For the fifth year in a row, a Métis Giving Tree has been set up in Grande Prairie.
Located in the Grande Prairie Museum, it follows the guidelines of the story of the original Métis Giving Tree, which details a large hollow Manitoba Maple tree halfway between two isolated Metis Settlements. People would stop there to rest and leave things inside the tree.
Those in need could take what they wanted from the tree as long as they left something else behind. Museum Curator Charles Taws says the story of giving is ingrained deep in the Métis culture.
“That was just one way of making sure no one did without, reciprocity is a very big part of the Métis culture.”
This year’s tree was donated and decorated by Marge Mueller, the Northwest Regional Manager of the Native Councilling Services of Alberta. Taws says it has two very distinct and unique features.
“This year she has it decorated really nicely, with that extended sash, which is of course very symbolic in the Métis culture, and of the fiddle at the top. Fiddling and jigging are a big part of Métis culture, and of course something they do at Christmas time as well.”
Winter hats, mittens, scarves, toiletries and non-perishable food items can be dropped off at the Grande Prairie Museum, with all donated items being handed over to elder’s shelters in the Grande Prairie region.