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Names like L’Hirondelle, Loyer, Callihoo (spelled a million different ways), Belcourt…those were a dead give away that someone was related to me somehow.
Others consider any community to be Métis where it was founded by métis who developed their own culture and shared a history.I want to go into the history of the Métis, and talk about and quote some John Ralston Saul (okay I actually have no desire to do that last thing) but this person just asked me a question at a party and his eyes are already drifting over the lithe form of a single neighbour. ” I am impressed with your mathematical skills, imaginary pastiche of all the people who have asked me this question since I moved to Quebec, but no.I have a hard time not addressing this question so sometimes we don’t to be linear. And here I have run up against the little ‘m’ versus big ‘M’ identity argument.(I warned some of you I’d be rehashing supposedly ‘old’ territory!) If you were to boil down common approaches to Métis identity, you generally end up with two categories, sometimes overlapping, sometimes entirely separate, sometimes with all sorts of anomalies left over and scattered about.Following this through, you could imagine emerging Métis communities, not just historical ones.
You mean, what is the definition I use for myself and thus present as the definition all others must live by?
You, my egg-nog drinking friend who thinks it’s appropriate to quiz me on my ‘background’ are using the little ‘m’ definition. This is the category I’ve encountered most in Quebec.
As a racial category, one is little ‘m’ métis when they are not fully Indian or non-aboriginal. This is not the only term that was used, we were also called half-bloods, half-breeds, michif, bois brûlé, chicot, country-born, mixed bloods, and so on.
More important, I’d argue, than just knowing the state of the categories right now…but you have to start from somewhere! If I have any academic readers, I apologise in advance for bringing up debates or issues that some academics think are settled, or should be moved past.
Whether or not I agree, the fact is that most Canadians have not been a part of these mostly internal discussions. His eyes snap back and he’s got a skeptical look on his face, “Oh,” he says, sounding disappointed and perhaps a little triumphant to have found a fake, “so you’re like, a quarter Indian?
The topic of Status was a much easier discussion, because I avoided delving into identity issues in order to give you the bare bones legislative context.