There’s some moments of Métis history most Canadians know about, like the North-West Rebellion of 1885 lead by Louis Riel. However, there’s a lot of untold stories many people don’t even know exist.
A new University of Saskatchewan chair is hoping to share some of these stories.
Allyson Stevenson is the new Gabriel Dumont research chair in Métis studies. The position was created to improve USask Métis studies and courses at the university.
“I’m a Métis person. I was adopted in the 1970s,” Stevenson said.
“I’d always had an interest in that area but that definitely increased once I knew I had Métis ancestry.”
Stevenson has three USask degrees and has already done extensive research on Indigenous history. Her new position with the university will allow her to explore moments in history that have surprised her.
“Something that’s led me to interest for this particular chair is the removals of Métis people in Saskatchewan in the 1940s,” Stevenson said.
“Many Métis communities formed across the province in the early 20th century along road allowances. Métis people lost their land after failed script policies of the federal government so these communities were removed by the (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation) CCF government to Métis colonies.”
Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) is working with Stevenson during her five-year term.
“We have an extensive community network,” GDI executive director Geordy McCaffrey said.
“We operate in about 20 communities, so we could link Dr. Stevenson to many people in the Métis community and to many projects and causes.”
McCaffrey and Stevenson both hope the research will impact people beyond the university. GDI has created Métis-specific education for grade schools across the country and could implement Stevenson’s findings into future curriculums.
GDI is also collaborating with the University of Regina on another project.
“We’re working on a project with the University of Regina to develop a similar position, but this position would be based in the college of education,” McCaffrey said.
“I think that will have ramifications for the training of teachers who will have the Métis content and that Métis knowledge taught to them while they’re taking their university courses.”