Killing ‘Em Softly

THE MÉTIS aren’t indigenous people. The Supreme Court’s recognition of their indigenous status in the Daniels decision is the worst attack against indigenous people and abuse of taxpayers by the Canadian government since the Indian Act and residential schools. Keep reading to find out why.

People and Recognition

People and Flag

Métis are members of the historic Métis Nation, which formed around the Red River area of what became the province of Manitoba. The Métis Nation was French-speaking. The term Métis is French for ‘hybrid.’ It was first used in New France (Quebec) and exclusively applied to French-speaking hybrids, whereas English-speaking hybrids were separately classified as Mixed Bloods. Indigenous peoples (mostly Cree) called them “half-breeds.”

Métis are the children of French settlers, usually coureurs des bois (fur traders), who took indigenous (mostly Cree) women as common law country wives during winters away from the eastern cities they inhabited (often with another wife). Métis people specialized in fur trapping and trading. Some served as interpreters, as some of them were fluent in both indigenous and European languages.

Since the Métis are neither purely European nor indigenous peoples, they tended to be discriminated by both sides. Europeans saw them as a tool to assimilate Indians, whereas indigenous peoples saw them as a threat to their identity.

As a result, the Métis married within their own group and developed their own separate community, called the Métis Nation or Bois-Brûlés (burnt wood). Bois-Brûlés is a French translation of an Ojibwe expression for “burnt woodsmen,” since the Métis were neither White nor Red, but a colour in between like burnt wood. The Métis adopted this name and European settlers called them by the same.

The Métis Nation also developed cultural elements, which are listed on the Métis Nation of Alberta website. These include the Michif dialect (a mixture of French and Cree), which less than 200 people speak today (see video). Other elements include the ‘Métis sash’ and large-wheeled cart.

It is noteworthy that many cultural icons which are touted as being distinctively Métis, like the last two, are not. Carts with large wheels, for example, were a commonplace around Red River in the 19th c., because of the rough terrain. (It’s not as if only Métis people drove them and were recognized by them.) As for the sash or ceinture fléchée, it is a traditional Quebec symbol that the bonhomme carnaval (who is not Métis) wears. It goes without saying that indigenous peoples, whose traditions predate colonization, didn’t play fiddle and jig in pre-colonial times.

In addition to the aforementioned items, the Métis created their own flag, which they first used in the Pemmican War of 1812. They also later adopted a national anthem.

The Métis flag

Image result for metis flag

451,795 people in Canada identified with the Métis Nation in 2011, which increased to 587,545 in 2016. Yet, according to an 1870 census only 11,963 people inhabited the Red River region and were grouped as follows:

    • 558 Indians (First Nations)
    • 5,757 Métis
    • 4,083 English-speaking Mixed Bloods and
    • 1,565 people of predominately European, Canadian or American background

These numbers imply that the Métis are either the most fertile people in history or a large number of them are impostors. Interestingly, the number of Métis in Canada in 2011 was almost three times that of First Nations people during the same year (see statistics). Their number in 2016 is more than a third of ‘aboriginal people.’ Smaller communities that identify as Métis also exist in the US.

Official Recognition: The Powley and Daniels Decisions

In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in R v Powley, [2003] 2 SCR 207 that Métis are “aboriginal people” in the meaning of the Constitution Act, 1982. The decision recognizes Métis people as indigenous people who are distinct from First Nations and Inuit peoples.

Métis therefore have “aboriginal rights” under s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The decision recognizes the identity and history of the Métis people in Ontario, which had been debated hitherto. The decision defines a Métis person according to the Métis National Council definition in 2002. Namely, a Métis is a person who:

    • self-identifies as Métis,
    • is distinct from other indigenous peoples,
    • is of historic Métis Nation ancestry and
    • is accepted by the Métis Nation with continuity to the historic Métis community.

In 2016, the Supreme Court in Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), [2016] 1 SCR 99 ruled that Métis and non-status Indians are “Indians” for the purpose of s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867. Issues pertaining to Métis peoples thus fall under federal jurisdiction and it is the federal government’s responsibility to protect the rights of Métis peoples.

So, far the only Métis group the Supreme Court has officially recognized is the Red River Métis Nation.

Critique of the Powley and Daniels Decisions

The decision to group Métis with First Nations and Inuits in a single category of “Indians” under s. 91(24) Constitution Act, 1867 is analogous to the White supremacist “one-drop rule” in the US during the 20th c. The rule states that any Sub-Saharan ancestry qualifies a person as Black. Similarly, the Supreme Court ruled that any indigenous ancestry qualifies a person as indigenous. This was the opinion of the racist government of Canada in the 19th c., which grouped all “Indians” and “Mixed Bloods” in a single category, as the Supreme Court does in Daniels:

There is no need to delineate which mixed‑ancestry communities are Métis and which are non‑status Indians. They are all “Indians” under s. 91(24) by virtue of the fact that they are all Aboriginal peoples. “Indians” has long been used as a general term referring to all Indigenous peoples, including mixed‑ancestry communities like the Métis. Before and after Confederation, the government frequently classified Aboriginal peoples with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage as Indians. Historically, the purpose of s. 91(24) in relation to the broader goals of Confederation also indicates that since 1867, “Indians” meant all Aboriginal peoples, including Métis.

The consequence of this categorization is that White people with indigenous ancestry, like many members of the Métis Nation (and most Canadians), can claim Indian status despite not being recognized as indigenous people by actual indigenous peoples. The one-drop rule against ‘Indian’ blood (as opposed to European blood) works to assimilate ‘Indians’ the other way (into European society), which is why it was the favoured interpretation of the racist 19th c. government.

It is not historically, scientifically or legally accurate to call Métis people indigenous, since they only appeared when settlers arrived, mostly as a result of illegal relationships under Canadian and indigenous laws, whence their being called Mixed Bloods by Europeans and “half-breeds” by the Cree. In fact, the indigenous minority–who seek to preserve their race, autonomy and possessions–are most opposed to métissage, which is most favourable to the majority of European settlers who seek to supplant and disinherit them. Calling the Métis “Indians,” therefore, not only foists them on the indigenous community but makes them compete for their resources.

The only just (and logical) solution is to recognize Métis ‘nations’ as a separate category of people who are not indigenous and have the same political rights as any other nationalist organization. Nationalist organizations should not compete with indigenous peoples but the Canadian government.

Territory

The historical ‘homeland’ of the Red River Métis Nation ranges from the north area of Red River, which they used to farm, to northwestern Ontario across the prairies to the west.

The Red River watershed in Canada and the US

Members of the Métis Nation today claim the following area as their ‘historical’ homeland, which obviously doesn’t correspond to the above description.

Map showing Métis homeland boundaries

Image result for metis people ontario
Legal Organization

Métis Bill of Rights

The Métis provisional government, presided by Riel, proposed the following Bill of Rights for the Métis people in order for Rupert’s Land to join the Canadian confederation. The meeting took place at Fort Garry on December 1, 1869:

    • that the people have the right to elect their own legislature
    • that the legislature have the power to pass all laws local to the Territory over the veto of the Executive by a two-thirds vote
    • that no act of the Dominion Parliament (local to the Territory) be binding on the people until sanctioned by the Legislature of the Territory
    • that all Sheriffs, Magistrates, Constables, School Commissioners, etc., be elected by the people
    • a free Homestead and Preemption Land law
    • that a portion of the public lands be appropriated to the benefit of schools, the building of bridges, roads and public buildings
    • that it be guaranteed to connect Winnipeg by rail with the nearest line of railroad, within a term of five years; the land grant to be subject to the Local Legislature
    • that for the term of four years all military, civil and municipal expenses be paid out of the Dominion funds
    • that the Military be composed of the inhabitants now existing in the Territory
    • that the English and French languages be common in the legislature and courts and that all public documents and acts of the legislature be published in both languages
    • that the Judge of the Supreme Court speak the English and French languages
    • that treaties be concluded and ratified between the Dominion Government and the several tribes of Indians in the Territory to ensure peace on the frontier
    • that we have a fair and full representation in the Canadian Parliament
    • that all privileges, customs and usage existing at the time of the transfer be respected

Note the size of Rupert’s Land and that the original population of Métis according to a census in 1870 was 5,757.

Rupert’s Land

Provisional Government Laws

The provisional government under Louis Riel (1869-1875) enacted laws in the Red River area. Some of these laws codified existing Métis customs while others were new. These laws include the following (Borrows 2009, p. 56):

    • contracts (e.g., agreements made on Sunday were null and void)
    • taxation of households to raise funds for the government
    • penal law (re horse stealing, dishonouring girls and lighting fires on the prairie in midsummer)
    • buffalo hunting (old laws forbidding anyone from hunting before the decreed time and new laws forbidding anyone from leaving behind unused buffalo carcasses)

The Métis had developed buffalo hunting laws in 1840, some of which were codified as follows (Borrows 2009, p. 53):

    • No buffalo to be run on the Sabbath-Day.
    • No party to fork off, lag behind, or go before, without permission.
    • No person or party to run buffalo before the general order.
    • Every captain with his men, in turn, to patrol the camp, and keep guard.
    • For the first trespass against these laws, the offender to have his saddle and bridle cut up.
    • For the second offence, the coat to be taken off the offender’s back, and be cut up.
    • For the third offence, the offender to be flogged.
    • Any person convicted of theft, even to the value of a sinew, to be brought to the middle of the camp, and the crier to call out his or her name three times, adding the word “Thief”, at each time.

Like the Métis themselves, many of these laws are a mixture of European and local customs, some of which are loosely based on the Bible, that have little to nothing to do with pre-colonial indigenous laws, languages or traditions.

Modern Organizations

Various Métis groups have formed powerful political organizations and lobbies with strong legal and political representation, unlike most indigenous communities which are poorly represented in law and politics.

The principal Métis organization, the Métis National Council (MNC), includes approximately 350,000 members (Welch 2016) compared to an original Métis population of 5,757 people according to an 1870 census. The MNC has various provincial affiliates including the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO). The Manitoba Metis Federation Inc. (MMF) is also officially recognized. It claims to be a government with a president. The MMF includes approximately 35,000 members and is associated with the historic Red River Métis Nation. Other prominent groups include the Eastern Woodland Métis Nation in Nova Scotia, which includes approximately 70,000 members, although it is not officially recognized.

History and Philosophy

Louis Riel, 1844-1885

Louis Riel (d. 1885) is regarded as the father of the Métis Nation and the province of Manitoba. Riel was a fervently (some might say eccentrically) religious (Catholic) Métis lawyer, who spoke both English and French. Riel led the Métis resistance against the Dominion of Canada during the North-West Rebellions of 1870 and 1885. Around 1869, the federal government purchased Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company without consulting any of its indigenous or Métis inhabitants. (Rupert’s Land includes the present-day prairie provinces plus northern Ontario and Québec and parts of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.)

Rupert’s Land

From October 1869 until May 1870, Riel led the Red River Resistance and formed a provisional government of the region he presided. During his presidency he had Thomas Scott–an Anglophone protestant and hater of Francophone Catholics–executed for threatening to murder him, after the latter was tried in a military tribunal. This sparked outrage among Anglophones in Ontario and prompted the federal government to send troops, known as the Red River Expedition, to quash the rebellion. Riel subsequently fled to the United States, as a bounty of $5,000 was placed on his capture dead or alive.

Over the next decade, Riel started and family and only returned to Canada for brief visits. In 1884, he returned to Red River and the cause of the Métis, who were still concerned about their insecure title to their land. European farmers in the region were also unhappy with low wheat prices, high freight rates and tariffs that inflated the price of machinery, as well as the Canadian Pacific Railway’s bypassing their settlements by hundreds of kilometres. Riel and William Henry Jackson therefore drafted a final petition outlining the farmers’ and Métis’ grievances to the federal government in December. However, they did not receive the desired response, so Riel took more drastic measures.

The federal government responded in part to Riel’s petitions with the Manitoba Act, 1870, which created the province of Manitoba–the fifth to join the confederation. The Act included provisions:

    • for bilingual public and educational institutions (s. 22)
    • to deal with the Métis’ indigenous rights upon extinguishment of their “Indian” title to land (ss. 31 and 32)
    • constitutional guarantees for the French language and publicly funded Roman Catholic schools

On 11 February 1885, the federal government directly responded to the petition by proposing to take a census of the North-West Territories and form a commission to investigate grievances. Some of the Métis saw this as a mere delaying tactic and favoured taking up arms in order to force the federal government to negotiate. Riel became the leader of this faction, which he led to capture Batoche, expecting Canadian troops would not arrive until months later, as was the case in the 1870 rebellion. However, he grossly underestimated the time it would take the troops to arrive using the Canadian Pacific Railway. The troops arrived in two weeks, which led to the Battle of Batoche from May 9 to 12, 1885. Riel lost the battle and surrendered on the 15th. He was tried for high treason in August that year and found guilty and hung on November 16.

Riel’s lawyers proposed he plead insane, but Riel refused lest this should reflect on the merit of his cause. Riel spoke in his own defence, pleading that the 1870 rebellion began with a police attack on the Métis, who only defended themselves. Riel concluded by saying the Métis peacefully petitioned the federal government, which sent the police and army against them.

The jury, which consisted of six Anglophone protestants, found Riel guilty of treason but asked for clemency. The stipendiary magistrate, Lieutenant-Colonel Hugh Richardson, who was appointed by the federal government to preside over the trial, decided to hang Riel nonetheless. Riel was mainly executed for the execution of Thomas Scott during the Red River Resistance (1870). As one of the jurors, Edwin Brooks, said years afterwards: “We tried Louis Riel for treason but he was hanged for the murder of Thomas Scott.”

The execution of Riel sparked controversy across Canada. French Canadians in Quebec sympathized with Riel, whom they saw as representing the interest of Francophone Catholics in the west. Anglophone protestants in Ontario, on the other hand, including then-premier Sir John A. Macdonald, wanted Riel executed. When asked about clemency for Riel, he said: “He shall hang though every dog in Québec bark in his favour.”

English and French Canadians were generally uninterested in the Métis’ interests or reasons for the resistance.

The History of Louis Riel

The Many Faces of Louis Riel

Andrew Lest (2010, p. 65) observes that Louis Riel has been variously portrayed by critics or supporters as:

    • a traitor of English Canada
    • a French-Canadian religious acolyte
    • a Métis saviour
    • a spiritual shaman
    • an educated leader
    • a father of Confederation
    • a crazy fool

The facts bear out that Riel was a charismatic leader with eccentric religious views who promoted a Métis, Francophone and Catholic interest in the west. His political opponents clearly didn’t care about any of these interests. If Thomas Scott was executed according to due process and law (the burden lying on Riel to prove this), Riel should not have been executed. The federal government should have negotiated with him as a legitimate representative of his followers.

It’s also clear that the Métis under Riel were not interested in promoting indigenous culture, but were rather interested in promoting their own version of French Catholic culture. It was not until Canada introduced benefits for indigenous people that the Métis movement waxed ‘indigenous.’

Métissage

Métissage, which is basically the postmodern philosophy of the Métis, is based on the idea that mixing creates unity, as the symbol of the Métis flag represents. The theory goes that if two parties mix, the third party will unite them, rather than divide them and create a third party. The scientifically correct theory is the latter, since a mule is neither an ass nor a horse. Similarly, the result of mixing French and German culture (e.g., language) is not ‘both’ since there is no such thing. This is even more true if the cultures are not similar (e.g., if the languages are not mutually intelligible).

Since the 20th c., the term Métis has been used in various ways. From the 1920s to 60s the term metisaje was used in some Latin American countries to refer to “cultural hybridity,” which some sociologists use as a conceptual lens to study cultures. The concept of Creolité or mixed Black and White culture bears some similarity to Métis identity, in contrast to the Négritude or Black culture movement.

The history and concept of hybridization goes much further back than the 20th c. The generally accepted view in pretty much all pre-modern societies is that hybrids between different established races or cultures represent a new or diluted race or culture. This is the case, for example, in the old common law–for instance, the Indian Act, which used to distinguish between half-bloods and quarter bloods, implying a dilution of blood or culture through miscegenation, which is technically accurate.

The same theory is found in biblical law. For instance, Arabs distinguish themselves from muwalladun (Muladis), which are basically mixed Arabs beyond recognition or non-Arabs who pretend to be Arabs. Jews, on the other hand, distinguish between Ashkenazis, Sephards and Mizrahis who mixed with different populations. This has ‘watered down’ the Jews’ original characteristics and caused them to acquire many of those of the people with whom they mixed. Many of these characteristics are permanent and irreversible (see, e.g. Ezra 10:2 and Malachi 2:11). There is a clear point at which ‘Jews’ cannot claim to be legitimate ‘children of Israel’ or inherit from him without denying the identity of his actual children and disinheriting them, which is a crime.

The Métis Nation and the Supreme Court through the Daniels decision align themselves with the theory of nationhood as choice and self-identification, which are subjective, rather than blood and inheritance, which are facts. By doing this, they are committing an open crime against indigenous peoples.

Moreover, it’s not as if blood and inheritance entirely precludes choice. Métis (unless they are raped) choose to make children outside of the group, often against its laws or norms. On the other hand, they want to ‘legally’ inherit from it.

While there is no ‘pure’ race or culture, there are such things as established and mutually compatible cultures that don’t interfere with each other’s identity or values by mixing. For instance, many Métis could be accepted as members of indigenous or European society. The problem, in the simplest terms, is with White people pretending to be ‘Indians.’

Legitimacy

Indigenous People?

The Métis are different from indigenous peoples in at least three critical aspects.

First of all, the Métis did not exist before the arrival of European settlers. As such, they are not indigenous peoples. Moreover, they exist because of European settlers, making them creatures of settlement.

Second, the historic Red River Métis Nation promotes the French language and Roman Catholicism, not indigenous peoples, languages or interests. In fact, the interests of the Métis, and even their language and religion, are intrinsically opposed to indigenous peoples’. For instance, the Métis’ hunting, harvesting and title claims inherently derogate, compete or conflict with indigenous peoples’. (Notice that Métis’ claimed homeland, shown below, encroaches on much of the territory of other indigenous peoples.) Moreover, French and Catholic culture (or English and protestant culture, for that matter) don’t need saving and are the very cultures that threaten to destroy indigenous peoples and cultures.

Put simply, the mixing up of a people or culture is no less a threat to it than cultures that oppose it.

Map showing Métis homeland boundaries

Image result for metis people ontario

Finally, the Métis are not considered to be the legitimate heirs of indigenous peoples or European settlers. As such, they have no hereditary right to title from either side. (Indigenous people can only claim a right to indigenous title if the indigenous person who holds the title legally transfers it to the claimant, usually by way of inheritance.)

In short, the Métis Nation is no different than any other nationalist political organization that opposes the federal government. (Whether they oppose it before or after confederacy is of no consequence to their claim to nationhood and accompanying rights.) If a Métis Nation can exist in Red River in the 19th c., a Métis Nation can exist anywhere else at any other time and can define its members as it wishes. This does not entitle it to special rights, especially:

    • Hereditary title rights. This is because indigenous peoples don’t generally consider Métis to be their legitimate heirs. If the Métis can claim indigenous title solely based on their indigenous ancestry they could just as well claim European title solely based on their European ancestry. Both claims are illegal.
    • Taxes paid by settlers to indigenous peoples to repair any harm done or perpetuated by their settlement. This is because Métis are not indigenous people, but creatures of settlement. They cannot, therefore, be beneficiaries of settlement, especially if it’s illegitimate.

Censuses show that between 2006 and 2016, after the Powley and Daniels decisions recognized Métis identity and rights, the number of people who identify as Métis in Nova Scotia nearly doubled (see CBC article). It’s clear what these mushrooming Métis groups want: the same rights as indigenous peoples to self-government, title, hunt, tax breaks and subsidized postsecondary education (see interview at the bottom). The Métis Nation Protocol signed by the Government of Canada and the Métis National Council in 2008 is a testament to this.

Who are the Métis?

It bears recalling why the Red River Métis Nation formed as a separate group in the first place, namely because neither indigenous peoples nor Europeans recognized them as members of their groups. As a result, Métis can’t petition for rights from either group without challenging their interests. While it makes sense for the Métis to form an organization to advocate for their rights, it doesn’t make sense for them to claim any rights based on their European or indigenous ancestry unless they properly belong to one community or the other. Otherwise, the Métis must be a separate third party organization.

The alternative, in practice, means that when the political climate is favourable to the Métis, they can claim the ‘rights’ of Métis people. However, when the political climate is unfavourable to them, they can claim the rights of indigenous peoples or Europeans (whichever is more convenient). An example is the father of Métis advocate Kelly Campagnola (see interview below), who was a famous hockey player. He was identified and self-identified as a European at a time when there was prejudice against Métis people. Now that prejudices have waned and there are potential benefits on the horizon, Kelly conveniently identifies as Métis. This is comparable to Aesop’s fable of The Bat, the Birds and the Beasts in the following section.

Being Métis on The Agenda with Steve Paikin – May 2, 2016

The Bat, the Birds and the Beasts

A GREAT conflict was about to come off between the Birds and the Beasts. When the two armies were collected together the Bat hesitated which to join. The Birds that passed his perch said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Beast.” Later on, some Beasts who were passing underneath him looked up and said: “Come with us”; but he said: “I am a Bird.” Luckily at the last moment peace was made, and no battle took place, so the Bat came to the Birds and wished to join in the rejoicings, but they all turned against him and he had to fly away. He then went to the Beasts, but soon had to beat a retreat, or else they would have torn him to pieces. “Ah,” said the Bat, “I see now,

HE THAT IS NEITHER ONE THING NOR THE OTHER HAS NO FRIENDS.”

Métis people, like the bat in Aesop’s fable, can ‘double dip’ by taking advantage of both White and indigenous privileges as they see convenient. This is similar to Rachel Dolezal in the United States, who says she is Black because she identifies as Black and all people descend from Blacks. Dolezal has been critiqued in many respects. However, Blacks’ main criticism against her is that it is the ultimate unjust privilege that she can switch from White to Black whenever it’s convenient, whereas Black people are stuck with this identity because of their appearance, which they can’t change.

Rachel Dolezal tells her side of the story

A Métis person like Kelly Campagnola is comparable to Dolezal. Like Dolezal, Kelly is White. She has an English first name and a Spanish surname and speaks only English according to her professional webpage (accessed May 21, 2019). Yet, she demands official recognition plus indigenous rights, sponsored by taxpayers, in order to rectify wrongs that were obviously never done to her or restore rights that were obviously never taken from her.

Another example of particular note is Jean Teillet, the great-grandniece of Louis Riel, who looks nothing like an ‘Indian’ and enjoys the same privileges as any ‘White’ person and more, being the president of the Indigenous Bar Association:

Jean Teillet, the great-grandniece of Louis Riel

Image result for jean teillet riel

By pretending to be indigenous, people who obviously aren’t indigenous, like Kelly Campagnola and Jean Teillet, commit cultural appropriation at least and cultural genocide at most. Unlike Rachel Dolezal’s pretension to be Black, being indigenous is something a person obviously is, not something they pretend (i.e., claim or try) to be.

“Being Black isn’t what I’m trying to be, it’s what I am.”

The Unconstitutional Recognition of Métis as Aboriginal Peoples

S. 25 of the Charter forbids derogation from the rights of indigenous people, which is exactly what the Métis ask for when they ask to be recognized as aboriginal peoples with the same rights. As mentioned before, the Métis are not indigenous peoples, since they are creatures of settlement. The inclusion of Métis people as “Indians” in the Constitution means their interests will compete with those of actual ‘Indians’ when they should be competing with the Government of Canada, as a separate nation.

Grouping ‘Indians’ together with Whites not only disinherits ‘Indians’ but also increases their confusion and assimilation. Moreover, the decision to group them together is forced upon them by members of a White majority that already threatens to assimilate them. (Less than 3 percent of the Canadian population are ‘Indians.’) In the words of ‘some old White guy’ in the montage that follows:

We’re the true Canadians, we really are. The First Nations are afraid to do too much for the Métis. We’re one of the aboriginal peoples of Canada. You have to recognize us. Now, after the Daniels case, they don’t have an option.

Voices of the Métis in BC

These words are also the chorus of the Métis national anthem:

We are proud to be Métis, watch our Nation rise again. Never more forgotten people, we’re the true Canadian.

The Supreme Court in the Daniels decision was entirely White. Many leaders, members and advocates of the Métis Nation are also White. Justice Abella, for example, who wrote the Daniels decision, is a European and a Métis who pretends to be an ‘indigenous’ Semite, when she is clearly not. She also supports the illegal settlement of Palestine by the same. Of course, the easy way around this for Métis is to pretend to be indigenous–not settlers–by distancing themselves from their European roots when it’s convenient, despite the obvious fact they are predominantly creatures of illegitimate settlements and relationships (under both European and indigenous laws). While the government owes the Métis recognition and rights as a people apart, by claiming indigenous status and rights the Métis seek to deny the identity of and disinherit indigenous people.

Although geographically inaccurate, the appellation of ‘Indians’ is ethnically accurate, since they look like Indians. It is precisely this ‘look’  that carries the critical genes, especially for identities that predate DNA testing. Self-loving ‘Indians’ seek to preserve this look and ‘Indian’-haters seek to eliminate it.

It should come as no surprise in this context that some members of eastern Métis organizations were formerly White supremacists who opposed indigenous treaty rights (see CBC article).

Whereas residential schools sought to kill the ‘Indian’ within, the decision by White people to include White people in the category of ‘Indians’ seeks to kill (or will have the effect of killing) the ‘Indian’ without.

References

Æsop, Fables (USA: The Harvard Classics, 1909–14 [6th c. BCE]), online: <https://www.bartleby.com/17/1/24.html>.

Andrew Lesk, “Redrawing Nationalism: Chester Brown’s Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography” (2010) 1:1 Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 63-81.

Brock Vaughan, “Book Review: Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography – Representing Canadian History through Graphic Art” (2017) 2:1 Bridges: An Undergraduate Journal of Contemporary Connections 6, online: <http://scholars.wlu.ca/bridges_contemporary_connections/
vol2/iss1/6>

“Louis Riel (1844-1885): Biography” in Virtual Museum, online: <http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/sgc-cms/expositions-exhibitions/batoche/docs/proof_en_riel_bio.pdf>.

“Louis Riel” in Wikipedia (9 April 2019), online: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Riel#Return_of_Riel>.

“Manitoba Joins Confederation” in Canada History Project, online: <http://www.canadahistoryproject.ca/1870/index.html>.

Mary Agnes Welch, “Métis National Council” in The Canadian Encyclopedia (6 July 2016), online: <https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/metis-national-council>.

“Métis” in Wikipedia (24 April 2019), online: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%A9tis>.