Edmonton

Longtime Santa Claus fulfils Christmas wish of being Métis Santa

When Lloyd Gwin first volunteered to play Santa in the 1970s, he loved it, he said.

Lloyd Gwin plays Santa in a video done for the Metis Nation of Alberta

Lloyd Gwin says it's really cool for him to be able to do this so he can teach more youth about their Metis culture. (Metis Nation of Alberta)

When Lloyd Gwin first volunteered to play Santa in the 1970s, he loved it, he said.

Gwin would ride around on a snowmobile delivering presents to families of his colleagues at the volunteer fire department in High Level, Alta.

But for him, the costume was always missing something. His holiday wish was to dress up as what he calls Métis Santa. This year, that came true. 

"Usually the Métis Nation of Alberta has a Christmas party for all the kids here in the city and surrounding area, but this year because of COVID-19, like everybody else, those plans got cancelled," he said in an interview with CBC's Edmonton AM.

Gwin holding the book he read in the video, Metis Christmas Mittens. (Metis Nation of Alberta)

The organization decided to do a video clip as part of a series leading up to Christmas, Gwin said, and they asked him to be Santa. Gwin, who is Métis, knew this was his moment.

A Métis Santa wears a sash rather than a belt, mittens and moccasins instead of gloves and boots. In the video, Gwin reads from a book called Métis Christmas Mittens by Leah Marie Dorion. 

"It's very important to me because oftentimes we get blended in with the rest of society," he said. "In the process, some of the traditions and the culture gets washed away, so what the Métis Nation is trying to do is to pass that knowledge onto the youth."

Gwin's message for kids this year?

"Be safe, wear your mask when you're out, wash your hands, and hopefully next year we can be able to get together with our family and friends, and to have a very happy Christmas."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emily Pasiuk

Reporter

Emily Pasiuk is a reporter for CBC Edmonton who also covers news for CBC Saskatchewan. She has filmed two documentaries. Emily reported in Saskatchewan for three years before moving to Edmonton in 2020. Tips? Ideas? Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

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