By Jesse Robitaille
The Royal Canadian Mint has issued six new coins plus a gold fractional set as part of its August numismatic catalogue.
One of the coins, launched on Aug. 2 with the rest of the monthly catalogue, honoured the history of the Red River Métis during an unveiling ceremony at the Mint’s Winnipeg facility. Designed in partnership with the Manitoba Métis Federation, the $20 silver coin – dubbed “Generations” – features Métis beadwork alongside Michif, the official language of the Métis Nation. Its reverse design features beadwork patterns by Manitoba Métis artist Jennine Krauchi, who attended the unveiling.
“I have always tried to tell our stories through my beadwork whether it’s a personal story or a broader theme,” said Krauchi, who added her design for the Mint’s new coin explores “a little of the history of the Red River Métis, our struggles and hardships and what we have overcome as a people.”
“I never thought that my journey of Métis beadwork would result in having my design chosen to be featured on a coin. I am so very proud, humbled and honoured. I created this image in celebration of all my Métis ancestors and all of the beaders who came before me, right back to those who picked up the first bead and produced this beautiful art form.”
On the reverse, roots intertwine with the Red River – identified in Michif as “La Rivyeer Roozh” – to represent the local Métis homeland and ancestry, according to Krauchi. An infinity symbol highlights their eternal spirit alongside more Michif words, “Taapweeyimisho” and “Taapweeyimik lii Michif” (“Believe in yourself” and “Believe in Métis”). A central fire symbolizes a period of forced repression within the community while a prairie rose – a common Red River Métis motif – represents the nation’s resurgence.
“Our unique prairie floral beadwork is a critical part of our history, identity and culture,” said Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand. “At times in the past, the distinct designs were so well known that we were called the flower beadwork people in recognition of this art form. Today, prairie floral beadwork is experiencing a revival amongst our citizens, led by people like Master Beadwork Artist Jennine Krauchi, who has worked diligently for years to pass her extensive knowledge on to others in our nation.”