Metis: Race, Recognition, and the Struggle for Indigenous Peoplehood

Metis: Race, Recognition, and the Struggle for Indigenous Peoplehood

by Chris Andersen


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Ask any Canadian what "Metis" means, and they will likely say "mixed race" or "part Indian, part white." Canadians consider Metis people mixed in ways that other indigenous people - First Nations and Inuit - are not, and the census and the courts have premised their recognition of the Metis on this race-based understanding.

Chris Andersen argues that Canada got it wrong. He weaves together personal anecdotes, critical race theory, and discussions of history and law to demonstrates that our understanding of "Metis" - that our very preoccupation with mixedness - is not natural but stems from more than 150 years of sustained labour on the part of the state, scholars, and indigenous organizations. From its roots deep in the colonial past, the idea of "Metis as mixed" pervaded the Canadian consciousness through powerful sites of knowledge production such as the census and courts until it settled in the realm of common sense. In the process, "Metis" has become an ever-widening racial category rather than the identity of an indigenous people with a shared sense of history and culture centred on the fur trade.

Andersen asks all Canadians to consider the consequences of adopting a definition of "Metis" that makes it nearly impossible for the Metis nation to make political claims as a people.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780774827225
Publisher: University of British Columbia Press
Publication date: 12/16/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Chris Andersen is associate professor, associate dean (research), and director of the Rupertsland Centre for Metis Research in the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta. He is also the current editor of aboriginal policy studies, an online, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to publishing on Metis, non-status Indian, and urban Aboriginal issues in Canada and abroad.

Table of Contents

Foreword Paul Chartrand ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 3

1 Mixed: The History and Evolution of an Administrative Concept 26

2 Métis-as-Mixed: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Census 59

3 The Métis Nation: A People, a Shared History 91

4 Métis Nation and Peoplehood: A Critical Reading of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Census 133

5 A Case of (Mis)recognition: The NunatuKavut Community Council 168

Conclusion 197

Notes 211

Works Cites 228

Index 252

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