The final few dollars are coming in for the $1,500 needed to purchase a memorial marker to honour revered Métis leader Cuthbert Grant.
One of Grant’s descendants, Winnipegger Sandra Horyski, who lives in Winnipeg’s North End, has led the campaign to arrange for a marker to be placed in the St. François Xavier Roman Catholic Parish’s cemetery. The marker will be situated next to the burial plots of Grant’s daughter, Maria, and her husband, Pascal Breland. The location of Grant’s own grave is unknown.
A ceremony, led by Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber, is being held on Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. in the parish church at 1053 Highway 26 in St. François Xavier.
Horyski is extremely happy she and other Grant descendants will soon have a place to go to celebrate the life of Grant, who was one of the founding fathers of St. François Xavier.
She is expecting over 100 people to attend the ceremony, which includes a tree planting sanctioned by Tree Canada.
"The majority of those attending will be descendants," Horyski said.
Grant’s medicine chest, dating back to 1826, is being displayed, loaned for the day by the Manitoba Museum. Horyski said her son Nicholas, dressed as his great, great, great-uncle Cuthbert Grant, will guard the chest.
Letters written by the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, and Sir James Grant, a distant relative of Cuthbert Grant, will be read at the church service.
Horyski said she had tears in her eyes when MLA Sharon Blady (Kirkfield Park) stood in the Manitoba Legislature on Sept. 9 to read a Private Member’s Statement regarding the upcoming ceremony and Horyski’s dedication to ensuring her ancestor’s contributions are remembered. Grant’s Old Mill is located on Sturgeon Creek in Blady’s constituency.
The statement reads, ". . . as we look to our province’s bright future, it is also critical that we remember our past. Cuthbert Grant and the Métis people form an essential piece of Manitoba’s history, and Sandra and her family’s hard work is helping to promote and preserve Manitoba Métis heritage."
She presented Sandra with a framed copy of the statement, and plans to attend the marker ceremony on Sept. 28.
Horyski said placement of the memorial marker is just the start of her plans to honour her distinguished ancestor on an annual basis. She is already organizing a large event on July 15, 2014 to commemorate the 160th anniversary of Grant’s death.
"Now we have a place to gather to honour his memory," she said.
Any donations over what is needed to pay for the memorial marker will be given to the St. François Xavier Roman Catholic Parish.