My dad always said we were all related.
In a way where patronyms keep coming back, generation after generation, weaved with one another in different combinations.
In an earlier post, I had spoken about my consternation over Sociologist Gerard Bouchard’s article he titled “The Québécois’ Fake Indian Blood” (La Presse, Feb. 7, 2015) where he discounts the Métis population of Québec, stating that contempt of Settlers towards Indigenous Peoples had massively impeded social interaction and that if perchance there was an Indigenous ancestor in the average Québecois’ tree, it was rare and unprecedented.
Less than 1% blood quantum.
Indigenous Peoples are the only three minorities that require to prove our ethnicity to a Government that has legislated ways to assimilate us.
Proving someone is Métis is no small task:
People changed names. A few examples, taken from my own genealogy:
- LePellé / Lepelé
- LaHaye / LaHaye / Lahé
- DesMarais / Desmaret
All the same people
Here’s another family from my genealogy:
We don’t know why they changed their patronym. Maybe they did follow similar Indigenous name-calling traditions?
Once the threads have been untangled, Church records need to be found linking every generation all the way back. Finding all the records going back to one First Nation ancestor.
But what about proving historic and contemporary communities existed?
Here are a few examples of the work I have undertaken to illustrate the presence of Métis in Mauricie and Lanaudière, confluences between the First Nations settlements of Rupert’s Land and the Saint-Lawrence river. The French called it “Les Pays d’En Haut” – the Upper Country.
I chose to illustrate First Nation ancestors with symbol of the Eagle feather and I used the Crow’s feather to illustrate each subsequent Métis descendant all the way to myself. There’s actually a story about the crow’s feather and the Métis that I hope to write some day…
I’m doing this exercise to put everyone’s mind to rest about the 1% blood quantum argument. It’s a time-consuming task and I’m not giving myself a deadline to do it, unless the topic of the existence of Métis communities here is once again questioned. Then I’ll update this blog and show just how many people could wear a Crow’s feather in my community.