I first learned I was Métis in the second grade, when my teacher gave our class a project to draw our heritage. I had always known I was part French and English, but to my surprise, my parents also told me I was Métis. Drawing the typical French and English heritage
came easy - I drew things like the Eiffel Tower and English tea. However, no one in my family could quite piece together what represented our Métis heritage. This cutoff from our culture goes back to my grandfather. He was shunned as a child, even by his cousins,
for having Indigenous blood. Once my grandfather became old enough, he moved to a small town where no one knew him, changed the French pronunciation of Denis to the English way, and dropped all traditions and languages. My father grew up with the knowledge he was Métis but was not raised with its language or tradition. I grew up the same way.
I spent the majority of my time in grade school feeling stuck. I never felt I was fully European or fully Indigenous, it was like I did not belong in either group. That changed when someone told me that it does not matter what “percent” of my blood is European
or Indigenous, I am Métis. From then on, I have done my best to learn what would have been taught to me if I were raised Métis. My family has finally changed our last name back to the French pronunciation as we have rediscovered and embraced that part of our life. I am still learning, but I hope to help others like me learn too.
Author: Shay, ITMP Admin & Mentor