Our Métis Family Story: Reclaiming Our Heritage
My citizenship card arrived at the end August 2016. I was surprised how much peace it brought me. It was almost as though my ancestors breathed out a collective sigh of relief. I am proud to be Métis.
Using the App “Explain Everything” I unpack our family story and the importance of learning their story:
Five Things I’ve Learned
- My family’s story was difficult to find but it was possible. I was able to trace it back to the mid-1700s using online tools.
- My grandfather (on my mother’s side) was the first in many generations to marry outside of the Métis community. Our family tree has many generations of Métis.
- Since the 1700s, my mother’s family has lived and worked on the water. From voyageurs to lighthouse keepers to fishing guides. My grandfather grew up living in a lighthouse and worked as a fishing guide (among other things). My generation is the first to grow up away from this lifestyle.
- My mom’s generation didn’t know they were Métis. My grandfather’s generation worked very hard to hide it.
- My family was involved in the War of 1812 (supporting the British), chose to be Canadian, was displaced/moved by the government 3-4 times as national boundaries were being established, and was involved in Treaties (as interpreters).
The best summary of the history of my ancestors is in this Report on the Origins and Evolution of the Penetanguishene Area Métis Community.
Things I Still Want to Learn
- How can I share the story of grandmothers and grandfathers with future generations? I don’t want this story to be lost again.
- What does it meant to be Métis today? And tomorrow?
- Where can I learn more about the culture of my ancestors, uncovering and sharing what they worked so hard to hide?
- What parts of my family’s way of doing things has roots in Métis culture?
It’s been over a hundred years since my family changed their name from Normandin to Lamondin and pretended to be French. I am proud to be Métis and honoured that I can be part of the story by sharing our lost history with my family.