Telling “Forgotten” Métis Histories through Family, Community, and Individuals

Telling “Forgotten” Métis Histories through Family, Community, and Individuals [Book Review]

H-Net Reviews
October 2009

Camie Augustus
University of Saskatchewan

David McNab, Ute Lischke, eds. The Long Journey of a Forgotten People: Métis Identities and Family Histories. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007. viii + 386 pp. (paper), ISBN 978-0-88920-523-9.

“We are still here.” This opening line from The Long Journey of a Forgotten People is fitting for a collection of essays on Métis identity. Although they are, as the editors tell us, “no longer Canada’s forgotten people,” a pre-1980s historiographical tradition in Canada had, indeed, forgotten them by confining them to a secondary role in Canada’s national story. If we were to take our cue from this historiography, the Métis did not survive very long into the twentieth century, and had no history outside the political and economic contributions they made to Canada’s founding—particularly through their involvement in the fur trade and in the creation of Manitoba. The Riel-centrism which subsequently dominated in the literature, at least up to the 1980s, only confirmed the illusion that Métis history was one-dimensional and event-based. Consequently, so many of the stories, histories, and cultural practices of the Métis remained (and still remain) relatively unknown in academic literature. However, more recent changes in both focus and methodology have resulted in a new approach to Métis history. The Long Journey of a Forgotten People, edited by Ute Lischke and David T. McNab, contributes to this growing field with a volume of essays that shifts the perspective from the national and political to the local and cultural by creating history through kinship, genealogy, and biography…

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , , , ,