The métis people in North America

November 11th, 2013, 5pm

It was -12°C with few clouds. The breeze was gentle.

This book is a collection of papers sharing information about the Metis people in North America. One of the papers is called “what if Mama is an Indian” by Sylvia Kirk. In her paper, she deals with many aspects of Metis racism.

The aspect of racism that I find most damaging is the racism involving children. According to Kirk, the British-Indian children were taught to deny and increasingly felt the need to suppress the Indian part of their heritage. Dealing with racism is extremely hard at the best of times; however when it deals with children it is even worse. Children need to be taught to have pride in themselves, their traditions and their community. The strength of the family unit and community pride can help them to get through the difficult times. An account of a young girl Jemima Ross “became increasingly embarrassed to be seen in public with her (mother)” (Kirk p208)

I believe modern perceptions of the Metis people are still extremely divided. The racism of the past is still continuing on in the present. It is hard for the Metis people of today to feel unified and identify as a strong Metis nation when they are living across many towns, villages and cities; many that are populated by a majority of non-natives.

I have had these same struggles to fit in, I was raised in a city in BC and never identified with being Aboriginal. There were a few Aboriginals I knew, but most of the people in my neighborhood, who I identified with were white. Then as I grow up I learn more about being Aboriginal, yet it is a struggle for me, this Metis identity. The only time I felt like I fit was when I went to school here in The Pas. The Manitoba Metis Federation had sponsored 12 Metis people from across the country to take a program. I was the chosen one from BC, and I spent the next 2 years surrounded by other Metis individuals. Some were from small Metis communities and some were from large centers like me; but it gave us our place in this world.

David Wade and Barbara said thanks.

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Kelly Barr

I have been married for 15 years and am the mother of 2 small children. I grew up in BC but now live in Northern Manitoba to fight the winters and the mosquitoes!

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