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The essence of a culture
Kara King co-ordinates Metis Cultural Institute in Fort Res

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Fort Resolution woman has been given the task of establishing a new cultural initiative for the South Slave.

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Kara King recently began work to establish the Metis Cultural Institute in Fort Resolution. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

In early May, Kara King was hired as co-ordinator of the Metis Cultural Institute (MCI), which is being set up in Fort Resolution.

"The purpose is to protect, promote and enhance Metis culture in the South Slave region," she said.

Among other things, heritage programs involving Metis people will be run out of the institute.

"It's going to be like DCI, but Metis," King said, referring to the Dene Cultural Institute on the Hay River Reserve.

The MCI was established several years ago by the Northwest Territory Metis Nation (NTMN) and it was initially based at that organization's headquarters in Fort Smith.

"But there was no actual person dedicated to it, until just recently when they hired me," said King, a former president of the Fort Resolution Metis Council,

The Metis Nation decided about two years ago to set up the MCI in Fort Resolution.

"They saw that it's got a lot of history here and there are people who know that history," King noted.

She added it's a big thing for the Fort Resolution Metis Council to have MCI established in the community, and everyone welcomes it because it's going to bring jobs and more cultural awareness.

As an initiative of the NTMN, the institute will represent Metis people in Fort Resolution, Hay River and Fort Smith.

"It's important to all the Metis because it's pretty much going to capture the essence of the culture," King said. "It's going to preserve it. It's going to enhance it by letting other people know about it. Not only that, but, once regionally everything is developed, it's going to be our job to implement cultural programming in all three communities."

King, 30, was president of the Fort Resolution Metis Council in 2007 and 2008.

Recently, she has been studying for a degree in native studies, with a minor in political science, at the University of Alberta. She still has a semester to go to complete her degree and plans to take a leave from her new job in January or next September.

Since beginning work as MCI co-ordinator, she has been doing research, preparing proposals for cultural events, looking for sources of funding and basically getting familiar with the job.

She is working with two consultants in Hay River and from a business plan they have prepared.

"My job is pretty much to work with them and to see this plan through," King said.

One of her responsibilities is to find a building for the institute.

King welcomes the challenge of her new job.

"I was excited because it's a new thing and, if you think about the big picture in the long run, it is kind of overwhelming," she said. "But I focus on what needs to be done first and it doesn't seem as daunting."

Plus, she said she has the consultants to work with, along with the support of the NTMN and the Fort Resolution Metis Council.

"I do look at the big picture," King said. "I look at the big picture of what we want and break it down and say, OK, this has to be done and then this has to be done. And you just do them."

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