White people: stop defining us and defiling our symbolism.

I first saw this picture last week. Several people alerted me to this image. The graphic rates well for shock effect. It was published to accompany an article published in the September edition of Maisonneuve magazine, to go along with Halifax’s Saint-Mary University professor Darryl Leroux’s article “Self-Made Métis,” in which he writes how tens of thousands of Canadians have begun calling themselves Métis, and now they’re trying to get the courts to agree. 

I can’t tell you who the artist is or whether s.he is Indigenous. It’s obvious that whoever made this drawing knows something about Indigenous symbolism and was going for a shock factor.

Everyone should be concerned about this image.

Who might fit a stereotypical image of the Noble Indian?

Before you continue reading, stop. Ask yourself if your grandchildren’s grandchildren would loose claim to your Nation, to your community, based on how s.he may physically appear on the outside.

The drawing is being used as a commentary on identity politics between First Nations without status and Métis from outside the branded Métis “Nation” (a specific geographic area that excludes parts of BC and Ontario, as well as all of the NWT, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.)

Let’s face facts:

This picture is violent in nature. It’s blasphemous. It’s full of imagery and innuendos intended to send a clear message of segregation. The image clearly mirrors disrespect for Indigenous symbolism by way of poking fun of sacred objects such as the Medicine Wheel and traditional Regalia. It uses the stereotype of a Caucasian, Aryan-looking male desecrating the Peaked Hood  worn as part of the women of the Wabanaki Confederacy Regalia.

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Traditionally embroidered with beaded swirls, the Peaked Hood is sacred to the woman of the Confederacy. In this case, a Christian crucifix that looks like a Nazi cross replaces the bottom embroidery.

The Peaked Hood is placed on top of a camouflage-coloured baseball cap that would somehow imply that everybody seeking to assert Indigenous identity is doing so for hunting privileges.

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Along with the rappala fishing lure that misappropriates the use of the Sacred Medicine Wheel, while featuring colours of the four directions in wrong order, the graphic seeks to reaffirm the trope that Indigenous Peoples get free, unlimited money and harvesting rights in Canada.

The Fleurs de Lys: an image associated with the French-Indian war, a symbol used by Louis Riel’s provisional government. The Fleur de Lys was a symbol of resistance to the Hudson Bay Company and to British colonization.

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In what should be seriously examined as an affront to all Métis, the artist misuses the Fleurs de Lys, a symbol close to the heart of every Métis with French ancestry as well as every First Nation  who held alliances with France.

S.he makes it about how Québécois identity is not compatible with Indigenous identity and reduces the history of Indigenous Peoples to British colonial rule.

Last but not least, the red nose. Symbolism of the drunk native. Reducing to a stereotype the blood quantum theory at the basis of the Indian act.

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One can assume the image content displays that whatever DNA is left in a mixed-blood native individual is a genetic leftover of generational alcohol dependency. The drunken Indian stereotype, one of the most harmful discriminatory tropes associated with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples, seemingly is what remains during Whitewashing, all cultural traits diminish and are lost yet only the worst stereotype remains, carrying forward to future generations.

I’m sure I’m missing a few more imageries in this egregious art piece. I’ve relied on the keen eye of a few Métis and First Nation artists (who wish to remain anonymous).

Readers may or may not agree on the definitions of Indigenous identity.  These are important, crucial discussions that should not be influenced by White academia, in my opinion, no more than the criteria that states community acceptance be dictated by its Own People and not by the Settler’s governments.

We owe it to ourselves to speak out. We need to do it for our grandchildren’s grandchildren; those not yet born, for whom we hold land, traditions and culture.

The image has been made public and no copyright infringement is intended during this artistic critique and study of this work. 

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Culling the Indians: A Timeline

Everybody tends to refer to 1876 as the benchmark of Canada’s legacy of colonialism. But the intent to terminate Indigenous rights began 103 years prior to the Indian Act.

Here’s the timeline:

1763: The Royal Proclamation. Proclaimed as the “Indian Magna Carta“. It guaranteed certain rights and protections. It established how Britain could acquire lands.

1850: An Act for the better protection of the Lands and Property of the Indians in Lower Canada. Included are all descendants of such people, non-Indians who “intermarried with such Indians,” people whose parents were considered Indians, and “all persons adopted by them”

1857: An Act to Encourage the Gradual Civilization of the Indian Tribes in the Province was passed by the fifth Parliament of the Province of Canada. Any Indian who can read or speak English or French, has no debts and is of good character becomes considered as a “legal Person” and “civilized” in the eyes of the British government.

1869: An Act for the Gradual Enfranchisement of Indians, the Better Management of Indian Affairs, and to Extend the Provisions of the Act. This further restricted definition of who was regarded a Indian. Only persons of one quarter Indian blood could be acknowledged Indian.

1870: The Manitoba Act.  Individuals residing in the vicinity of present-day Winnipeg were offered Scrip, a promissory note giving each individual a private ownership of 64 hectares in exchange of their Indian land title.

1876: The Indian Act. Meant to consolidate all the previous ordinances aiming to terminate First Nations culture in favour of assimilation into Euro-Canadian society. Much of the Act pertaining to identity and the exclusions based on gender have since been repealed and the act has gone through several amendments.

Any descendants of the people who became excluded by any of these laws remain victims of historic injustices as a result their colonization. We are prevented from exercising, in particular, our right to development in accordance with our own needs and interests and denied our right to self-determination.

 

The Sillery “reduction” and Pachirini’s fief: first reserves for christian Indigenous

In 1637, missionaries of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, found a mission outside the village of Kébec. The Jesuits choose an important site for the First Nations, known as Kamisk8a 8angachitthe eel tip and the place to fish (known as Sillery).

Initially, the reduction of Sillery is called the St. Joseph Mission (not to be confused with its namesake created in 1680 in the Country of the Illinois Nation). The goal is sedentarization, conversion to Catholicism, and the education of the neighboring First Nations – Innu Nations, Atikamekw, Algonquin, the Wendat Nation, and even some converts from the Mohawk and Abenaki Nation. At the same time, unions between Nations, including that of the Settlers, are encouraged by missionaries because this type of union

will oblige all savages to love the French as their brothers. They testify to wish it with passion, for they never have more satisfaction with our speeches when we promise them that we will take their daughters in marriage, for after that there is a thousand applause. They tell us that when we do this marriage, they will hold us as their nation, considering the descent and kinship of families by their wives and not by men, all the more so, say he, that we know that the mother of the child, but not sternly who is the father.

At first, the Jesuits think that

These marriages can not produce any bad inconvenience, for never will savage wives seduce their husbands to live miserable in the woods, as do the peoples of New France, and the children who will be born of these marriages may be none other than Christians, nourished and raise up among the French and in their dwelling, besides that there is no appearance, in the docility of this people who is not warned of any other religion, that the married woman can not easily be solved. to follow the religion of her husband, in which, when she considers only the diversity of life, she will embrace a life of angels instead of the misery of other savage women

In the first decade, the mission was renamed in honor of Noël BRÛLARD de Sillery, a Frenchman turned Jesuit who donated his property to establish a mission to evangelize the First Nations of New France. Houses, a chapel, a mill and a bastioned enclosure are built there.

Thanks to the Sillery Register, which contains marriages and baptisms, the list of residents of 1666 and the Confession and Enumeration of 1678, we can see the acts of some 400 men, women and children who lived at the Mission.

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The Sillery Register reflects the “Pan-Indigenous” role of Sillery’s mission. Representatives of several Nations visit or stay there: in addition to Montagnais and Algonquins of the beginning, there are Attikameks, Hurons, Nipissiriens, Abenaki, Socoquis, etc., who come to learn about the faith. . The presence or stay in Sillery of great figures of the Amerindian world like Noël Negabamat / Tekouerimat, Makheabichigiou, Pigarouich and Tgondatsa, confirm the role played by Sillery in Amerindian relations. Originally intended for the Algonquins and Montagnais, Sillery then welcomed the Abenaki, whose presence is reported from 1676 to 1688. This is the densest period of the register for the frequency of baptisms. In fact, most of the Aboriginal baptisms attributed to Sillery (1,099 out of 1,716, or 64%)

At birth, the child receives a Native American name of his own; at baptism, we give him a Christian name. Amerindians have no surnames and it is exceptional that the child has the same name as his father. Some
many Amerindians have inherited French nicknames, indicated in French in the Latin text: L’Arquebuze, Le Marchant, Castillon, Compere Colas, the great Jacques, etc.

From 1687, and for non-obvious reasons, the Pan-Indigenous families, now fluent in the French language, leave Sillery and the mission is abandoned.

At the same time, the Pan-Indigenous families of the late Charles PACHIRINI, Sachem of the Makwag clan of the WESKARINI Nation (nicknamed the Little Mission), leave the Montmagny Fief near the Tapiskwan River (known as the Saint-Maurice) where these Christian First Nations settled.

Trois Rivieres

From 1690 onward, we begin to find the families from these two sites at the Seigneury of the ile Dupas-et-du-Chicot, which Charles Aubert de la Chesnaye had conceded to Louis DANDONNEAU and his brother-in-law Jacques BRISSET. The site, which consists of a network of islands upstream of Lake Nebesek (also known as Angouleme and Saint-Pierre), had never been inhabited continuously before. The archipelago was a fishing and hunting area used by many neighboring First Nations.

In 1699, both Sillery and Pachirini’s fief were removed from the “Savages” and handed over to the Jesuits. The document indicates that the “Indians” had abandoned the sites near the Jesuit lands. The document was made between Hector de CALLIÈRES and the Jesuits, without any participation or consent of any First Nations representative or their descendants.


Further research is needed to examine the impacts of this legal document on the land claims of First Nations and Metis descendants who had their rights revoked in these territories.

Sources:

Pierre de SESMAISONS, Raisons qui peuvent induire Sa Saincteté à permettre aux François qui habitent la Nouvelle-France d’espouser dez filles sauvages, quoyque non baptisées ny mesmes encorre beaucoup instruictes à la foy chrestienne [avant 1635] MNFIII

Léo-Paul HÉBERT, Évangéliser les Amérindiens : Le vieux Registre de Sillery (1638-1688) Je me souviens… Numéro 31, automne 1992 URI : id.erudit.org/iderudit/8112ac

Jean COURNOYER, La Mémoire du Québec, de 1534 à nos jours, Stanké 2001

 

Notable Chicot Métis

Je suis Chicot” said a halfbreed Voyageur with “some” Indigenous blood in his veins. His grandfather was Voyageur, as was his father.

I previously examined the place-name origins of the term “Chicot” in The Many Names of the Métis: here’s more about Chicot.

Here, I’m sharing evidence in empirical form, of Métis whose grandfathers and fathers came from were the Chicot flows:

Chicot Grandmothers and Grandfathers:

Jean-Baptiste LAGIMODIÈRE et Marie-Anne GABOURY

 

Jean-Baptiste RIEL dit l’IRLANDE et Marguerite BOUCHER

 

 

Joseph FAFARD dit DELORME et Charlotte BRISSET

fafard delorme brisset mariage

 

Jean-Baptiste BEAUGRAND dit CHAMPAGNE et Marie Amable MARION

Beaugrand Marion mariage
Source: church records – Berthierville Quebec parish

François DUBOIS et Angélique LARIVIÈRE

Dubois francois

Francois Dubois Angelique Lariviere

Chicot Mothers and Fathers:

Louis RIEL, sr.

Son and daughter of Jean-Baptiste and Marguerite Boucher, christened in Berthierville at the age of 5, along with his sister Sophie, 14 months and his 4 year-old aunt, Angèle Boucher. Noteworthy:  the priest indicated both Boucher and Riel “de cette paroisse”of this parish. He also indicated Angèle’s mother as a “savage mother” – even though Josephe dite Leblanc and Louis Boucher had married at the same church in 1811.

1822 RIEL Louis Sophie bapteme
Source: church records – Berthierville Quebec Parish, 1822

 

 

Joseph FAFARD dit DELORME et Josephte (Josette) BELISLE

FAFARD jr naissance
Source: church records – Berthierville Quebec parish, 1772

Emmanuel BEAUGRAND dit CHAMPAGNE, sr. and Marguerite LAROQUE

 

 

François DUBOIS et Madeleine LABERGE

Manitoba Census 1870 - Page 066 - St Norbert - e010985380-page-001

From the Chicot river to the Red river children:

Louis RIEL and the ministers of his provisional government. Pierre DELORME, top row second from left.

o-LOUIS-RIEL-PHOTOS
Manitoba Provisional Government

 

Emmanuel BEAUGRAND-CHAMPAGNE and Maxime DUBOIS

 

“Taken beside the Regina Court House at the time of their trial. 1. Johnny Sansregret 2. P. Paranteau 3. Pierre Gardiepui 4. Philip Garnot (Riel’s secretary) 5. Albert Monkman 6. Pierre Vandall 7. Babtiste Vandall 8. Touissaint Lucier (reputed to be the strongest man in North West) 9. Maxime Dubois 10. Timmus Short 11. Jean-Baptiste Tourond 12. Emmanuel Champagne.”

Ties between Métis communities run deep. We are vowen like the sash that represents our culture.

Tissés serré comme la Fléchée

Grateful to my own Great-grandmother, Marie-Anne Dubois for retelling this family story. Riel, Delorme, Beaugrand-Champagne were all her cousins.

 

Further reading:

Girouard, Richard A.J. (2001). Les familles Beaugrand dit Champagne (1665-2001) Volume 1 s.e.: s.e.

 

Les multiples noms des Métis: un peu plus sur l’origine du Chicot

En tant que document d’accompagnement d’un blog précédent: Iles Dupas et du Chicot , je veux partager avec vous les origines du terme parfois utilisé pour désigner les Métis.

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source: http://www.metisnation.org

Auparavant mentionné, mes aïeux Jacques BRISSET et Louis DANDONNEAU étaient les détenteurs de la seigneurie:

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Le nom Chicot a été documenté en 1860, lorsque Johann G. Kohl a décrit dans un passage de son livre: Kitch-Gami, Vie Parmi les Ojibwés Lac Supérieur dans lequel il raconte sa discussion en français avec un homme métis qu’il rencontrait lors de ses voyages:

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En l’absence d’autres informations, Kohl et beaucoup après lui déduit que Chicot signifiait sa traduction française comme “souches mi-brûlées”, et associé avec le teint des Métis qu’il rencontrait.
Chicot, comme beaucoup de noms donnés aux Peuples Autochtones tels que Nipissing, Ahousat, Yellowknives, Mississaugas etc., est en fait un nom de lieu. Chicot est une rivière qui se jette dans l’archipel entre Trois-Rivières et Montréal, entre Berthier et Sorel à l’île Dupas.

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La rivière Chicot, en amont, prend son départ entre St-Gabriel de Brandon et St-Didace court en direction Sud à travers les communautés de St-Cuthbert, Saint-Norbert et se décharge dans le Saint-Laurent à l’île Dupas. Il est l’un des nombreux cours d’eau utilisés par les Voyageurs, ayant connus sa navigation à partir de leurs famille des Premières Nations. Comme les îles et les villes voisines étaient devenues bondés de colons attirés par le poste de traite à proximité, les Métis et les Premières Nations pagayèrent leur chemin en amont et se construsirent des communautés le long de ses rives.

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Il est remarquable de souligner les noms des communautés qui ont été utilisés par les Chicots lorsqu’ils s’installèrent dans les communautés le long de la rivière Rouge dans ce qui est devenu le Manitoba: «Brandon» et «St-Norbert».

Le Centre du patrimoine au Manitoba, gardien du patrimoine francophone et métis de l’Ouest canadien a récemment souligné que la municipalité de Taché, Manitoba a récemment reconnu l’importance de Saint-Cuthbert non seulement comme lieu d’origine de sa famille mais aussi comme lieu d’origine de plusieurs familles. Cliquez ici pour plus d’informations

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Extrait:

Une Langue of à Nous: La genèse du michif, la langue crie mixte-française des Métis du Canada, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, 5 juin 1997

Autres lectures: (version française non-disponible – titres traduits à titre informatif seulement)

Kitchi-Gami: la vie parmi les Ojibway, Johann Georg Kohl, St.Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1985

One of the Family: Métis Culture in Nineteenth-Century Northwestern Saskatchewan, Brenda Macdougall, UBC Press, 1 janvier 2011

Contours d’un peuple: Metis famille, mobilité et d’ histoire, Nichole St-Onge, Carolyn Podruchny, Brenda Macdougall, University of Oklahoma Press, 18 déc 2014

Foire aux questions, Métis Nation of Ontario (cliquer pour le lien –en Anglais seulement)

The Many Names of the Métis: here’s more about Chicot

As a companion piece of a previous blog: Iles Dupas et du Chicot, I want to share with you the origins of the term sometimes used to designate Métis.

As previously mentioned, Jacques BRISSET and Louis DANDONNEAU were the holders of the title to the area:

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The name Chicot was later documented in 1860, when Johann G. Kohl wrote a passage in his book: Kitch-Gami, Life Among the Lake Superior Ojibwa in which he retells his discussion in French with a Métis man he encountered during his travels:

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With no other information, Kohl and many after him deduced that Chicot meant its literal translation from French as “half-burnt stumps”, and associated it with the complexion of the Métis he met.

Chicot, like many names given to Indigenous Peoples such as Nipissing, Ahousat, Yellowknives, Mississaugas etc., is in fact a place-name. Chicot is a river that runs into the archipelago between Trois-Rivières and Montréal, between Berthier and Sorel and known today as île Dupas.

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The Chicot travels downstream, beginning between St-Gabriel de Brandon and St-Didace and flows South through the communities of St-Cuthbert, St-Norbert to discharge into the Saint-Lawrence at île Dupas. It is one of the many rivers used by Voyageurs, who learned to navigate it from their First Nations kin. As the islands and neighbouring towns became crowded with Settlers attracted to the nearby trading post, Métis paddled their way upstream and built communities along its shores.

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It is noteworthy to highlight the names of the communities that were used by Chicots who set up communities along the Red river in what became Manitoba: “Brandon“, “St-Cuthbert” and “St-Norbert“.

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Excerpt from:

A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Métis, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, Jun 5, 1997

Further readings:

Kitchi-Gami : life among the Ojibway, Johann Georg Kohl, St.Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1985

One of the Family: Metis Culture in Nineteenth-Century Northwestern Saskatchewan, Brenda Macdougall, UBC Press, Jan 1, 2011A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Métis, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, Jun 5, 1997

Contours of a People: Metis Family, Mobility, and HistoryNichole St-Onge, Carolyn Podruchny, Brenda Macdougall, University of Oklahoma Press, Dec 18, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions, Métis Nation of Ontario  (click for link)

 

#Decolonization of #Métis Identity

What parts of a whole does a Métis make?

Is it Scrip? Treaty? Constitution? Law? Acts? What is the common thread of these terms? Well, they were all written by Settlers.

Is it Community? Well, Settler Courts have had to determine whether a community really “exists”, usually through harvesting and/or Land Claims.

Is it blood quantum? I don’t know. Although it could provide *empirical proof*, history has shown that blood quantum theory hasn’t worked in favour of Indigenous Peoples and other minorities in the past. And, well, it’s kind of offensive to me to think of having to give a dna test to prove I’m Indigenous…

Is it based on historical events? If so, will those events be selected by consensus, by politics, by Settler-based rules?

Is it going to be a concession to a majority who screams the loudest? A minority that needs to be protected?

Is it Self-Identification? I think that may be a start. But it’s obviously not everything, otherwise everybody could jump on the Indigenous wagon – and there’s a lot to unpack in that baggage bundle, right?

Many fields in Academia are presently studying the important question surrounding the definition of Who is a *real* Métis. Sociology is looking at the Social construct of Métis communities and try to define an ethnogenesis. Anthropology is looking at linguistic, sociocultural, biological, and archaeological workings of Métis communities. History is pouring over books and documents and Law is looking at precedence.

Academia needs money. From the buildings to the bodies, research demands funding, time and help. Where does the money come from? What is expected in return?

I need not, nor want any of those things. I keep it because my genealogy was given to me. It shows that many different  branches tie back to the same First Nation ancestors, showing how the community developed.

In addition to these direct ancestors, I have also documented their siblings when I could, to show that other communities evolved from close kin connections. It is interesting to read birth and marriage records to see the names of witnesses that were often neighbours that could trace their ancestry to the same First Nation ancestor!

I think that genealogy – which, to me, is the naming of those who came before us (manitoweyimiwew in Cree,

aanikoobijigan in Anishinaabe,

iethihsothó:kon in Kanien’kéha) is an act of Decolonization.

The debates are heated, often violent – and, as I have mentioned before – really reflective of the influences of Settlers.

Let’s move on. There’s lots of work to be done.