Interview with Stéphane Raymond: Stéphane Tessier. Directing and filming for this video: Nicolas St-Germain.
Stéphane Raymond (SR), centre frame, is speaking with historian and cultural animator Stéphane Tessier (ST). They are on a footpath on La Visitation Island near the Des Prairies River’s shore. They are discussing how Stéphane Raymond met Anne-Catherine Morel, his arrival in Sault-au-Récollet, and his life as a new resident of Île de la Visitation. Over the course of their discussion, Stéphane Raymond explains his Anishinaabe and Québécois roots, and how his parents met in Montreal’s Lafontaine Park.
SR My name is Stéphane Raymond. I have been living in Île de la Visitation for a few years now. I am the spouse of Anne-Catherine Morel. You met her before.
SR And we’ve been living together for 3 years now.
I am a Métis. In the Algonquian tongue, we say “Aptésie.” But my community is the Lac-Simon Anishinaabe. Also, my dad is Québécois. So I have two sets of roots.
ST How did you and your spouse meet?
SR Oh, we met on the Internet.
And at that moment in my life, I was living in La Verendrye Park, near the Grand Lake Victoria. It’s a tributary of the Ottawa River so, jokingly, I said I could come down to La Visitation Island by canoe.
ST And did you?
SR No, it’s kind of a long journey: I’d have to portage 10 or 12 times… (laughter)
SR Today, it’s way faster by bus.
ST But now you’re living on La Visitation Island. You still made it!
SR I still made it, for sure! You could even say I’ve become “sedentary” on the island.
ST And how do you like living in Île de la Visitation?
SR Well, I like it a lot because we’re just surrounded by the traces Indigenous people left behind. The Anishinaabe people were in the north of the island and the Mohawks were in the south. And there are still a lot of landmarks, like the “Sentier des sauvages,” now renamed the “Sentier des messagers” (path of the messengers).
So there has always been this nice coexistence between the Indigenous and Québécois people. And, listen, we’re still doing the same today.
ST That’s a polite way of putting it!
ST But you also have roots in Montreal…
ST Yes! I grew up in Rosemont…
SR … because at the time, when my parents got married, my mother was Indigenous and my father was Québécois, so she lost her rights, and I had never realized my origins until I was about 7, when my mother regained her rights.
And so, I did as well.
[notes about Bill C-31]
In 1985, the Indian Act was amended through Bill C-31 to remove certain discriminatory provisions and to conform the law to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Among these changes:
- Indian women who marry a non-Indian no longer lose their status.
- Indian women who have lost their status by marrying a non-Indian are able to apply for their reintegration, as well as their children.
[the conversation resumes]
ST Your mother is a member of which nation? From what region is she from?
SR Anishinaabe, in Lac-Simon. They’re Algonquins, but today they prefer… They identify as Anishinaabe.
ST And how did your parents meet?
SR In Lafontaine Park! They met in Lafontaine Park.
My mother came to Montreal to study accounting. My father had lived in Montreal since he was a young boy. He was born in Saint-Hyacinthe. But he moved to Montreal very early in his life.
And that’s how they met.