Niska – Bernaches – Geese

Niska are flying due North this Miroskamin (Spring). They aren’t even pausing on the shores of Kitchi Sipi (Saint-Lawrence river) near Moriak.

Niska is the Atikamekw word for Geese. In French, they used to be known as Bernaches, but now are called Outardes.

My grandfather would take down the taps out of the maple trees whenever Niska flew due North without stopping. The rain would soon start and the sap would loose its sweetness.

Bernaîche is the name my early ancestors took when they were required by Colonists to take a last name.

Bernaiche ascendance
Bernèche, Bernaîche, Bernache

Sîkon is over; Miroskamin is upon us.

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Perce-neiges. Moriak (Montréal), taken March 27th, 2016.
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Wearing Medicine pouch as an act of Decolonization

I have to be honest: growing up, I’d never seen a Medicine pouch. But then again, neither had I even attended Powwow or Sweat Lodge. They were banned by the government in 1925.

Kill the Indian, Save the Man.

First time I saw a Medicine pouch was sometimes in the 1990s – I don’t remember exactly when, but I know that I was expecting at the time.

I was fascinated by how beautiful the “necklace” was: made of leather I could smell had been smoke-tanned. The smell of “home tanned” leather triggers some visceral response in me. But there was something more familiar about the pouch that kept niggling at the back of my mind.

Year after year, attending Powwows and other Indigenous cultural events, I’d see these “necklaces” at the vendor booths. Different patterns, differently crafted, each unique.

Out of all of the beautiful crafts, these were what attracted me the most. But I never had purchased one – concerned about First Nation appropriation.

But why did this Medicine pouch seem so familiar?

My grandmother.

My Métis grandmother. The one who really, really would have never self-identified as Métis. The gggggrandchild of Catherine Anenonta and Louis Durand.

Her Scapulaires Verts.

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I think she must have had a stash of them everywhere. Each pouch contained a shiny medallion and a piece of camfor. Each time she’d see me without mine on, she’d pull another one out like magic.

I hated those Scapulaires Verts. They STANK and made me reek. She’d make me afraid something bad would happen to me if I didn’t wear it.

My grandfather hated them. Once, while we were driving out of town, he asked me to give it to him, rolled down his truck window, chucked it out without saying anything more about it

Anyways.

Here we are, over 40 years since the stinky “necklaces”. What the heck were they anyways? Why did my grandmother insist I wear one at all times?

I consulted the Catholic Encyclopedia , under Individual Small Scapularies; several different ones are described, but nothing about Green Scapularies.

Apart from information from obscure religious sources on prayers to go with the scapulary, all I found was this paragraph, translated from French, from Mary of Nazareth:

“The Green Scapular was the subject of two successive approvals of Pope Pius IX in 1863 and in 1870 ; but Satan, who knows its invaluable worth, succeeded long and still today to prevent the distribution in large numbers”

Oh Satan.

But, heeey – the cultural partimony department of the government of Quebec has it listed as a cultural icon in their Répertoire

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Why?

Around the same time of the Gradual Civilization Act, the Scapulaire Vert became the tool used to replace the medicine pouch. In the book, published in 1877, the Annals of the Propagandation of Faith, a single passage of how the “Savages” were adopting the devotion.

The Catholic Church exchanged medicine pouches for Scapulaires Verts. They tried to enfranchise us with a piece of green felt and shiny medallions. They convinced women that camfor was better than our Meshki Ki.

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I now wear a medicine pouch, filled with Meshki Ki as an act of decolonization. And it doesn’t stink.

All Our Relations.

 

 

Îles Dupas et du Chicot: capitale des Métis de l’Est, ou centrale de rendez-vous des Voyageurs?

Soyez indulgent avec moi pour quelques instants:  Je dois revenir en arrière avant d’aller vers l’avant.

Grâce à mes recherches, j’ai pû retrouver des preuves empiriques correspondant à l’histoire orale de la migration des première descendants issus de l’union des femmes des Premières Nations et des Colons Français précédemment racontés sur ce blog. Voici un aperçu rapide de la chronologie de évènements importants à cette histoire:

1637 – 1686: Mission jésuite de Sillery – lieu de rencontre des Atikamekw, Abénaqui, Innu et refuge des survivants du Massacre de l’Huronie.

Sillery
1670 Naissance de Louis DURAND, fils de Catherine ANENONTA, Attignawantan (clan de l’Ours) et Jean DURAND, Colon français à la mission de Sillery, Québec

Anenontha Ancestry

1690 Achat de la Seigneurie des Îles Dupas et du Chicot par Jacques BRISSET et Louis DANDONNEAU, premiers Colons français. Marguerite DANDONNEAU était à la fois soeur de Louis et épouse de Jacques:

 

1696 Louis DURAND se rend à Michilimakinac – voir plus ici: La Légende de Louis Durand un des premiers Voyageur dont l’histoire est largement documenté. Son descendant, également nommé Louis DURAND, lui-même établi dans l’Ouest, dans la province actuelle de l’Alberta – voir plus ici: Les Grands Voyages de Louis Durand

1740 Décès de Louis DURAND à Lanoraie, Lanaudière, Québec.

Lanoraie_Quebec_location_diagram

Mais tout ça prouve simplement qu’une seule ancêtre autochtone, non? Ça demande sûrement un ti-peu plus pour en faire une communauté, non?

Absolument d’accord. Regardons donc d’autres femmes de Premières Nations et leurs descendants: (il y en a davantage, mais il n’existe aucun acte de marriage, ni autre preuve écrite qu’elles/ils étaient issus de communautés Autochtones)


Ci-dessous sont les communautés, dans l’ordre d’arrivé des descendants de ces femmes Autochtones: Sorel, Berthierville, Lavaltrie, Sainte-Elisabeth, Saint-Cuthbert, Saint-Norbert, Mandeville et Saint-Gabriel.


Je n’ai (encore) pu trouver preuve empirique expliquant les raisons pour lesquelles la descendance de ces femmes Autochtones sont venues à être voisins, en dépit de leurs différentes Nations Autochtones. Les actes de marriage dont un conjoint est d’une Première Nation n’indiquent pas les noms des parents non-baptisés.

Tous les registres des naissances, mariages et décès, tous les contrats et autres documents juridiques ont été rédigées par des hommes, avec et pour des hommes. Sous le Régime français, seuls les hommes pouvaient légalement effectuer ces transactions – Ce n’est qu’en 1976 que les femmes avons pleinement acquises nos droits en vertu de la Charte des droits et libertés du Québec.

En toute évidente, la position géographique des Îles Dupas et du Chicot en font d’elles l’emplacement idéal sur l’autoroute hydrographique des Voyageurs, centralisé aux quatre points cardinaux.


Mes ancêtres, Jacques BRISSET et Louis DANDONNEAU, Seigneurs Courchesne et DuSablé, semblaient attirer de nombreux descendants des Premières nations aux Îles Dupas et du Chicot, ainsi que les  îles avoisinantes de l’archipel.

Ils ont sans équivoque pû rallier Nitaskinanla terre des Atikamekw, Nistassinan – la terre des Innus, Wâbuna’ki – la terre des Abénaquis, Kanien’kehá: ka – la terre des Haudenosaunee et Waabanakiing – la terre des Anishinaabe.

Une chose est sans équivoque: en regardant mes propres Arrières Grand-Mères à moi, les Métis Lanaudois sont le résultat génétique et culturel d’un grand métissage entre les nombreuses Premières Nations et les premiers Colons.

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Je vous transmets me voeux sincères d’Amour et de Paix pour Ostara, Pâques et Pesah.

Mitakuye Oyás’iŋ.

Îles Dupas et du Chicot, Eastern Métis Capital, or Voyageur Hub?

Please Bear with me. I have to go back before getting to my point.

What I have found through my research for empirical evidence to match my oral history of the migration of the first offspring of the unions of First Nations women and Settler men has been posted previously. Here’s a quick overview of timeline:

1637 – 1686: Jesuit Mission of Sillery – meeting place of Atikamekw, Abenaki, Innu and refuge of survivors of the Huronia Massacre.

Sillery

 

1670 Birth of Louis DURAND, son of Catherine ANENONTA, Attignawantan  (Bear Clan) and Jean DURAND, French Settler at Sillery Mission, Québec

Anenontha Ancestry1690 Purchase of the Seigneurie des Îles Dupas et du Chicot by Jacques BRISSET et Louis DANDONNEAU, both French Settlers. Louis’ sister Marguerite was Jacques’ wife:

1696 Louis DURAND travels to Michilimakinac – see more here: The Legend of Louis Durand – is one of the first extensively documented Voyageur. His descendant, also named Louis DURAND, established himself out West, in present day Alberta – see more here: Louis Durand’s Travels

1740 Death of Louis DURAND in Lanoraie, Lanaudière, Québec.

Lanoraie_Quebec_location_diagram

So, that just proves ONE Indigenous ancestor, right? ONE does not make a COMMUNITY, right?

I absolutely agree. Let’s look at other First Nation women and their descendants: (I have more, but unfortunately cannot provide mariage records, or other empirical proof they were from a First Nation community)

Highlighted below are the communities of (in the order they were occupied by the descendants of these First Nation women) Sorel, Berthierville, Lavaltrie, Sainte-Elisabeth, Saint-Cuthbert, Saint-Norbert, Mandeville and Saint-Gabriel de Brandon. 

I haven’t found any empirical proof (yet) explaining how these First Nation women came to be neighbours, despite being from many different First Nations. The mariage records, if found at all, never indicated the names of the unbaptized parents of the First Nation spouse.

All recorded births, mariages and deaths, all contracts and other legal documents were made by men, with men and for men. Under the French Regime, only men could legally transact – it was only in 1976 that women fully gained our Rights under the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedom.

One thing that seems apparent, is the geographic position of les Îles Dupas et du Chicot, making it the perfect location on the Voyageur hydrographic superhighway linking in all cardinal directions.

My ancestors, Jacques BRISSET and Louis DANDONNEAU, Seigneurs Courchesne and duSablé, appeared to attract many First Nation offspring to the Îles Dupas et du Chicot, and the other neighbouring islands of the Archipelago and linking Nitaskinan -Atikamekw land, Nistassinan -land of the Innu – Wâbuna’ki – land of the Abenaki, Kanien’kehá:ka – land of the Haudenosaunee and Waabanakiing – land of the Anishinaabe.

One thing is for sure when I look at my own First Grandmothers, Métis from Lanaudière are the product of much métissage between many Indigenous Nations.

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Blessings of Love and Peace for Ostara, Passover and Easter.

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ.

 

 

 

 

 

Louis Durand’s Travels

My direct ancestor, Louis.

He came from a long line of Métis. From East to West, uniting Indigenous Peoples.

From the union of our earlier ancestor, French Settler Jean (1636-1671) and Catherine Anenonta (1649-1709), Attignawantan – People of the Bear, comes a long line of Métis.

For over 100 years, each generation explored the waterways West of  Kahnawáʼkye – Big Waterway.

Born in Berthier in Lanaudière, Louis, like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather before him, traveled to and from the Western part of Gichi gumi – Lake Superior.

In the 1784 to 1801, Louis took three contracts with McTavish Frobisher & Co. – which later became the North West Company. to Gichi-onigamiing – Grand Portage.

 

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In 1803, he would take contract to travel further West to Gojiji-zaaga’iganLac à la Pluie

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In a book by Joachim Fromhold titled: Pakisimotan Wi Iniwak – The Western Cree, a written history of Jacques Cardinal – one of the first of the famed Mountain Men of the West, we find several passages referring to Louis.

It appears from these memoirs that Louis traveled to Iyaghchi Eennu Sipi Lesser Slave River and Atikameg – Tête-Blanche – Whitefish:

The name-place Atikameg hit me like a jolt. I have other ancestors from Atikamekw communities in Tapiskwan Sipi –  Mauricie and Lanaudière.

Niw’hk’m’kanak – All Our Relations.

 

Métis, en chiffres

Combien de personnes s’identifient Métis au Canada?

Regardons les chiffres sur les Mitchifs:

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Données démographiques sur les Autochtones tirées de l’Enquête nationale auprès des ménages de 2011

Ou habitent les gens qui s’identifient Métis?

la pop metis

Note 1: Annexe 1 : Recensement 2011 – Annexe

*Concernant le sujet des Métis du Labrador, consultez:

Les Inuit-Métis du Labrador: contexte historique (version anglaise)

NunatuKavut: notre terre ancestrale (version anglaise)

Inuit du Labrador: fierté du Nunatsiavut (version anglaise)

 

Métis by the Numbers

How many people identify as Métis in Canada?

Let’s look at some numbers:

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Indigenous Demographics from the 2011 National Household Survey

Where do people who identify as Métis live?

Metis population

Note 1: 2011 Census – Appendix 1

* For topic of Labrador Métis, please consult

Labrador’s Inuit-Metis: the Historical Background

NunatuKavut: Our Ancient Land

Labrador Inuit: The pride of Nunatsiavut