Henry Roe Cloud Dissertation Writing Fellow, 2012-2013, Yale University
Masters of Arts, Sociology, Queen’s University
Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Honours, Queen’s
I am interested in the connection of Métis history and Métis political thought, which have been disconnected by many historians. As a result, many works have fundamentally misunderstood the motivations and goals of Métis people in the nineteenth century, as well as the relationship they formed with the infant Canadian state in 1870 with the Manitoba Treaty. My dissertation connects the traditional political theory of Metis governance-embodied by the Buffalo Hunt and other community institutions-with the historical development of Métis governance in Assiniboia and Manitoba. By first analyzing the relations between the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Métis people, and the refusal of Métis to submit to Company governance, then following this trend to the rejection of Canadian annexation and the formation of the Provisional Government of 1869-1870, we can observe an obvious tendency in Métis governance. Métis consistently understood themselves as a free and independent Indigenous people, who held treaty relations with other Indigenous nations, and were the masters of their own country. Despite this self-perception, and the ability to assert this reality on the Company and Canada-by force if necessary-history has often misunderstood the Métis-Canadian relationship as one of Métis joining Confederation. However, as much of the historical record demonstrates, Métis were more interested in engaging in a confederal relationship with Canada, as equal treaty partners, rather than joining the Canadian federation as a province dominated by central Canada. By connecting Métis political thought, with the critical events at Red River in 1869-1870, a new history-a Métis people’s history-emerges.