It finally happened 10 months after I applied. Last week I received my Metis nation of Alberta card. It finally affirmed something that I had known about for about 25 years ago. My family descends from the Swampy Cree nation in Manitoba. It was good to know.
In my family it was not something that was ever talked about. The feeling in my family was that it would make it hard for the family to fit in if it was found out they were Metis. So for generations the cultural background of my paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother were never talked about. In 1987, my mother and I were on a bus journey around Fort Walsh, in Saskatchewan where my relatives eventually settled. The driver mentioned that my greats, Rachel and Jules, were buried in the metis cemetery here. My mother yelled out from her seat in the back of the bus that this was not true. Still the driver would not change his story.77
I soon began looking on line. Eventually I found relatives with names like Titameg and Ketchichooawomtoo. Still my mother would not believe the story. But in 1998 we went back to the fort. By this time historical interpreters were telling the story of the fort. One actress was playing Rachel McKay. She talked about being a metis freighters wife. My mom was left to say, I guess it must be true.
In 2017, I was able to ancestry dna. Again I was not surprised that I had a significant portion of native ancestry. They also provided some information about my ancestors. It seems for generations they worked for the Hudson's Bay Company. And Hudson's Bay kept excellent personnel and personal records of each employee. I got to find out who was well thought of, who was very industrious, who was a bit lazy.
After hearing that my cousin had already received her metis card, I believed I should apply. I should celebrate my background. And so last week the card came.
In some ways it changes little. Since our heritage was denied, I know little of my Metis culture. I look European white Canadian. I sound European white Canadian. But other things have changed. I noticed I had an extrta thrill on Sunday when we did the Welcome to Country. I was actually part of the welcome. I have much to learn and will be talking to elders and others who have followed a similar journey. But I have found anew family. Blessings.