Bell's visit to highlight Back to Batoche festival
This year's Back to Batoche festival in Saskatchewan is expected to be a memorable event as Métis gather to celebrate their heritage and the visit of a historic icon — the Bell of Batoche.
"It's a sense of finally we closed a painful chapter in the life of the Métis here at Batoche," Claire Bélanger-Parker, manager of the festival, told CBC News. "For some, it's a victory in itself."
According to historians, soldiers involved in the Northwest Rebellion of 1885 took the church bell and brought it to Ontario.
In 1991 the bell, which had been in a Legion Hall in Millbrook, Ont. went missing.
Métis elder Guy Savoie was a key player in finding the keeper of the bell.
"It's too broad to explain," Savoie said of the bell's importance to Métis. "And this is what I want for the Métis people to understand. This is what I want for our youth to understand. I want them to, and I'm sure the bell wants them to understand their history, their culture and to be proud of this."plan is for the bell to be rung, in Batoche, on Saturday.
More than 20,000 people are expected at this year's Back to Batoche gathering.
After the weekend celebration in Saskatchewan, the bell returns to Manitoba to be exhibited at the Museum of Saint-Boniface.
With files from CBC's Peter Mills