Portrait of Steve Powely

Title: Portrait of Steve Powely
Creator: Gabriel Dumont Institute, Christi Belcourt
Subject: Gabriel Dumont Institute, Great Métis of My Time, Christi Belcourt, Steve Powely
Description: Gabriel Dumont Institute has acquired Great Métis of My Time, a series of paintings by Métis artist Christi Belcourt. This powerful evocative series of artwork will be housed at the Gabriel Dumont Institute in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Institute is very honoured to be able to add this series to the Institute’s permanent collection. The paintings include five portraits of famous Métis: Steve Powley (who was considered Métis at the time the painting was commissioned), Harry Daniels, Maria Campbell, Tony Belcourt, and Jean Teillet. In addition, the collection also includes four complementary pieces including a “coat” for Harry Daniels, a “bandolier bag” for Steve Powley, as well as two other pieces which celebrate the Métis’ beading, and embroidery tradition. As the artist writes about the series:

“The Great Métis of My Time project is a series of nine paintings that through exhibition are intended to bring awareness of Métis history, Métis traditional art and Métis contemporary issues to a public audience. The paintings, produced in acrylic on canvas, portray the stories and the lives of five prominent Métis individuals whose determination to seek justice for Métis rights have changed the course of history for the Métis Nation in modern times.”

For further background information about these paintings, please visit the artist’s website at www.christibelcourt.com.

Portrait of Steve Powley, 2007
36” x 48”
Acrylic on canvas

Steve Powley (1948-2004) was a hunter and activist who will forever be recognized for his fight to ensure that the Métis would have their Aboriginal hunting rights recognized. His efforts led to the landmark Powley ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2003, which ensured that Métis across the Métis Homeland have an Aboriginal right to harvest fauna and fish provided that they meet several conditions, specifically regarding their connection to an historic Métis community. Although the Métis won the right to hunt in the Supreme Court, implementation of this right remains challenged by some provincial and territorial governments across Canada.
Publisher: Gabriel Dumont Institute
Type: Image
Abstract: Please note that recent genealogical information reveals that Steve Powely did not have Métis ancestry. However, when this painting was commissioned. he was recognized as a Métis. His portrait appears in our gallery and on this website to promote discussion about Métis identity.
Date of Copyright: April 16, 2009; revised March 1, 2023
GDI Media Filename: Powley [1024x768].jpg

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Category Belcourt, Christi