You, my egg-nog drinking friend who thinks it’s appropriate to quiz me on my ‘background’ are using the little ‘m’ definition. This is the category I’ve encountered most in Quebec.
I want to go into the history of the Métis, and talk about and quote some John Ralston Saul (okay I actually have no desire to do that last thing) but this person just asked me a question at a party and his eyes are already drifting over the lithe form of a single neighbour. ” I am impressed with your mathematical skills, imaginary pastiche of all the people who have asked me this question since I moved to Quebec, but no.
I have a hard time not addressing this question so sometimes we don’t to be linear. And here I have run up against the little ‘m’ versus big ‘M’ identity argument.
Following this through, you could imagine emerging Métis communities, not just historical ones.
You mean, what is the definition I use for myself and thus present as the definition all others must live by?
More important, I’d argue, than just knowing the state of the categories right now…but you have to start from somewhere! If I have any academic readers, I apologise in advance for bringing up debates or issues that some academics think are settled, or should be moved past.
Whether or not I agree, the fact is that most Canadians have not been a part of these mostly internal discussions. His eyes snap back and he’s got a skeptical look on his face, “Oh,” he says, sounding disappointed and perhaps a little triumphant to have found a fake, “so you’re like, a quarter Indian?
(I warned some of you I’d be rehashing supposedly ‘old’ territory!
) If you were to boil down common approaches to Métis identity, you generally end up with two categories, sometimes overlapping, sometimes entirely separate, sometimes with all sorts of anomalies left over and scattered about.
I am going to ‘get personal’ so that people cannot effectively twist my words later and use them to deny others who feel that they too are Métis.