Metis in the Middle – Classroom Presentation

On Feb 28, we had the opportunity in our ECCU class to have a young man by  the name of Russell Fayant come in and speak to us on the topic of Metis and their role in treaties. Below are some brief jot notes regarding key information that I took from the presentation:

  • Who are Metis?
    • French and Scottish; Cree and Ojibwa (mostly)
    • A Metis person is:
      • Recognized by a Metis Community
      • Self-Declares to be Metis person
      • Trace History to historic MetisCommunity (ie: Willowbunch in Saskatchewan)
      • Michif is the traditional language of Metis peoples
      • Hillbox Hat/ Metis Sash are considered Traditional Attire

“It is not who you claim to be… it’s who claims you.”

  • Extinguish of Land Titles Through Scrip
    • 1.4 million acres
    • 1870 Manitoba act was signed
    • Metis families were pushed far away
    • rescinded or pulled back 4 times of 2 years for alterations.
    • Less than 2% of Metis peoples today have the claim to the land originally given by scrip
    • POWERFUL ACTIVITY ABOUT SCRIP – created by Russel to show students how Scrips were distributed, rescinded multiple times and in the end the Metis people were left disbursed from their homes and cutoff from both European and Indigenous Communities.

The reason that I have added these few bullets above is to help myself when reflecting upon this experience and blog postin future years and helping myself consider just a few things that I learned from this presentation.

An excerpt from Russel’s presentation that stood out to me was:

No one knows reconciliation like Metis people because we were created out of Europeans trying to make peaceful relationships with Indigenous Peoples. Metis would not exist without it. We know reconciliation is possible because is has happened before.

I appreciated that Russell mentioned this as it reminded me that there is hope for reconciliation in this world as it has happened in one form in the past. I know that reconciliation looks different for everyone; however, I feel empowered as I realize that it has happened before therefore it is not an impossible way of life!Photo Credit: blprnt_van Flickr via Compfight cc

KEY MOMENT from this presentation: I realized that I know nothing about Metis people, culture and histories. I have a responsibility to learn more so that I can speak appropriately as an advocate during in my Treaty Education of youth. In learning more I have committed to doing the following actions:

  • Watch the movie Places Not Our Own
  • Watch Ashes and Tears (The Gabriel Dumont Library has it
  • Research further the impacts that colonization has had on Metis peoples.

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth


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