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Origin of Indigenous People (Metis Nation) in Canada

Introduction

The concept of origin refers to the point or place where something arises from. In this situation, it refers to the origin of a group of people known as the Metis. Metis is a French term for mixed-blood and language. The term indigenous refers to the first inhabitants of a county. In Canada, it consists of the Metis (Aboriginal people) who came into existence due to the intermarriage between the French and Scottish men and Aboriginal women in the 1700s.

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Correspondingly, they were the children of European fishermen and their native wives. For one to be a Metis citizen, they must have been registered members by the government. This paper critically analyses the birth of Metis in Canada, their culture, self-governance, intersection between them and the environment, mental health status, access to health and social services, language, and social relationship with other people. Their relevance to modern society is also seen.

They are divided into three distinct groups Inuit, First Nations, and Metis. They first appeared in Ontario around Eastern Canada and the Great Lakes. They had a unique cultural setup that distinguished them from others. The birth of the first-generation Metis people can be traced back to the 1600s in eastern Canada. They are also known as forest runners and known for their skill in hunting. The primary purpose was to get food to feed on and also provide for their babies. This gives insight into how one can survive in the current world where the lazy are known to suffer. Canada’s population comprises many Metis, especially the young people aged 30 years and below. They used languages such as Cree, American English, and Canadian French to interact among themselves. The first settlement was along the trade routes of Red River, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in Canadian Prairie Provinces. Trading in fur was part of their daily life as it was seen as a source of income.

Culture

A society must comprise a well-organized system that gives it direction. It is a glue that holds the society firm and an identity which is valued. The Metis people had a unique social, cultural and economic organization. They grew up following the role models who were the older adults like grandfathers, grandmothers, and ancestors. They learned from foretold stories and good myths, which were very educative. The right to marriage was highly valued and respected since it gave rise to kinship.

The ancestors’ marriage was cross-cultured between the Indian and the white; however, the Metis practiced intermarriage. The concept of marriage spans across generations and its role in procreation, child-rearing, and above all, it gives a sense of belonging. Parents get a chance to express their love to their children and teach them future roles. Hunting was also practiced, and they were known to be the best, especially in running the buffalo. They could set hunting trips taking many weeks and even months.

Their interaction was very close, we’re a family unit was highly valued. The parents worked hard to ensure they sustained their members. Any vulnerable person could depend on family for essential needs, and the poor were associated with lacking relatives. The culture was sacred, and everybody must adhere to its utterances, failure to which one could be regarded as a misfit. When a catastrophe such as death occurred, people could come together and help each other. A grave could be dug with the help of close relatives. Being on good terms with family enables one to seek help when in need hence leading a self-fulfilling life. Knowledge about culture is precious through all generations, where some beliefs are connected to present-day events. It has cooperated into the school syllabus where learners from various backgrounds interact and know new things.

Self-governance

Leaders ensured peace and unity for a better coexistence of persons. There is liberty for the inhabitants of a place to choose how they are led. Angela Lee Bondeau’s “The Métis Nation of Saskatchewan: “Building Towards Self-Governance,” argues that it is impossible to rule citizens if you lack the knowledge of who you propose to lead. It calls upon the role of wisdom in governance and obeying rules despite the position. The Metis governance aimed at establishing acceptable leadership methods which were fair to all. This included eliminating racism and corruption practices that disrupted the serenity of the Metis. This ensured that citizens lived a life of freedom and not slavery. Leadership under colonialism was very brutal for the Metis people, and they were oppressed in all aspects of life. They were denied fundamental rights such as education, land, and healthcare. Taking authority to an individual level where few people make decisions is more of a dictatorship.

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The governance structure comprises locals, who are elected board of presidents, vice president secretary, and treasurer and meeting once a month (Blondeau 2018). Upon disagreement between parties, justice was restored through peaceful negotiations without causing any harm. The constitution allows the Metis locals to create their constitutions which should not go against the major one. They are also responsible for protecting their community’s land. The locals are located in one of the twelve provincial regions. A regional councils head each of them, and the chairperson is an elected member, and these leaders represent the provincial Metis council. According to the constitution, the Metis Nation Legislative assembly must hold a meeting twice a year (Bloundeau 2018). Metis people were able to defend their culture and other social practices through this. Leadership skills are essential in solving personal disputes, even at a personal level. This creates a society with organized individuals who can make informed decisions as adults.

Intersection Between the Metis and the Environment

The environment is the platform where humans interact in various events of life. Some people regard it as being sacred and holy where sacrifices are offered. The relationship between indigenous history and the environment is still developing. Even before history existed, the environment was present, but they are dependent. The natural resources of a country are critical aspects of economic and political development. They are sources of raw materials to industries that, upon trading, earn income used in development.

The Metis preferred living in rural areas to urban centers as they felt connected to their ancestors. They developed an adaptive measure that enabled them live under any condition.

Knowing the environment is helpful since it gives us a framework on how we can preserve it. The availability of features such as forest covers and their importance in climate preservation. Preservation of trees and their importance in the provision of trees, acting as windbreakers and preventing soil erosion. Pollution by cutting trees, dumping polythene papers to the ground, and channeling waste products to rivers should be avoided. The lakes are habitats for fish that humans consume; therefore, harming them is directly related to the consumers.

Access to Health Services and Women’s Identity

Good health comprises the harmonious coordination of the mind, body, and soul. Just like any being, the Metis also needed access to healthcare services. Monchalin, Smylie, and Bourgeois, in their article: “Urban Metis women’s identity and access to health and social services in Toronto,” (2019), argue that health and social services are necessary for cultural safety. They are compassionate about their culture and very unlikely to take benefits that go against it. The colonialist and racist policies have disoriented the societies that were tied with close bonds maintained by women. Social services are available for survival, and they should be assessed easily. It’s upon the decision of leaders to develop facilities such as hospitals, markets, and roads.

Knowledge about traditional medicine was mainly passed to women. They were the primary sources upon which the transmission of information would occur. To them, the community is everything, and any disconnection would give rise to glaring gaps. Some traditional medicine becomes extinct with time if it is not preserved correctly. This knowledge shows us the need to keep unique plants to cure emerging diseases in modern times. It gives them a connection to all members; hence a peaceful existence is realized. Healthcare knowledge is helpful since, in case of any sickness, a suitable cure can be given. This evades the sudden deaths of loved ones hence saving lives.

The Religion

The concept of religion is critical and non-judgmental since a right to choose the religion to belong. Metis was very spiritual, following their traditional practices and culture of worship. They obeyed God, and gave respect, depending on Him to provide for their needs. They believed in the catholic faith and observed religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Catholic feast days (Macdougall 2017). Religion pilgrimages to places like Lac St. Anne (Spirit lake) in Cree since it contained water with healing properties. Religion defines what and who we base our faith upon; thus, the pagans are seen as unwanted in society as they don’t focus more on spirituality. Moral values such as love, obedience, respect, and kindness build a person’s character since they spotlight what is worthwhile.

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Mental Health Status

Mental health needs not be ignored since it forms the central element of living. The mental status determines how one coordinates themselves, and relates to other people and the society at large. Monique D. Auger, in the book “Understanding our past, reclaiming our culture: Conceptualizing Metis culture and mental health in British Columbia”, (2017), argues that, despite the differences in mental health and challenges people to face in maintaining culture, the issue has been ignored. The mentally challenged in society are ignored and taken as people with disabilities. Little care and attention are given to them as they are seen to be less critical. It’s the nature of man to love and value you when you are of help to them. This message’s usefulness is to emphasize treating one another without favors and seeing each other as brothers and sisters. Empathy and sympathy should be in our hearts and give us direction.

The hardships of racism, cultural oppression, and separation of children from their parents are high mental cases among the Metis (Auger 2020). The children were denied the right to speak their language while in school. For one to critically understand a language, cognitive skills must be built accordingly. This includes being given a chance to practice the language when still young since the mind is developing. The value of land for day-to-day practices like hunting to earn a living poses a significant challenge since they cannot own them anymore. This leads to a loss of cultural identity due to a lack of reinforcement. It is the nature of humans to forget some practices, especially if they become distinct and rare. The importance of language at a tender age is emphasized when an infant has trained in the original language. Depression which may occur can be a great killer if not controlled. In these critical times, guidance and counseling are essential to help the depressed.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the document explains the rise of the Metis nation and the importance of the various aspects of their way of life. The relationship between the people and the environment, the mental status, religion, culture, self-governance, and women’s identity and access to healthcare services. Culture is the guideline of society and depicts what is right or wrong. It must be preserved, respected, and followed by failure to which the community will lose direction. Evil acts such as racism and political violence should be avoided since they negatively impact and further depression. Environment preservation should be the community’s slogan as it forms an arena of all activities revolving around life. The role of women is seen in passing knowledge to the illiterate. Despite being despised, the Metis people were united among themselves and every member of society despite their social status. This document helps indigenous history as it educates on culture, relationships, and other critical aspects.

References

Auger, Monique Danielle, 2017. “Understanding our past, reclaiming our culture: Conceptualizing Métis culture and mental health in British Columbia.” PhD diss., Simon Fraser University.

Blondeau, Angela Lee, 2018. “The Métis Nation of Saskatchewan: Building Towards Self-Governance.” PhD diss., Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Regina.

Macdougall, Brenda, 2017. “Land, family and identity: contextualizing Metis Health and Well Being. National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health. Web.

Monchalin, Renée, Janet Smylie, and Earl Nowgesic, 2019. “I guess I shouldn’t come back here”: Racism and discrimination as a barrier to accessing health and social services for urban Métis women in Toronto, Canada.” Journal of racial and ethnic health disparities 7, (2): 251-261.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, September 3). Origin of Indigenous People (Metis Nation) in Canada. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/origin-of-indigenous-people-metis-nation-in-canada/

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StudyCorgi. "Origin of Indigenous People (Metis Nation) in Canada." September 3, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/origin-of-indigenous-people-metis-nation-in-canada/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Origin of Indigenous People (Metis Nation) in Canada." September 3, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/origin-of-indigenous-people-metis-nation-in-canada/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Origin of Indigenous People (Metis Nation) in Canada'. 3 September.

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