Métis music van lifting people’s spirits in Winnipeg area as pandemic continues

‘To me I’m promoting my culture and heritage,’ says Alfred ‘Buck’ Anderson.

Metis music

The sounds of fiddle music can be heard throughout Winnipeg these days and surrounding area.

A Métis music van, sponsored by the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF), is lifting morale through music.

The van, driven by MMF vice-president Alfred ‘Buck’ Anderson, started out as a pilot project to expose Métis culture to people as in person events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, Anderson is getting calls to go to schools, birthdays and just to cheer people up.

“To me I’m promoting my culture and heritage portfolio and it brings happiness and joy to the people and that shows up on the comments on Facebook and the smiles on their faces and the clapping and the dancing so that’s what keeps me going,” Anderson said.

Metis music

Anderson funded the start-up of the van with his own money and the Interlake Métis Association sponsored the banners and sound system, while the MMF bought tires for the van.

He said the joy of seeing people stop what they are doing and dance is the most important part of driving the van.

“When I see the people waving and getting their response, instant response, they’ll be walking down the street and they’ll just break into a dance and start jigging and waving. And when I go by the houses they’re in their windows and the kids clapping and waving, and dancing that’s the response I get and that’s why I keep doing it.”

The van caught the attention of the Selkirk Biz, which supports local businesses in the city roughly 30 km north of Winnipeg.

Anderson and the Selkirk Red River Métis Local, where he is based out of, was given the business excellence award that recognizes resiliency and determination throughout 2020.

The award comes with $200 in business bucks to be used at businesses within Selkirk.

Metis music

This year the eligibility criteria was changed to allow more businesses to apply.

“We felt that we wanted to do some special recognition speaking to the struggles and the challenges and the positive stories that actually came out of 2020. So we changed the criteria for our awards and we had criteria around uplifting support, staff care and accommodation, resiliency and just the way that people had to adapt,” said Selkirk Biz executive director Sheri Skalesky.

Anderson said he hopes to upgrade the van to allow a built in stage for musicians to play live music.

“My next step in this van here, I’m going to cut a 12 foot whole in the side of it, have two six foot doors that will come open and I’ll have a live band in there. So I can go stop on a corner and we can do a 10-15 minutes show, close the doors go to the next one and do another one, so that’s bringing live music to the people also,” he said.

Anderson goes out for 20 hours each week depending on the amount of calls he receives to various communities.

Anchor / Winnipeg

Darrell is a proud member of Peguis First Nation in Manitoba. He is a graduate of the television program from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. He is returning to APTN after having completed an internship with us in 2018 and a brief stop as a reporter in B.C. in 2019.

Contribute Button