The Homeland of Batoche Metis Local #51 is hosting a Kitchen Party Social March 18, 2023, in the Bellevue Community Hall. The event will include performances by the Creeland Dancers who are regular performers at the Back to Batoche days as well as Metis fiddling champion Jason Lepine along with Ben Page.

The Creeland Dancers from the Beardy’s & Okemasis’ Cree Nation  are western Canada’s longest serving Indigenous Square Dance Group and are an Indigenous Dance Company who fuse together Metis jigging, traditional Metis dances and square dancing. They have toured all across the province of Saskatchewan, throughout Canada and across North America. Formed nearly 40 years ago by Cree elders Therese Seesequasis and her late husband Ken Seesequasis as a way to promote culture and create opportunity for youth, the Creeland Dancers show provides not only a high energy, entertaining show, but an educational experience that provides an engaging experience and an opportunity to focus on First Nations and Metis culture.

Jason Lepine was born and raised in Portage La Prairie, but now lives in Winnipeg, MB. He started playing fiddle at the age of seven. Jason is a self-taught fiddle player who plays by ear. He continues to share his Metis traditional fiddling that he grew up hearing from his dad, Garry Lepine, a Metis and Manitoba Fiddle Hall of Fame inductee. Jason plays fiddle for Red River jigging and square dance groups. He has won many fiddle contests during his career while also judging and teaching the fiddle. He continues to play for all types of functions and has played all over Canada and some performances in the United States.

Many people are familiar with Metis Nation- Saskatchewan, but fewer realize that there are around 110 organized local chapters of Metis citizens. The Homeland of Batoche Metis Local #51 is located in the very heart of where the Metis took their stand in the Riel Resistance. Many of the citizens of Local #51 live in the communities that surround Batoche such as Bellevue, St. Louis, Wakaw, Domremy, and even Cudworth. President of the Local, Victor Guillet, said that although he wears the hat of president, everything that is organized by the citizens is a group effort with everyone working as a very close team. While recognizing the tremendous popularity of Back to Batoche Days which has grown to become a nation wide gathering for the Metis people and others, and brings great attention to the Metis culture, Local #51 wanted to do something as a group on a bit smaller level for the people at the grassroots and whoever else wanted to come. And with that, the decision was made to host a kitchen party in Bellevue.

There is no denying that the citizens of Local #51 have strong historical ties to Batoche with many being able to cite great-great grandparents who lived at the time of or played a roll in the Resistance, but one doesn’t have to identify that type of lineage to join Local #51, simply being a Metis citizen is enough. However, to come out and enjoy any and all events organized by the group only requires a desire to enjoy oneself. Guillet shared that there will be more events coming this year that will not interfere with Back to Batoche, which by the way is scheduled for July 20th to 23rd this year, but will let their neighbours know that the Homeland of Batoche Metis Local exists and give everyone the opportunity to join together in some history making events and in some that, like the Kitchen Party, are just plain fun social events. One exciting event that will take place late in 2023, is the return of bison to the Batoche lands. The bison enclosure will be separate from the Back to Batoche site but will be visible from there. More details will be released on this later, as for now there are a lot of things to be done before the bison arrive amidst a full scale Metis celebration.

Kitchen parties are often associated with the Maritimes, but the Metis also traditionally held Kitchen Parties. Where once guests gathered in neighbours homes and kitchens to share a meal, some laughs, music and stories, today’s kitchen parties have changed venues over the years, but one thing still remains – once one’s taken part in a Canadian kitchen party, a group of strangers become fast friends. The Canadian kitchen party has been described as “a warm hug of welcome, a song shared amongst newfound friends, and a communal meal”.

For the $20 price of the ticket attendees will be treated to a traditional Metis supper and dance, be entertained by some amazing square dancers, and enjoy the toe-tapping Metis fiddle music. Also, part of the experience will be a fresh Bannock tasting competition as well as meat draws, 50/50 and other prize draws. Each ticket purchased will get that person’s name entered into a draw for an amazing grand prize, that the organizers are keeping secret until the big day.

The Early Learning and Childcare Department at the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan has donated 30 Activity bags full of crayons, markers and a colouring book for the children that attend the Homeland of Batoche Local #51 Kitchen Party and other sponsors have donated many prizes to be drawn for during the evening. The doors open at 4:00 pm Saturday, March 18th with the supper scheduled for 6:00. There are still some tickets available to be purchased from Liana @306-401-8448 or email

By: Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder