Author Topic: Metis Culture  (Read 10037 times)

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Metis Culture
« on: December 13, 2005, 01:49:18 AM »
Tansi;

The Metis Nation and Culture is still alive and more can be learned about us, by checking out some of the following websites.

www.metisnation.ca
www.gdins.org
www.metisresourcecentre.mb.ca

Metis people are more than just mixed blood people, as we have developed a distinct Culture, Language, Flag, Music, Dance and many other ways of living.  We have the distinction of being recognized, in the Canadian Constitution, as one of the three Aboriginal groups in Canada, which are Indian, Inuit and Metis.  Metis people have Traditionally used aspects of both European and Native Cultures to create a way of life.  Some of us continue to work with Traditional Medicines and live with the forest around us.

While there are Metis people all over Canada and parts of the northern USA, we still have some communities which are distinctly Metis.  I live in Green Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada, a Metis village and the third oldest community in Saskatchewan.  As the president of our Metis Local, within the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan,  it is my responsibility to ensure that our Culture and values are Respected. As long as there are Metis people who wish to live in a Traditional manner, they must be protected.

It has come to our attention that there are some abusers of Native Culture, who claim that they are Metis.  Therefore it would be beneficial if people learned more about our Culture, in order to be able to recognize any frauds who use the name Metis, as their Cultural affialiation.

Please learn about us, we are friendly!
Ric

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2005, 09:09:40 PM »
Tansi;

I should add that while Metis people may come from many Aboriginal Cultures, in our own area Cree and Dene are the main Aboriginal peoples who the Metis of our area descend from.  In our community, most of our Elders speak Cree/Michif more fluently than they do English.

The Traditional Medicines that my wife and I are familiar with, are mostly from the Cree ways of our Heritage.  We know that the forest and prairies of our region are home to many beneficial plants and animals which help with our Health and Healing.  If we use these, with the Respect of our Cree and Metis ancestors, they will remain sustainable and continue to be available for all of our peoples.

Ric


Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2008, 04:48:10 PM »
Tansi;

A good reference about the Metis of Saskatchewan can be found at       http://esask.uregina.ca/entry/metis_communities.html

Ric


Offline bls926

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2008, 05:35:43 PM »
I think most understand who the Metis are and how they became a distinct group of people. Metis are recognized in Canada, but not in the United States. I think that most claiming Metis here in the States are simply descendants, without enough bq or documentation to be enrolled with whatever Nation they are claiming. The fraudulent Metis groups, the ones who sell memberships for $20 or $30 online, don't help your people at all. This is why there is so much misunderstanding here in the States about the true Metis people.

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2008, 08:30:12 PM »
Tansi;

While most of the folks here know who the Metis are, there are apparently many who do not, especially in the US.  There are Metis people in the US, having crossed the "Medicine Line" after some of the confrontations, with govt forces, in Canada, during the mid to late 1800's.  Many of these settled in Turtle Mountain, and remain aware and Proud of their Metis Heritage.

The use of the term, Metis, as a way of being unchallenged, as Aboriginal people, is no different than claiming to be descended from a distantly related "Cherokee Princess," which is becoming harder for those who use that definition.  By raising the awareness of who we Metis are, I hope to help identify various frauds, who try to avoid questions, based on misunderstandings of who the Metis are.

Ric
« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 05:03:00 PM by Ric_Richardson »

Offline Moma_porcupine

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2009, 02:54:25 AM »
Hi Ric

I have a question...

There has been a lot of talk here lately about who is Metis and who isn't.

Like in the link below ...

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1187.0

I hear people saying that because the Metis are already mixed, it doesn't matter how many generations of outmarriage have occured, and that people with very distant Native descent are still Metis and as such are entitled to recognition and rights as indigenous peoples.

On the other hand, it sounds like Canadian Indian Status can only be passed to the children born from the first generation of marriage to a non native person . If those children marry a non native person , it sounds like there is a cut off and their children loose their Indian status...

Do the Metis who are federally recognized as Aboriginal people in Canada also loose this official recognition after 2 generations of marriage to non native people ?

Or do the Metis have a right to pass on their federally recognized identity indefinatly ?

If there is a difference between the rights of the Metis and Status Indians to pass on this federal recognition to their kids , why is there a difference?

Even more confusing,  is that I read that while the federal government decides people can no longer be eligible for status, bands get to define their own membership, and it's possible for a person to be a band member without status.

If bands decide to keep people as members after 2 generations of outmarriage , do bands get the same funding and services for their non status members, as they recieve for status members, or do the services provided non status band members have to get paid for by taking funds away from band members with status?

I am not in any way questioning whether or not the Metis people in Canada who are on average 1/2 non native and 1/2 Native , should be recognized as Aboriginal people. I'm not even questioning whether people who are a couple generations away from an ancestor who was 1/2 and 1/2 , should be recognized as Aboriginal people ...

I'm just wondering how the Metis represented by the MNC are different than people who are status Indians and how both these groups are different from the people calling themselves Metis , who's community probably averages about 1 or 2% indigenous content, from marriages that happened more than 300 years ago ...
 Your input here would be really helpful...

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2009, 03:33:15 PM »
Tansi;

As I have previously stated, I am not an expert on any of this.  I believe that we, as Metis people, have a responsibility to pass on our Cultural ways and identity to future generations.  Our Culture is not defined by blood quantum, but by the way we live.  Governments have brought about "extinguishment" clauses in may ways, over the past century and a half, but Aboriginal people continue to survive.

I think that it has come to a time in which Nations have the responsibility for determining their membership and stop relying on foreign governments to choose who is or isn't a Citizen of their respective Nations.  Currently, there is no Federal funding to bands for non-status Indians.

Ric

Offline earthw7

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2009, 08:43:00 PM »
I will say for the Metis at Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa they must have 1/4 Native blood to be on the rolls
In Spirit

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2009, 04:50:28 AM »
Tansi;
Earth, I can understand why there should be consideration given for a minimum blood quantum, as there is at Turtle Mountain.  As many Metis people now live in cities and may not be very aware of our Culture, we are currently in danger that the Metis who do not understand what this means, may take over our political aspects and endanger the Rights that we have fought so hard for.  The Culture is what defines me, as a Metis person, but I have met many others who have very limited understanding of our Culture and they get to vote too.

I think that the reason that there is no blood quantum requirement, is that there are many Metis people who continue to live in ways that Honour our Culture, but these are mainly away from the south and the cities.  After many decades of oppression, our people have only recently been recognized and Respected, by having various Rights recognized.  The fact that the government did not include definitions for the Metis, as there are for First Nations, may have been an oversight, but may also may have been laying the foundation of a case for dismissing or extinguishing our collective Rights.  

When I was working with one First Nation, they chose to adopt a Constitution which allowed for Band control of their membership list.  They made sure that they included that there must be a minimum of 25 per cent Aboriginal Blood, in order to be even eligible for membership.

Ric
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 06:05:18 PM by Ric_Richardson »

Offline earthw7

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2009, 09:29:03 PM »
I understand my husband speak Michif and it was his first language
his great grandfather fought with Louie Riel and is buried in Winnepeg
with him. He knows and live his culture and is very proud of his blood.
All his family are from canada his grandfather came over the boarder
and was counted on the Turtle Mountain Rolls so he settled here. We
use to travel up to Canada to visit his relatives.
The metis have their own culture so it is easy to see when people who
claim mixblood say they are metis we know they are not.
You have to have that Jig to belong ;D
In Spirit

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2009, 12:53:29 AM »
Tansi;  While many Metis people, who are represented by the Metis National Council (MNC) can trace their lineage to those who either lived at Red River or were connected to it, there have been others who have surfaced to take advantage of the Rights that the MNC had fought for, which included having the Metis included in the Canadian Constitution, 1982.  By not clearly defining who is Metis, there have been a number of problems which I can see becoming worse and may ultimately either result in a clear definition of who is Metis or may actually provide means for extinguishing Aboriginal Rights, for our people.

I can understand how it is for some people, who may have some Aboriginal Heritage, to find a place to belong, but think that they should learn about their own roots, instead of trying to claim they have ours.

Earth- your husband's family likely went to Turtle Mountain as a result of persecution which was common, in the late 1800's and most of the 1900's.  When we gather at Batoche, each year, there are always people who come up from Browning and other areas of the Northern States, because they too are connected and want to visit with family, dance and socialize with other Metis people.  From what you have told me, his family also has relatives in our community, as well.  The fact that we share a common history and Heritage enables Metis people to share in ways that those who only have some Aboriginal blood, but not our history cannot.

Incidentally, next year will be 125 years since the Battle at Batoche and the gathering will likely be even larger than it was, this year, when we had well over 10,000 people in attendance.  There were more people at "Back to Batoche," this year, than there were, since the 100th anniversary, in 1985.

As time goes by, the issue of definition for Metis people will become more important, but to those of us who know who we are, it is important now! 
Ric

Offline earthw7

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2009, 07:25:09 PM »
Agree there is pride in the language which
is unique and the culture. It is hard to watch
people claim to be something they have no
understanding of the blood that was shed so
that the people could live. Keep strong
In Spirit

Offline Ric_Richardson

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2010, 12:53:51 AM »
Tansi;

In an effort to clearly identify who is a member of the Metis Nation, Saskatchewan (MNS), the MNS is currently working on a registry of citizens.  Information required includes genealogical information, with supporting documentation, that goes back to the Census of 1901.  The creation of a Metis genealogical data base will hopefully help to clearly show who is and who isn't of Metis ancestry.  This initiative has begun and will be ongoing for some time to come. 

Ric

Offline Yiwah

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 02:14:43 PM »
Tân’si,

I know this was not addressed to me, but I'd like to answer some of your questions if it's alright.

Hi Ric

I have a question...

There has been a lot of talk here lately about who is Metis and who isn't.

Like in the link below ...

http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1187.0

I hear people saying that because the Metis are already mixed, it doesn't matter how many generations of outmarriage have occured, and that people with very distant Native descent are still Metis and as such are entitled to recognition and rights as indigenous peoples.

On the other hand, it sounds like Canadian Indian Status can only be passed to the children born from the first generation of marriage to a non native person . If those children marry a non native person , it sounds like there is a cut off and their children loose their Indian status...

Do the Metis who are federally recognized as Aboriginal people in Canada also loose this official recognition after 2 generations of marriage to non native people ?

Or do the Metis have a right to pass on their federally recognized identity indefinatly ?

If there is a difference between the rights of the Metis and Status Indians to pass on this federal recognition to their kids , why is there a difference?

Even more confusing,  is that I read that while the federal government decides people can no longer be eligible for status, bands get to define their own membership, and it's possible for a person to be a band member without status.

If bands decide to keep people as members after 2 generations of outmarriage , do bands get the same funding and services for their non status members, as they recieve for status members, or do the services provided non status band members have to get paid for by taking funds away from band members with status?

I am not in any way questioning whether or not the Metis people in Canada who are on average 1/2 non native and 1/2 Native , should be recognized as Aboriginal people. I'm not even questioning whether people who are a couple generations away from an ancestor who was 1/2 and 1/2 , should be recognized as Aboriginal people ...

I'm just wondering how the Metis represented by the MNC are different than people who are status Indians and how both these groups are different from the people calling themselves Metis , who's community probably averages about 1 or 2% indigenous content, from marriages that happened more than 300 years ago ...
 Your input here would be really helpful...


Being Métis wasn't really an issue until 1982 when we were included in s.35 of the Constitution.  We just weren't recognised legally.  Nonetheless, there were and continue to be strong Métis communities throughout Canada.  In Alberta, we actually have a land base; 12 settlements created in 1938 of which 8 still remain under Métis control.  So there was certainly some sort of political consciousness of the existence of the Métis prior to the repatriation of the Constitution, but no recognition on a Federal level.

The issue of Métis identity is very complex.  A lot of people, especially here in Quebec, believe that Métis means having one native parent and one non-native parent, but that isn't the case.  That's 'little m' metis.  The Métis discussed in the Constitution are a people, a culture, not simply an ethnicity.  

Does that mean we are 'hardly native'?  There are Métis in many of the Albertan Settlements that are more 'pure blood' than many First Nations further east.  There are people who have recognition as Métis because they took scrip, who have siblings from the same parents who are First Nations, all because of shady land expropriations by the government, involuntary enfranchisement, and then subsiquent reinstatement of status.  A lot of intermarriage goes on, so you have various Métis backgrounds blending, and no desire to keep a strict account of blood quantum, because we are as much a product of our European roots as our indigenous ones.  

Our language, Michif, which has suffered the same sort of loss as many other indigenous languages is still spoken by some of our elders.  Though when I heard it growing up, I was told it was Cree, and it wasn't until I learned French that I realised it was Michif.

I don't want to go on and on and try to lay out the entirety of Métis culture for you, so I'll skip to your questions about rights.  We don't have many.  There is no 'status', as you'll find with First Nations people.  Status is purely a construction of the Indian Act and does not apply to Métis, Inuit, or non-Status Indians.  We had an interim harvesting agreement with the province of Alberta that gave Métis some hunting and fishing rights (though you had to fish with a gill net, not a rod and poll, etc), but that was revoked when the new government came in.  We do not have hunting or fishing rights like First Nations.  We do not have tax exemptions.  We should be a Federal concern, but the Feds deny having any responsibility for our education, or health, and the provinces do the same.  We do not have treaties, and there is not the same duty on the Crown to consult with Métis communities as there is in regards to First Nations.

In short, being Métis is pretty much what it has always been.

However, it may not always be that way.  There are many court battles being fought over rights.  When R. v. Powley came out, we finally had a legal definition of who is Métis.  Before that, we were sometimes Indians (if we lived an 'Indian lifestyle') and sometimes not.  After Powley, we know that being Métis means three things:

- self-identification as Métis
- is from a historic Métis community
- has current links to that same community

You have to meet all three criteria.  This is the criteria being adopted by various provincial Métis organisations.  After Powley, the Métis Nation of Alberta went through an intense process of checking on every single one of its members to ensure they met the Powley test.  Quite a few people were 'kicked off the list'.  We did have a rash of people joining up at one point, thinking they were going to get hunting rights from it.  No Métis organisation can risk allowing people in like that anymore.  We've heard the rumours of various groups handing out membership cards in malls, and yes it harms us, but we are not a single people who can control every group that wants to represent the Métis. What we can do is within our own nations, ensure that we remain clear on who we are, and what that means.  

So no.  You can't pass on membership indefinitely.  You have to maintain a relationship with your community.  If you marry out, that's fine, but if you want your kids to be Métis, then they need to be raised as Métis.  It's not about blood quantum, but it is very much about maintaining those reciprocal bonds with your community.

I realise that the issue of 'who is Métis' varies from region to region.  In the Prairies, it's not that thorny of an issue.  Our communities are strong, and we know one another.  One can very easily determine what community (if any) you are from, and determine whether you're actually Métis or not.  People still try to 'pass' but they don't get very far.  Out here in Quebec, it's hard to say.  I know there is a lot of tension over who is Métis, partly because the Quebec government pretends we don't exist at all.  Which is ironic, considering some of our strongest communities in Alberta were originally founded by Iroquois from this area.  I can't speak to the issue of east coast Métis and whether they should be legally considered Métis; I'm more familiar with my own context.  I'm not a Red River purist, but I've run into enough people claiming to be Métis who have absolutely no ties or understanding of what that means, that I do get a little tired of the whole thing.  

Anyway, hope that helps...if you have any other questions, or want clarification, I'll try my best to answer!

Mwestas.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 02:24:01 PM by Yiwah »

Offline Yiwah

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Re: Metis Culture
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 02:21:20 PM »
I understand my husband speak Michif and it was his first language
his great grandfather fought with Louie Riel and is buried in Winnepeg
with him. He knows and live his culture and is very proud of his blood.
All his family are from canada his grandfather came over the boarder
and was counted on the Turtle Mountain Rolls so he settled here. We
use to travel up to Canada to visit his relatives.
The metis have their own culture so it is easy to see when people who
claim mixblood say they are metis we know they are not.
You have to have that Jig to belong ;D

Ha, the jig...I lived in Inuvik for a few years and discovered the strong (and unexpected) presence of Gwich'in Métis...wow.  The Gwich'in have also intermarried quite a bit with the Inuvialuit, but the jig sure stays strong, and that Beaufort Delta fiddling is jaw-droppingly excellent.  So you have a really amazing blend of the Dene, Inuit and Métis cultures up there; we're all native.

I don't want to post in the other thread, since it's quite old....but educatedindian at one point says: "My understanding of Metis culture (as an outsider) is that the Metis generally lived apart from both whites and recognized status NDNs. This is how the Metis culture was created. Those mixedbloods who managed to "pass" among either status NDNs or whites for several centuries by definition wouldn't be considered Metis."

Yes, we lived apart, which is how our culture grew, but we were never hermetically sealed off.  We have developed and maintained strong relationships with First Nations, and intermarriage is very common.  Most of us have direct relations who are Stoney, Cree, Dene, Blood and so on.  One thing I do have trouble with is the 'legal impossibility' of being  both First Nations AND Métis.  There are a LOT of Cree-Métis in Alberta, but you have to define yourself as one, or the other.  You are not allowed to be both.  That doesn't make sense to me...you can have dual citizenship in other contexts!  The whole focus on fitting everyone into properly labeled boxes is frustrating.  It's like we're being dared to 'misstep' and be legally disappeared.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2010, 02:37:02 PM by Yiwah »