Significant historical event to honour Nation-to-Nation Relationships

FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre press release – This year, Celebration of Nations is honoured to present a remarkable opportunity to celebrate the Nation-to-Nation relationship with the Anishnawbek Nation and to commemorate the gift of The Michif Song to Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO) founding President Tony Belcourt at the 2019 gathering.

The Michif Song gift is part of the Celebration of Nations through the efforts of Tony Belcourt, esteemed Turtle Mountain Chippewa Elder, Anthony Richard LaFromboise, Sagamok Anishnawbek Chief Nelson Toulouse, and MNO Youth Council President Mitch Case.

The Michif Song, a historic song from the early 1800s passed down through generations and gifted to the Métis Nation to use in nation-to-nation ceremonies, will be brought to the Celebration of Nations drum in a historic commemoration ceremony on Sunday 8 September at 4:30 p.m.

Coming Full Circle will take place as a series of Métis and First Nations teachings and workshops throughout the weekend.

Coming Full Circle programs will tell the story of the Nehiyaw-Pwat between the Assiniboine, Cree, Saulteaux, Ojibwa, and the Métis in the late 1700s and early 1800s; explore the history of The Thirsty Dance where 1,500 warriors came together at Buffalo Lodge Lake to avenge the taking of Métis children by the Sioux; and how the song was given by Elder Francis Cree to Tony Belcourt so that he could bring it to the drum in a Nation-to-Nation unity ceremony held at Kettle and Stony Point First Nation in 2005.

Dialogues will shed light on the story of the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 and its ramifications on present-day constitutional rights and claims of the First Nations and Métis people. Coming Full Circle will also examine the emergence of Métis communities around Lake Huron and their historic relationship with the First Nations communities with whom their people share kinship ties, culture, values, and territory.

The weekend will culminate as The Michif Song, some 200 years after its creation is delivered to the Celebration of Nations drum.

In her dutiful role as the daughter of Suzanne Rochon Burnett (who with Tony Belcourt was one of the founding members of MNO), Artistic Director Michele-Elise Burnett is honoured to welcome this prestigious delegation to Celebration of Nations to lead this significant program.

“It is a remarkable opportunity to celebrate the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Metis Nation and the Anishnawbek Nation and to commemorate the ongoing gift of The Michif Song to Tony Belcourt,” said Burnett.

Teachings such as these, further strengthen the principles established for Celebration of Nations; to honour Indigenous traditions, to acknowledge our ancestors’ intentions, to support peace and reconciliation among all peoples, and to use the arts as a means of healing and expressing Empathic Traditions.

Coming Full Circle programs will be a part of 40+ free and ticketed events during Celebration of Nations. For a full list of programming, visit



Coming Full Circle – Nation-to-Nation Alliance – Elder Anothony Richard LaFromboise 1-2 p.m. – The Recital Hall | FREE

  • Nehiyaw Pwat, Cree, Assiniboine, Chippewa, Michif Iron Confederacy – Commemorate and honour the spirit of our ancestors’ alliances, their traditions, culture, language, and community, with Anthony (Richard) LaFromboise.

Coming Full Circle – The Michif Song, Understanding the Context – Tony Belcourt 3 p.m. – The Recital Hall | FREE

  • Learn the story behind the Many Eagles Set Thirsty Dance Song and the giving of the song to Tony Belcourt who then brought the song to the drum in a Nation-to-Nation ceremony between the Métis Nation and the Anishnawbek Nation at Kettle and Stoney Point First Nation, with Tony Belcourt.


Coming Full Circle – Sunrise Pipe Ceremony 6:30 a.m. – Backyard | FREE

  • Join Tony Belcourt, Anthony LaFromboise, and Nelson Toulous as they lead us through a special pipe ceremony to prepare to bring the Michif Song to the Drum at 4:30 p.m.  All pipe carriers are welcome to participate.

Coming Full Circle – Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 – Sagamok Ansihnawbek Chief Nelson Toulouse 10am-11am – The Recital Hall | FREE

  • The story of the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850 and the current court case by the Robinson Huron Confederation – with Chief Nelson Toulouse.

Coming Full Circle – The History of the Emergence of the Métis on the Great Lakes –  Metis Nation of Ontario Youth Council President, Mitch Case and Tony Belcourt 12:30 – Robertson Theatre | FREE

  • Métis Alliance at Sault Ste. Marie and the impact of the Robinson-Huron Treaty on the recognition of Métis rights in the Supreme Court of Canada case of R. v. Powley

Michif Song workshop and teachings 3:45 p.m. – Backyard Stage | FREE

  • Michif Song workshop and teachings with Tony Belcourt, Chief Nelson Toulouse, Anthony LaFromboise, and Mitch Case.  Join in as they teach the Michif Song at the Drum. Bring your drum and/or rattle.

Rekindling Nation-to-Nation alliances: Métis and First Nations bring their songs to the Drum 4:30 p.m. – Backyard Stage | FREE

  • Rekindling Nation-to-Nation alliances, the Métis and First Nations bring their songs to the drum.  Join this historical moment as Indigenous nations commemorate and honour the spirit of our ancestors and celebrate the beauty of Indigenous practices.


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