Understanding our past, reclaiming our culture: Métis resiliency and connection to land in the face of colonialism
Keywords:Métis people, colonialism, identity, land, resilience, intergenerational trauma
The colonial legacy for Métis people has included the far-reaching impacts of residential and day schools, forced adoption, dislocation from the land, cultural oppression, and denial of existence. This qualitative study explores the complexity relationships with land, identity, and resilience for Métis people, within the context of colonialism. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 33 Métis community members living in British Columbia, Canada. This research highlights the impacts of assimilation on Métis identity and knowledge with stories that speak to shame, hidden identity, and loss of culture. Participants also clearly articulated the ways in which Métis people have been impacted from intergenerational trauma. Findings from this research also include Métis relationships with, and responsibilities to, the land. Despite the challenges that many Métis individuals, families, and communities have faced as a result of colonialism, resistance and resilience were thoroughly demonstrated, with stories of bravery, resistance, and gratitude. As a whole, experiences of oppression, survival and resilience have powerfully shaped who we are as Métis people.
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