Métis Nation BC Métis Oral History Project

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Métis have a rich history in British Columbia, more than just the North East corner of the province.

Historical evidence about Métis communities in BC is more limited than what is available for the rest of the Métis Homeland. This can be attributed to the early and profound unwillingness of first the Colony of BC, and then the Province of BC, to recognize Aboriginal rights and title generally, and Métis rights specifically. When the Treaty Eight Commission (which includes northeastern British Columbia lying on the east side of the Rocky Mountains) and the accompanying “Half-Breed Scrip Commission” traveled through BC and the Northwest Territories (now recognized as Alberta and Saskatchewan) at the turn of the 20th Century, the Half-Breed Scrip Commission was not permitted to operate inside BC, and thus a very important source of historical information was lost (Métis Nation British Columbia 2008).

MNBC is in the first exploratory stages of a project obtaining a record of existing oral history on the Métis presence in BC pre-effective control (pre mid-1900’s/1850). We are interested in interviewing Métis who have ancestors who lived in BC prior to the mid-nineteenth century and who have sufficient knowledge about their family history in BC. Ultimately, the goal is to establish, through oral history and supplemental documents, an undisputable Métis presence in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. This valuable knowledge and history could potentially be used to solidify the Métis’ sec 35 rights in British Columbia.

Interview teams will be travelling the province through the summer of 2019 meeting with participants to hear the rich historical stories of the Métis Nation. One-on-one interviews will be conducted and recorded. The audio files will be then transcribed and analyzed to determine if a more detailed Phase 2 of the project will be established.

Do you have a story that will be a valuable contribution to this project? 

Contact John Bieker, Law Clerk for MNBC at jbieker@mnbc.ca , or Leona Shaw, Manager of Community Consultation and Environmental Research (lshaw@mnbc.ca ) , 1-800-940-1150 for more information.