St. Paul Des Metis


i would like to thank Qallunette for the opportunity to share this story.

St Paul Des Metis was created in 1896 by the Catholic church for the Metis and lasted for 13 years before it was opened up to a predominately French population.

After the 1885 rebellion, the Metis were looked upon unfavourably and were struggling to find their niche in the only world that they had ever known. The church wanted to colonize the Metis, tried to make them farmers, the metis had land there but it seems that they did not have any rewards that the land had to offer and the church took from the metis.

There was a large boarding school there, i can only assume that it had much the same feel as a residential school. 

This school did not have a long life, it was burned down by a few of the student in 1905s. My dad said once that his cousin was involved in the burning with a few other young men, dad said that many could not continue to let their sisters, aunts, nieces nephews and friends continue to be abused and so they took things into their own hands. My Grandparents both were raised at St. Paul des Metis.

The Metis did not have any say into their destiny here, that was in the hands of the church. 

The Metis there had come from all over and some were Indians that were “excused from treaty” after the rebellion.

The colony was funded by “wealthy patrons” of Father Lacombe. One can only speculate as to the agenda of these donors and their influence on the oblates.

In 1909 the lands were opened up to settlers without the Metis ever being informed and their lands and all the work that they had done was lost to the Settlers.

Many of the Metis rambled around for the next 25 years and many made the Fishing Lake area home in the late 1930s with the province instituting the Metis Betterment Act and with the creation of the l’association des Metis d’Alberta et des Territoires du Nord-ouest, which is the original incarnation of the Metis Nation of Alberta. 

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