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PHOTOS: B.C.’s new ADI gallery showcases Métis culture, language

In Surrey, tobacco bags and gauntlet mittens are exhibited in space, named after Amelia Douglas
A view of Métis Nation British Columbia’s new Amelia Douglas Institute gallery in Surrey, at Gateway Station. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

A new gallery in Surrey showcases Métis culture and language in a third-floor space at Gateway Station Tower, a stop on SkyTrain’s Expo line.

Amelia Douglas Institute, or ADI, was officially opened Jan. 29 by Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), and now welcomes visitors who pre-book a one-hour time slot.

The gallery, roughly the size of a two-bedroom condo, amplifies the MNBC mandate to educate, promote and support truth, healing and reconciliation in a meaningful way.

The art and cultural exhibits, which currently showcase Métis tobacco bags and gauntlet mittens, will rotate every couple of months. Featured are interactive exhibits and artwork from prominent Métis artists, as well as historical artifacts relevant to the Métis experience in B.C.

Launched last year, a website ( serves as an online portal for the gallery space, at #380-13401 108 Ave., adjacent to MNBC headquarters in Surrey. Exhibits are also showcased on

Métis guantlet mittens displayed at the new Amelia Douglas Institute gallery in Surrey, at Gateway Station. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

The gallery is named after Amelia Douglas, a strong Métis voice in the early history of B.C. and wife of the first governor James Douglas.

The aim of the ADI is to also be a gathering place where Métis citizens can connect with their heritage and with one another through educational programs and cultural initiatives.

“This new cultural hub will help ensure that our history, traditions and languages are shared, celebrated and passed on to future generations,” said Patrick Harriott, MNBC’s Minister of Culture, Heritage and Language.

Patrick Harriott (Minister of Culture, Heritage and Language for Métis Nation British Columbia, or MNBC) pictured on a video screen in lounge area of the new Amelia Douglas Institute gallery in Surrey, at Gateway Station. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Harriott spent most of his childhood in Manitoba where he frequently hunted and picked chokecherries with his grandfather on their family’s Métis scrip lands, according to a bio. He moved to Victoria where his lifelong love of plants and connection with nature led to training in horticulture, after which he founded a landscaping and gardening company.

A love of Métis culture and community drew him to volunteer his time with Métis Nation Greater Victoria. He spent nine years on the organization’s board of directors, including four as president. Harriott helped organize two consecutive Métis rendezvous on Vancouver Island and create a Michif language program in Victoria.

Lissa Dawn Smith, president of MNBC, calls the opening of the ADI “an important milestone in our journey of self- government and self-determination as Métis people. We invite everyone to visit, learn, and share in our vibrant living culture at the Amelia Douglas Institute.”


Exhibition signage at the new Amelia Douglas Institute gallery in Surrey, at Gateway Station. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Planned April 16 is “Our Grandmothers’ Hands: Repatriating Métis Material,” presented by Gregory Scofield. The artist talk, open to Métis people only, will introduce an exhibition to feature 3D digital renderings of nine Métis material art pieces curated from Scofield’s personal collection of artifacts. Details are found on

The ADI does not currently welcome walk-in visits, which are limited to 10 people per booking. To inquire about bookings for larger groups, email

Admission rates vary; it’s free for Métis citizens with a suggested donation of $5 per person, and for others admission is $5 minimum donation, per person. All proceeds support cultural and language revitalization programs.

Rules say that any photographs taken in the gallery must be for personal use only, and closeups of artwork are not to be shared on social media, the internet or anywhere else without permission from the artist or director of the ADI.

Métis Nation British Columbia represents the Section 35 rights (of the Constitution Act, 1982) of more than 25,000 Métis citizens who are registered with MNBC, and advocates for the over 98,000 self-identified Métis in the province.


The story of Amelia Douglas told at the new Amelia Douglas Institute gallery in Surrey, at Gateway Station. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Sign tells the story of Métis tobacco bags at the new Amelia Douglas Institute gallery in Surrey, at Gateway Station. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

• Elsewhere in Surrey, an event called “Métis: Children of the Fur Trade” returns to the Museum of Surrey on Saturday, April 13, from noon to 4 p.m. The annual gathering, held in partnership with the Delta Métis Association, invites visitors to enjoy stories and performances “about the rich and diverse Métis heritage with an engaging exploration of both current and historical traditions.”

The event in Cloverdale (17710 56A Ave.) will feature a variety of Métis activities including jigging with Métis Bev Dance Group, performances by V’ni Dansi and Waceya Dance Troupe, stories, crafts and more, along with market vendors and food.

“There is a vibrant Métis population living in the City of Surrey,” said Lynn Saffery, MOS manager. “Staff and volunteers love hosting this annual event, where visitors have the opportunity to increase their understanding and learn about the rich heritage of the Métis, one of Canada’s Indigenous peoples.”

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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