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.