Long-time Métis radio host, country singer, preparing to retire

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A longtime radio host whose voice has connected Métis citizens across Manitoba is about to retire from the air.

“I’ve made so many great friends,” said Ray St. Germain, co-host of the popular Native Communications Inc. (NCI) phone show. Metis Hour x2.

St. Germain, 82, is Métis from St. Vital, Man., and has hosted the Winnipeg phone show for 23 years.

The two-hour show, which begins Saturday at 11 a.m., features a diverse selection of Métis music, hosted by St. Germain, a live update with Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand, and phone calls from Métis citizens listening to the program. .

“It gives them a chance to say hello to everyone because it’s on the air everywhere… [including] the Internet,” St. Germain said.

“So, you know, they call and say hello to their loved ones in Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto.”

WATCH | Ray St. Germain is performing at an event in 2020:

“I am powerful and proud to be mixed race”

Ray St. Germain performs “I’m Mighty Proud I’m Metis” at the historic landmark in downtown Winnipeg, which will become the home of the Métis Nation Heritage Centre. 2h30

St. Germain is a highly respected country music singer and songwriter who performed alongside Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers and was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

His radio career began in 1957 and NCI station manager Dave McLeod said he was a trailblazer for people in Manitoba’s music industry.

“Ray St. Germain is an original. A true original. Irreplaceable,” said McLeod, who is Anishinaabe from Pine Creek First Nation.

Photos of Ray St. Germain from the 1960s and 1970s attest to his longevity as a country music singer. (Submitted by David McLeod.)

“He has made unique connections and unique friendships with many people in Manitoba’s music industry and I think his career shows what is possible because he made the decision to stay in Manitoba.”

Juno-nominated country music singer Desiree Dorion first met St. Germain when they performed together at the 2002 North American Indigenous Games in Winnipeg.

“Every time I’m around him or every time I listen to him on the radio, it feels like he’s letting you into his living room,” Dorion said.

NCI station manager David McLeod, left, says it will be difficult to replace St. Germain, who has created deep community ties through the phone show. (David McLeod)

“Ray’s retirement really allows him to see the impact he has had on the Indigenous music community and that we have the opportunity to tell him how much he is loved and revered in the community.”

In the meantime, NCI will be looking for someone to fill the hospitality chair, and St. Germain will soon have enough time to travel and visit his children and grandchildren.

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