Here, I explore What it means to be Métis in Canada Today. A little poetry never hurt anyone, either.

Metis identity cards

My mother tells me (over the phone) that she registered my brothers and sisters and I for the new (improved!) Métis identity cards. (The old cards not being good enough anymore for reasons my mother doesn’t talk about on this phone call.) 

What does this mean?

I’m not sure yet.

We’re direct descendants of the Goulet family, who fought at the Red River Rebellion and declared provisional government to negotiate terms for entering Confederation. 

That means we’re what they call ‘scrip’ Métis. 

Bob Joseph sums it on the blog Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples

“The scrip policy is not as well known as other sorry chapters in Canada’s history of relations with Aboriginal Peoples but it should be as it rendered the Métis population largely without the traditional land base that First Nations and Inuit have.”

This left my ancestors landless. They all had to move. And move again. And move again. 

Seems my family kept up the tradition: we moved so much growing up that my siblings and I can’t even agree on all the places we lived. 

There’s a court case that’s important to this story.

In 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government didn’t keep the promises it made to my people 140 years ago. This ruling “did not order any particular remedies but does open the door to land claim negotiations - those 5565 acres promised to Métis children includes the city of Winnipeg - or talks toward other forms of compensation from the federal government.”

My grandmother is one of those children. My mother is one of those children. My siblings and I are those children. 

Anyway, my mother says she’ll get her card soon. Then all I’ll have to do is call up the Métis office, provide proof again of who I am and that she’s my mother. Then the new card will come in the mail. 

Then we talked about the cousins, the nieces and nephews, and the grandchildren, like we always do. 


Are Métis 'Indians'?

Winter, walking this way