“Cultural and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries. ‘Métis’ can refer to the historic Métis community in Manitoba’s Red River Settlement or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-11-25 02:45Z by Steven

“There is no consensus on who is considered Métis or a non-status Indian, nor need there be,” the court wrote. “Cultural and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries. ‘Métis’ can refer to the historic Métis community in Manitoba’s Red River Settlement or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage.” For eastern Métis, proof of the latter is enough. Their organizations typically accept anyone who can provide a genealogical chart showing an Indigenous ancestor.

Graeme Hamilton, “Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists,” National Post, November 23, 2017. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/who-gets-to-be-metis-as-more-people-self-identify-critics-call-out-opportunists.

Tags: ,

Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

Posted in Articles, Canada, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2017-11-24 22:38Z by Steven

Who gets to be Metis? As more people self-identify, critics call out opportunists

National Post

Graeme Hamilton

Robin Robichaud shows his t-shirt after a meeting for the Wobtegwa aboriginal community, a new Metis group.
Christinne Muschi /National Post

The arrival of new players is stirring up tension with established Métis groups and raising concern among First Nations leaders

SHERBROOKE, Que. – The scent of burning sage lingers in the air as drummers begin a song of welcome. They are traditions dating back centuries, but on this Sunday afternoon the ceremony opens a gathering of one of the country’s youngest Aboriginal groups — the two-year-old Wobtegwa Métis clan.

The meeting, held in a high school auditorium, has brought together members from a corner of Quebec stretching northeast from Montreal past Quebec City and south to the United States border. Some of those present have long known of their Indigenous roots; for others the discovery has come recently. But they have all come together to push for government recognition of their rights.

“This clan is sovereign on its territory,” Yves Cordeau, band chief for the Lac-Mégantic region informs the group.

If the claim comes as news to many in Quebec, it’s because the province’s Métis awakening is recent. Raynald Robichaud, the Wobtegwa’s clan chief, says even members of his own family discouraged him from returning to his Aboriginal roots. “We knew we had a great-grandmother who was aboriginal, but our family absolutely did not want to talk about it, because they were afraid,” he says. “For us now, the fear is gone, and people are coming back.”…

…Checking a box on a census or connecting to family heritage is one thing. But as groups like the Wobtegwa lay claim to special services and territorial rights — in some cases, the same land as other Aboriginal groups — a backlash to the influx of new Métis is emerging. Some critics question the motivation of those who “become” Métis, and the impact of their activism on more established groups. Others question the right to self-identify at all…

…Leroux, Gaudry and organizations representing western Métis maintain that mixed ancestry alone does not make one Métis. True Métis — as recognized by the Constitution as one of Canada’s three aboriginal groups — must have roots in Manitoba’s historic Red River settlement, they say. That can include Métis all the way west to British Columbia and into Ontario, but not as far east as Quebec and the Maritimes

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marni Soupcoff: A law that bans ‘mixed race’ couples? Yes. In 2014. In Canada

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Native Americans/First Nation on 2014-11-07 16:20Z by Steven

Marni Soupcoff: A law that bans ‘mixed race’ couples? Yes. In 2014. In Canada

National Post
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Marni Soupcoff, Deputy Comment Editor

A Canadian woman falls in love and joins her life with that of a man of a different race. As a direct result of this union, she is harassed, receives notice of eviction, and is told she must leave her home.

What century are we talking about? This one, I’m afraid; and the culprit is not some errant racist landlord trying to throw one tenant out of a building. It’s the Kahnawake Mohawk council, which has a law that bans all “mixed race” couples from living anywhere in its Montreal-area territory.

Waneek Horn-Miller is half of one of those “mixed race” couples who has been told to get out. Horn-Miller may be a Mohawk, but because her common-law husband (and the father or her two children) is white, the aboriginal activist and former Olympian is no longer welcome or permitted to live on Kahnawake territory.

This is happening in 2014. Which, to put things in context, is 47 years after the United States Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation (or race-mixing) laws unconstitutional in that country

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Black & White: Search for roots uncovers forgotten family secret

Posted in Articles, Canada, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Judaism, Media Archive, Passing, Religion on 2012-04-15 23:56Z by Steven

Black & White: Search for roots uncovers forgotten family secret

National Post
Toronto, Canada

Sarah Boesveld, General Assignment Writer

About 20 years ago, David Dossett watched his grandfather politely shut down a woman who called to say she was a relative and that their family had come to Canada from Jamaica and that they were black. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Mr. Dossett said to his granddad, businessman John B. Sampson, who seemed amused by this idea. Their family — Mr. Dossett’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side — had come to Canada from Scotland in 1907 and settled in Toronto. No one disputed that. But while doing some casual family tree sleuthing online a few years ago, Mr. Dossett, an IT manager and father of four, stumbled upon a tree that looked a lot like his. As it turns out, it belonged to the woman who called his grandfather that day — Jenny Sampson from Illinois. And so began Mr. Dossett’s “obsessive” hunt for a family’s past that had remained a secret for over 100 years. In the end, he discovered his family is not Protestant and Scottish, but Jamaican and Jewish. Not everyone is pleased about the discovery — much of which was broadcast last week on an episode of The Generations Project on Brigham Young University TV. Mr. Dossett spoke with the Post’s Sarah Boesveld from his hometown of Kingston, Ont.:

Q Jenny Sampson had been doing research independently before you began to question your family’s roots and identity. What had she found?

A When I was looking at her family tree, it was describing my family, it was describing me. And the tree said the family was Jewish, that they lived on an estate in Jamaica called Gaza. The name “Gaza” sounds very Jewish, so I’m thinking “Wow.” I contacted the person whose name was on the website — it ended up being her husband — and Jenny emailed back, explained the whole thing — that her family had come to Toronto in 1907, that they came as mulatto Hebrews. When it really sank into me that this was true I started thinking “What are the odds that my family is from Jamaica?” The odds turned out to be pretty good…

Q Why do you think your family kept their heritage a secret even years after they immigrated?

A Deep down inside I think people [in my family] are concerned about having Jewish or black heritage. My mother’s cousin was concerned her father, my great-uncle the decorated war hero [and top-ranked army official] Franklin Augustus Sampson, would be looked down on if it was revealed our family lied about their heritage. But what are they going to do? Yank medals away from people? He’s dead. My grandfather lied about his heritage because he said he was born in Toronto, not Jamaica. A lot of people lied when they enlisted in WWI, lied about their age, lied about their ethnicity. One of my cousins found out many years ago through a blood test that there was either Asian or African blood in her system. When she took the blood test, she went into grandfather’s office, she threw it down on his desk in front of him and said “Explain this.”

Q How did your mother react?

A She doesn’t believe it. She says we’re from Scotland, but doesn’t provide details. She’s going through stages of dementia, but even without that she wouldn’t believe it. Jenny told me her mother is no longer speaking to her. If this had happened maybe 20 years earlier, I could have been a little concerned about it too.

Q Did you feel betrayed at all that your family kept this from you?

A Initially I was, but then I became aware of why this was done. I think what I find most discouraging is the way people were treated when they came to the country, if they weren’t from this white background. We have a past we don’t like to talk about. It’s too bad that Canada wasn’t as open a country as it could have been…

Q You say there are likely thousands of other families out there who may actually be of black heritage despite their families’ white complexions.

A In the late 1800s there was a mass exodus of Jews from Jamaica. The perception was that they were becoming too powerful, so laws were passed to limit what they could own and how much they could acquire. I bet there are a lot of people out there that aren’t searching because they just don’t know. Maybe they just assume they’re from Scotland. Other than myself going to Queen’s University, no one in my family has a kilt, I don’t like bagpipes, I don’t eat oatmeal, I don’t like haggis. Nothing about me would indicate I’m Scottish except for my appearance — I have reddish hair because my grandfather married an Irish woman. They were very pale and I burn quite easily…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Colby Cosh: Obama’s family tree might have hung him from a limb

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-10-15 17:56Z by Steven

Colby Cosh: Obama’s family tree might have hung him from a limb

National Post

Colby Cosh

Ever since Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination for the presidency, American political observers have been arguing endlessly over whether his race will be a net help or a hindrance to him at the polls November 4. Strangely, though, there has been less discussion over the crude binary characterization of Senator Obama as “black.”

Even in the most progressive American circles, it seems, the “one-drop rule” of racial categorization, a heritage of slavery, still holds sway. For taxonomic purposes, a man with a white mother and a black father is a black man. Obama discovered very early in life that he could not defy the rules of this game. And if he wins the election, his own biography will demonstrate that it is easier to succeed in America as a multiracial individual who self-identifies as black than it is to live with a blurred racial identity. Being “black” has enabled him to represent a dream of racial conciliation for all Americans more easily than being a trans- or post-racial figure would.

The strange part about this narrative is that Obama’s black ancestors aren’t even African-American; he is the son of a dynamic, brilliant Kenyan economist and politician he hardly ever knew. His black identity comes from outside American history. And reporters have barely scratched the surface of his white maternal ancestry, the part of him, so to speak, that lies fully within America, complete with all the contradictions and horrors of its past.

And here’s another strange fact: It is easier to show Barack Obama’s descent from slave-owning American colonists than it is to establish any genealogical connection between himself and American slaves. In many ways, a WASP family-tree snob of the 19th century would probably be more impressed with Obama’s mother’s background than with John McCain’s people. (Both candidates can claim direct descent from King Edward I.) A 2007 investigation by the Baltimore Sun found that Obama’s direct maternal ancestors included slaveowners from the time of William and Mary right down to the eve of the U.S. Civil War, a war in which he had family on both sides.

And the closer you look, the weirder things get…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: ,

Canada’s mixing pot: Multiracial relationships growing at rapid pace

Posted in Canada, Census/Demographics, New Media, Social Science on 2010-04-24 02:37Z by Steven

Canada’s mixing pot: Multiracial relationships growing at rapid pace

National Post

Mary Vallis

The number of Canadians in mixed-race relationships and marriages is rising, still primarily a big city phenomenon, but a trend fuelled in part by romances in small cities, according to a new report released by Statistics Canada on Tuesday.

Between 2001 and 2006, mixed unions grew at a rapid pace (33%), more than five times the growth for all couples (6.0%), the agency says in a new report titled “A Portrait of Couples in Mixed Unions.”

According to the 2006 Census, 3.9% of the 7.4 million couples in Canada were “mixed unions,” meaning either one member of the relationship belonged to a visible minority or that both were members of different visible minorities. Fifteen years earlier, mixed unions accounted for 2.6% of all couples.

Residents of small cities with predominantly white populations like Saguenay, Que., Moncton, N.B., and Thunder Bay, Ont., boasted some of the highest percentages of visible minorities in mixed unions. Nearly 63% of all of the visible minorities in Saguenay had spouses or partners from other backgrounds. Saint John, N.B., Kelowna, B.C., Sudbury and Barrie also ranked high…

To read the entire story, click here.

Tags: , ,