Area Metis artist built a canoe for a raffle

A Metis artist living here has built a canoe that is being raffled off to aid the Grand River Community Métis Council as a fundraiser.

Marcel Labelle, an Arthur artist, is a descendant of the Algonquin and French settlers. After taking a spiritual journey across the country, Labelle had dreams where his ancestors taught him the skills needed to make them a reality.

His dream was to build something of incredible beauty and strength; a craft that has been instru­mental in the discovery of this land and its indigenous people.

A  giant birch tree Labelle found in the forests of his home­town, Mattawa, helped him with his task. The tree had been struck by lightning and it became Niimki, Lightning Spirit.

His 14-foot craft is made entirely of natural materials – cedar wood, birch and its bark, spruce roots, and gum. 

Tickets are $20, and they are being sold until 4 June,  and can be purchased by contacting barbara.gingras@hotmail.­com.

Only 2,499 tickets are available, with the draw being held on June 5.