Culture

Métis Culture in Alberta

The Métis Association of Alberta was founded in 1928 to represent the interest and concerns of the Métis people of Alberta. Its primary objective was to secure an autonomous land base for the Métis people. Other objectives included obtaining improved education, health, and social and economic conditions. Joseph Dion, Jim Brady, Malcolm Norris, Felix Callihoo and Peter Tompkins provided leadership.

After intensive lobbying by Métis leaders and others, the Ewing Commission, composed of Métis leaders and representatives of the government, was to, “Make inquiry into the condition of the Half Breed population of Alberta, keeping particularly in mind the health, education, relief and welfare of such population” (Dobbin, 1981).

With autonomy being their most important goal, the Métis Association of Alberta leaders wanted a cooperative venture with the Alberta government. The Ewing Commission, however, clearly did not believe the Métis people were capable, stating, “It is perfectly true that these people are like children, helpless and irresponsible” (Dobbin, 1981). Following the recommendations of the Ewing Commission Report 1936, the Province enacted the Métis Betterment Act for the establishment of the Métis Settlements.

Cultural Team

020 Cultural Team from Left to Right: Tracee McFeeters, Director of Registry; Audrey Poitras, President of the MNA; Beatrice Demetrius, Senior Genealogist; Sara Parker, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs; Kelsey Bradburn, Children Services Manager

Who we are: The MNA cultural team is a group of three volunteers from the MNA provincial office. The Team formed in October 2011 in recognition of the importance of sharing and promoting the uniqueness, history and culture of Métis people, families and communities. By utilizing historical materials from the Genealogical Research Centre (GRC) we work to ensure historical Métis events, traditions and cultural practices are accurately recorded in standardized format.

Our Goal: The Team shares the common vision of developing Métis cultural presentations, and informational packages highlighting the uniqueness of Métis culture, history, and heroes. Presentations and informational packages will be based on a consistent format and referenced historical material from the Genealogical Research Centre.

Our Objectives: We will continually work to research and reference historical and cultural material; develop and maintain resources to be held in the GRC, and work to engage MNA Members to contribute personal stories, photos and artifacts to add to our collection.

Importantly, it is the desire of the Team to share and promote Métis cultural and heritage to external stakeholders, including federal, provincial and municipal governments, schools, and other partners.

For more information about Métis Culture, please contact:

Beatrice Demetrius, Senior Genealogist/Manager of the GRC
bdemetrius@metis.org
Tel: (780) 455-2200
Toll Free: 1-866-678-7888