Armand & Kelly Jerome
In honor of Manitoba's 150th Birthday on May 12 2020 we are organizing a combination Dog Sled Trek and Red River Cart Journey which will start in Kenora Ontario and complete in Winnipeg Mb at the Upper Fort Garry Historical site.....this expedition is the dream of my husband Armand and through the tremendous help of the wonderful people that have so graciously given their time this dream is coming together.....this is our story....
Armand has been a part of planning significant trail journeys since 2001 when it all started with a small group of passionate and dedicated people in St Norbert MB who believed they could reproduce the historically accurate Red River Metis Carts and travel with them beginning in Emerson Mb and completing at The Forks in Winnipeg , this inaugural trek was part of the 2001 Indigenous Games.....the ride that started them all.
Since then there have been several Red River Cart Journey's, from St Francis Xavier to St Laurent Mb, Virden to Fort Ellice Mb ,Regina Sk as well as rides through the Qu'appelle Valley Sk to name a few but the most significant journey took place over a two year period taking nine weeks from 2004~2005 dubbed "The 800 Miles to Batoche"....this would be the ride of a lifetime for everyone involved
The participation in the Batoche ride was unimaginable, journeying along the Carlton and Transcanada Trails they passed through every community along the way who hosted amazing celebrations to commemorate the carts passing through. Specially designed Metis crosses were erected in the St.Madeline, Pioneer, and San Clara cemeteries with the final cross being placed at the mass grave in Batoche Sk , the final destination .
By the time they reached Batoche over 100 people were in the procession that reached back a mile long.....this was to become a historical ride that brought many Metis communities together while acknowledging their culture that had been suppressed for so long.
It was an emotional, exhausting journey that experienced the greatest highs in the accomplishments and awakenings as well as the sorrows, many people who gave their time and efforts to make that dream come true have passed on and are so fondly remembered, others hung up there saddles and placed their tools aside but the one thing that will go on is the legacy that they all left behind not to be forgotten.
I joined Armand in his continuing dream in 2008 and since then we have been building authentic, fully functioning Red River Carts both full size and half size since.
The Red River carts have allowed us to experience many wonderful places like the Juno Beach Museum in France, to help place a cart to honor the Metis Veterans, the Winter Olympics in 2010 to participate in the Metis representation there, many museums, Metis Locals private purchasers and organizations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario as well the privilege of being able to teach Metis youth in several schools about the Red River carts and the Metis culture through Red River cart assembly classes where youth of all ages have a hands on experience of assembling one of our teaching carts, we are always honored to do so and have met many people very dedicated to promoting the culture.....
It is now our dream to complete one final Red River cart journey before 'our' saddles are hung and tools put aside and so for two years now we have been scouting trail and connecting with the people who have so generously donated there time, effort and fabulous input into the planning of this expedition.
We welcome you to watch as the planning unfolds and I continue to add to the information regarding the ride as events are confirmed.....please check back and Armand and I thank you all kindly for helping make this final dream come true.
Armand & Kelly Jerome