and engage with its citizenry.
Two events already planned for June include a virtual talk on the 23, titled “Sharing our Story, Living on a Road Allowance” and on the 29, another virtual talk titled “Michif Lessons.” The events will feature Marie Schoenthal and Amy Cross, respectively. Registration for the two events is done by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on everything going on at the Columbia Valley Métis Association, visit columbiavalleymetis.ca. Check for event details on CVMA’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
James Rose, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer