A local Métis chief from Selkirk, Manitoba brings a sense of pride to the young and entertainment to the elderly by playing violin music from his Métis music van.

“We are in the homeland of the Métis, when they hear music, violin music is our music,” said “Bucky” Anderson, Minister of Culture and Heritage for the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) .

Anderson is also vice-president of the Interlake Métis Association of the MMF.

Anderson’s music van has become “famous in Selkirk” over the past year for showing off a piece of its culture in a city of 2,500 Métis citizens.

“A lot of people know me,” Anderson said.

“They tell me they love music. Even at the grocery store little kids come to me ‘This is Bucky, this is Bucky’, so that means a lot. It gives me the inspiration to keep going.”

For about 20 hours a week, Anderson drives the van through the streets and kicks off a 20 song playlist that features some of his favorite Métis songs on the side of the vehicle. As Anderson tours through town, he is greeted, honked, and approved by people along the way.

Watch Métis music roam Selkirk, Man. :

Métis music van brings culture to the streets

Over the past year, Bucky Anderson has taken Métis music to the streets of Selkirk, Manitoba. 2:42

He came up with the idea for the music van last year when people couldn’t come together for events like Indigenous Peoples Day and Canada Day.

“I had this van sitting there and I was like, well, why don’t I bring the music to the people?”

Anderson drilled holes in the side of his 1998 Chevrolet P30 van, installed speakers in it, hooked it up to a generator, splashed the blue and white van with a bunch of Métis flags and memorabilia and s ‘is set to boost the morale of people in the city.

“Our goal is to promote our culture and our heritage. And I think we’re doing the job,” Anderson said.

Plant a seed

Throughout the week, Anderson tours and stops at a few local schools, often handing out small blue Métis flags.

One of them is Ruth Hooker, an elementary school where 80% of the students are Indigenous.

Anderson has owned the van for over 10 years. He installed a booming audio system and hooked it up to an iPad, where he plays his favorite violin tunes. (Lenard Monkman)

For Anderson, the stops are an opportunity to instill a sense of cultural pride.

“When they learn about their culture and heritage in school, the seed is planted,” Anderson said.

“So they have a lead on it… They know what the music is about. They know what the flag is about. “

Heather Fontaine, teaching assistant at the school, said “It is important that our students see their culture reflected where they can see it”.

“We go out to recess, we hear this music, they start running and screaming and screaming. They are so happy, they dance. And it has been a really happy experience for everyone.”

Relief to the elders

Among its biggest fans are the residents of the Knights Center, a residence for people aged 55 and over.

“So many people are depressed to be locked in this alone,” said Kathy Matson, a resident of the center.

Some of Bucky Anderson’s biggest fans are the residents of the Knights Center in Selkirk. (Lenard Monkman / CBC)

“And as soon as we hear the music, they’re on the balconies clapping, waving and thanking him for coming down.”

Anderson said he recently took a short break from illness and people started calling him when they haven’t heard the van for a few days.

Although he is sometimes offered money for tours, Anderson said he was okay with being paid with cookies, donuts and the reactions he got on his travels.

He hopes to buy a newer van so he can travel longer distances.