The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Métis in North America

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Books, Canada, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-01-09 02:49Z by Steven

The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Métis in North America

University of Manitoba Press
October 1985
306 pages
30 b&w illustrations, notes, index
Paper ISBN: 9780887556173

Edited by

Jacqueline Peterson, Professor Emerita of History
Washington State University

Jennifer S. H. Brown, Professor Emerita of History
University of Winnipeg

The New Peoples is the first major work to explore in a North American context the dimensions and meanings of a process fundamental to the European invasion and colonization of the western hemisphere: the intermingling of European and Native American peoples. This book is not about racial mixture, however, but rather about ethnogenesis—about how new peoples, new ethnicities, and new nationalities come into being.

Most of the contributors to this volume were participants at the first international Conference on the Métis in North America, hosted by the Newberry Library in Chicago. The purpose of that conference, and the collection that has grown out of it, has been to examine from a regionally comparative and multi-disciplinary vantage point several questions that lie at the heart of métis studies: What are the origins of the métis people? What economic, political, and/or cultural forces prompted the métis to coalesce as a self-conscious ethnic or national group? Why have some individuals and populations of mixed Indian and white ancestry identified themselves as white or Indian rather than as métis? What are the cultural expressions of métis identity? What does it mean to be métis today?

In the opening section of the book, John Elgin Foster, Olive P. Dickason, and Jacqueline Peterson grapple with the chronologies and locations of the emergent métis peoples in the first centuries after contact. In the second section, essays by John Long on the James Bay “halfbreed,” Trudy Nicks and Kenneth Morgan on an indigenous métis community at Grande Cache, Alberta, Verne Dusenberry on the landless Chippewa of Montana, and Irene Spry on the métis and mixed-bloods of Ruperts Land reveal the difficulties in generalizing about métis groups, some of whom have only recently begun to apply that label to themselves. Sylvia Van Kirk, R. David Edmunds, and Jennifer S. H. Brown explore the other side of métis genesis: the individuals and groups who never coalesced into lasting métis communities. The foreword is by Marcel Giraud and the afterword by Robert K. Thomas. First published in the mid-1980s, The New Peoples is considered a classic in the field of métis studies.

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