The old families of my community of Lanaudière are interconnected through kinship and marriages. Last names often repeat themselves in every generation. Brothers of one family married sisters of another. People traveled together. I have no doubt that my 9th great grandfathers knew each other – the communities weren’t that distanced from one another, and they farmed, hunted, trapped and traveled together.
If you compare maps, the voyageurs that decided to move out to the Prairies even named of the communities they formed after the ones they left: St-Boniface, St-Cuthbert, St-Norbert are names of places in the Lanaudière and the adjoining Mauricie regions and are also communities in the North West Territories – present day Manitoba.
Louis’ grandmother was named Marguerite Boucher. According to the oral history of my community, Marguerite’s mother was either Ojibway or Montagnais (Innu) from the
“Upper Country” ;
It is unlikely that she was born in the North West Territories. She was christened as Marie-Josephe dit Leblanc, as her “sponsor” was listed as François Leblanc, her educator.
One generation…and it’s gone.
As most of us, we can see that the clergy and the government were quite prompt in assimilating Métis people: when Marguerite returned to Québec, she and Louis’ father Jean-Baptiste retired in Rigaud. On the 1851 Census report, there is no indication of her Indigenous ancestry:
Gérard Bouchard wrote: “most Indigenous communities (in Québec) have always been situated at some distance from Québécois homes, which wears down any notion of frequent contact. In addition, the (Catholic) Church discouraged “mixed” unions (marriages).”
If this is true – isn’t it then also true that the Voyageurs who traveled West were much more likely to meet and marry Indigenous women because their families has already done so – breaking the supposed verboten – Like cousin Louis did?
There are a few misconceptions about Métis identity currently being pandered. It becomes obvious that they are the result of poor research, a deliberate omission of kinship and oral history, or maybe an inability to spend time in the region that gave birth to the ideology of Li Gens Libres!
For those interested in genealogy, we are related through Pierre Enaud (Henault) dit Delorme, my 8th ggrandfather, Louis’ ggrandfather.