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Indigenous Village and stage returning to Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair

Performance stage to feature both dance and music
The Waceya Métis Society Youth Dance Troupe performs on the Indigenous Stage—alongside Métis musicians Keith Hill, Amy Fauteux, and Mathew Cook—at the 2023 Cloverdale Rodeo and Country Fair. The Indigenous Village and stage is back this year and organizers have booked a lot of musical and cultural acts to perform for fair-goers. (Photo: Jason Sveinson)

The Indigenous Village is returning to the Cloverdale Rodeo this year.

The village and the Indigenous Performance Stage will be located just up from the Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre, with the amphitheatre playing host to the stage.

Jeff Sears, the community events coordinator for the Waceya Métis Society, said three groups are co-hosting the Indigenous Village: Waceya Métis Society, the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, and Stalew Arts and Cultural Society.

Jeff, who is acting as the main organizer, said all three groups have booked one-third of the artists and performers that will showcase their talents on the stage over the weekend.

“It’s a huge team effort,” said Jeff, adding that while he’s coordinating it, there are a lot of others involved in the process.

“Right now, it’s all about letting people know that the Indigenous Village is there,” Jeff explained. “It’s really family oriented and it’s there for people to learn about Métis and First Nations culture and history.”

As for the Indigenous Stage, there are many acts lined up over the four days of the rodeo and fair.

“This year Pat Calihou will be performing,” said Kelly Sears, president of Waceya Métis Society. (Jeff is Kelly’s husband.)

“He’s multi-talented,” she added. “He’s an artist and a musician and he plays many instruments—a one man band. And boy can he play!”

Calihou will play both the Lordco Outdoor Stage and the Indigenous Village Stage, as a few artists will play both stages.

The Indigenous Village was new to the Cloverdale Rodeo last year and Kelly is optimistic that there will be more foot traffic to the village and stage this year.

“We’re hoping a lot more people come this year,” Kelly said. “Last year was our first year and there wasn’t as much awareness, so we’re hoping to get the message out, so a lot more people have the opportunity to come.”

She noted the vast green grass surrounding the stage offers families a great place to come and relax.

“We put a big emphasis on family,” Kelly added. “It will be a great place to sit down and watch some acts on the stage. The food is also inexpensive, so that is also good for families.”

Kelly said Indigenous rapper Higher Knowledge will also be back this year. And Fergus Dalton and the Waceya Dancers will also perform over the weekend.

Jeff said Ken Robillard will bring his “Métis Experience” to the Indigenous Village.

“It’s interactive,” he noted. “There are all kinds of different things to see. It’s a real cross-section of Métis culture, history, and traditions.”

There will be several vendor booths selling all types of crafts in the village area. There will also be a couple of food vendors, one offering bison burgers and another offering bannock.

Kelly said there’ll be information booths for Waceya Métis Society, the Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, Stalew Arts and Cultural Society, and Métis Nation of British Columbia.

The Indigenous Village will also host a 30-foot teepee.

Kelly also said the partnership between the three groups reflects the great relationship between them.

“We want to show the distinction between First Nations and Métis, but we also want to show how we have the same values,” she explained.

“We’re just hoping to make more of a splash this year,” Kelly added. “Last year was our first run and this year we want to make a success out of it.”

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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