Monday, April 4, 2016

Beyond blood memory

As part of getting my head back in order I have committed to read something useful everyday.  Today I worked through ""Memory Alive": Race, Religion, and Métis Identities" by Carole Leclair.  I reviewed another article by this author previously. 

The article speaks to a process of living that supports the articulation of memory.  She suggests that beyond blood memory is the need to practically reclaim memory through a return to place, ongoing learning and participation in older ways of knowing.  As she is writing this explicitly from the perspective of a Métis person, she shares a lot of teachings while telling this larger story.  Rather than a response to this piece overall, I would like to share the lessons I appreciated from this article and my thoughts about them.
  • As a Métis you should identify your family, community and territory before speaking from this voice.  This is a hard one for the many who have lost knowledge or connection to a specific place.  Am I a Garneau/Thomas as many of my ancestors or the more recent Brady?  I am certainly of the west, but beyond that?  How do I package my story?
  • Teaching and learning are sacred allowing us to turn our mind toward "bimaadziwin", a worth-while life"  If you have been following for some time, you will know that I have found the path between the cerebral and body, and academic and real world a challenging one.  This paragraph reminded me that theses things do not have to be in opposition.  In this vein she later writes, "In common with many Aboriginal peoples, Métis learn by observation, inquiry, introspection and experience, using all of our gifts: our minds, our bodies, our dreams and visions, our emotions, and our languages."  She continues by reminding us that we can call on all these strengths as we navigate the challenges of being modern Métis.
  • She uses a quote by Maria Campbell "the bear doesn't try to tell the deer's story."  So much to learn from this short quote.
  • She cautions us that the claiming of space as Métis is an ongoing process.  A good reminder not to get discouraged when the first times of claiming don't take root.

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