Interviews with Olivia Marie Golosky and Lawrence Gervais. Filmed in the Lougheed House on November 5, 2018. Videography by Jacquie Aquines, 2019.
Olivia Marie Golosky
[0:00 – 1:37]
It’s tough, I always kind of talk what Métis identity means, and who is Métis and who isn’t; it’s a bit of a weird thing to talk about because it’s such a colonial construct. To even kind of frame the question like that, I think there is even, even within myself there’s the large M Métis which is for the Nation, I guess more of the political bodies; and there’s the small m Métis for the people, and those can be very similar but very different things. I think from what the Canadian government has designated us, you have to have pure lineage traced back the Red River settlement from what I understand. One of the things we find frustrating is a lot of the time the text on us as a people is never written actually by Métis people. A lot of text that has been seen as kind of the authoritative literature is often written by non-Indigenous people and non-Métis people, and people who don’t come from those communities or live in those communities. I think even within our own understanding of what it means to be Métis is a bit fractured because a lot of times people don’t have connections to their community, aren’t necessarily born and raised in settlements. I think that for myself what it means to be Métis is kind of the in between world where you have a family – you’ve come from a settler but also from an Indigenous background and having a connection to both those things and how to manage that connection I think is constantly evolving.
[1:38 – 2:51]
There have been mixed blood since 1535 and prior to Sir James Lougheed and Lady Isabella Hardisty there’s probably roughly around a dozen generations of mixed blood. The reasoning was, when the fur trade was happening in order to survive or keep moving forward you took an aboriginal wife, a country wife they sometimes called it, and a lot of it was for survival. These young girls knew how to dress an animal, they knew all the hunting aspects, they knew about herbal medicine, they knew about a lot of things that would help you survive as a fur trader. So they took “country wives” and their children became “country born” and those became the mixed and the Métis. So it’s not out of the norm for having a European dad and an aboriginal wife. It was very common back then.