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18 Jun

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.

My understanding of my Métis identity has shifted considerably over the years.

You see, I was only about 5 years old when the term Métis was recognised officially in section 35(2) of the Constitution Act of 1982.

In another post, I talked about Pan-Indianism, and also Pan-Métisism.

What this post and those previous two have in common, is that they are about identity.

Oh come on, are identity issues that easily navigated, even on an individual level?

On one extreme of little ‘m’ métis identity, one must actually be half First Nations and half not.

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?

I point this out because although the term Métis predates that official recognition, it was not necessarily the most common term in use.

Often we were referred to in the Prairies as the Road Allowance People.