The Batoche Festival Grounds is celebrating the ground blessing of a new lodge designed to connect youth with their Métis culture.

A special ground blessing ceremony was held Tuesday morning to mark the beginning of construction of the Dumont Lodge – an $8 million, 18,000 square foot building designed with Métis culture in mind.

“It’s the appropriate place to remember our history and be able to reconnect with our land through programming with our youth,” said MN-S president Glen McCallum at the ground blessing.

The Dumont Lodge will be the location mainly used by the Riel Scouts – a program designed for Métis youth to connect with their culture.

President McCallum spoke on the importance of having this lodge for the youth and the importance of having it on the Batoche Festival Grounds.

“Our history stems from here and to be able to have a lodge like this to give young people a change to get back to their culture and language,” said McCallum. “It’s a great day for the Métis Nation and our younger people to learn about our history and our ways.”

(PHOTOS – MN-S President Glen McCallum and MN-S Vice-President Michelle Leclair pose at the ceremonial ground breaking. Officials with the MN-S, the elders advisory council, Métis youth, and other stakeholders pose for a photograph. Photos by Joel Willick.)

The project will be funded through a partnership between the federal government’s Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples and the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan ministry of Housing and Early Learning and Child Care. A partnership McCallum spoke highly about.

“We can see the results we get by working together with other stakeholders because we are in this together as Canadians to be able to create the best environment we can have for our people.”

According to officials, the lodge will begin construction as soon as the ground thaws with hopes for a grand opening this fall to coincide with the launch of the Riel Scouts program.