25 July 2016

Reflecting on Métis identity

This post comes from the âpihtawikosisân blog. The author, Chelsea Vowel, describes herself as "Métis from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. She currently lives in Montreal, Quebec. Her passions are: education, Aboriginal law, the Cree language, and roller derby. She holds a BEd, an LLB and teaches indigenous youth."

Her blog links to a number of resources on Aboriginal issues in Canada, including a thorough collection of Online Learning Resources, An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses, and a regular blog.

One such blog post is "You’re Métis? So which of your parents is an Indian?" In this post, the author reflects on Métis identity, and addresses common misconceptions that she has faced in her own experience, what identity means, and some of the legal and political issues that affect these peoples. Here's a short except from this excellent post:
"My understanding of my Métis identity has shifted considerably over the years.  You see, I was only about 5 years old when the term Métis was recognised officially in section 35(2) of the Constitution Act of 1982.  I point this out because although the term Métis predates that official recognition, it was not necessarily the most common term in use. Often we were referred to in the Prairies as the Road Allowance People.  The term ‘halfbreed still got tossed around a lot when I was growing up and was pretty ubiquitous in my parent’s and grandparent’s time.  You can imagine how confusing it is in terms of forming an identity, to be known by so many ill-defined names."
Check out this post and others on the âpihtawikosisân blog, or read them in Vowel's forthcoming book, Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada.

Quick links and further reading: