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Owning Ourselves Zine April 4.pdf

The Mamawi Project // Red River Echoes
Lindsay DuPré
Lucy Fowler
Sheila Laroque
Breanne Lavallee-Heckert
Krista McNamara...
The MAMAWI Project //
The Mamawi Project came together in 2019 after recurring conversations
amongst friends about the fut...
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Owning Ourselves Zine April 4.pdf

  2. 2. OWNING OURSELVES // SUBMISSION REVIEWERS Lindsay DuPré Lucy Fowler Sheila Laroque Breanne Lavallee-Heckert Krista McNamara Stephen Mussell Kai Minosh Pyle Justin Wiebe EDITORS Lindsay DuPré Lucy Fowler Breanne Lavallee-Heckert Justin Wiebe COPY EDITOR Alicia Hibbert DESIGNER Jordan Skipper FRONT COVER Lynette La Fontaine ©2022 The Mamawi Project Collective
  3. 3. The MAMAWI Project // The Mamawi Project came together in 2019 after recurring conversations amongst friends about the future of our Nation. We saw the need to create more spaces, in-person and online, in order to bring our people together to (re)build relations, have critical and candid conversations, and celebrate who we are as Métis people. For the past few years, we’ve been doing just that. We remain committed to modelling ethics of care, kinship, and collaboration in how we organize these spaces (with lots of laughing in there too). Mamawi is a word linked to nêhiyawêwin, anishinaabemowin, and michif that means “together.” It is often used with verbs like mamawi-acimowak meaning, “they tell stories together” or mamawihisicikewin, “the act of working together in a concerted effort.” We felt Mamawi captured our intentions perfectly, as we first came together through a shared sense of urgency to learn, work, and laugh better together. As a collective, we see the need for an expanded Métis civil society where Métis- led organizations, institutions, and grassroots efforts are better supported to exist alongside our provincial and national political organizations. We have been thinking a lot about what it means to build a desirable future for our people, and we believe that a healthy and prosperous Métis Nation requires input from people of many different perspectives and politics. This zine emerged from conversations between our collective members, summer gathering participants, and with our friends at Red River Echoes. We had a desire to bring together the voices and vision of Métis young people, artists, writers, parents, elected leaders, and others on the topic of the future of our Nation’s governance. Our people’s history is one filled with persistence, resistance, and pride; this continues today. Nêhiyawak relatives would sometimes refer to us as “otipemisiwak” (the people who own themselves). The zine builds on this name and our rich history, creating space for our people to envision the future of governance for ourselves on our own terms. We encourage you to engage with the zine with an open heart and mind, finding ways to bring life to Métis governance in your own lives and communities. What perspectives are we missing in this collection? What does a future where we truly own ourselves look like to you? It is the people, our people, who will continue the vision of our ancestors and ensure the vibrancy, prosperity, and continuance of our Nation for eternity. 3 Owning Ourselves //
  4. 4. Red River Echoes // 4 // The Mamawi Project gooshkopaayitaak nous sommes réveillés we are awake Red River Echoes came together as a collective in March 2021. While many of us had long felt disconnected and disappointed by Métis leadership, coming together in this way inspired renewed feelings of hope for the future of Métis governance and organizing. For years, the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) has made decisions on our behalf that do not reflect Métis values, law, or culture. When the MMF decided to purchase a full page ad in the Winnipeg Free Press declaring support for the Winnipeg Police Service, we decided it was time to take action. Following Canada’s state-sanctioned genocide against the Métis Nation at Red River, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) was created in 1873 by the occupying colonial government. The WPS has since been used as a tool to violently enforce colonial law on Indigenous lands and bodies at Red River. When the MMF paid for this ad, it had not yet been a year since the police murders of three Indigenous people in Winnipeg in the span of ten days, including Eishia Hudson, a 16-year-old Anishinaabe girl. As proud and rowdy young Métis people have done since the beginning, a group of us came together to come up with a plan to act on this love for our Nation. The MMF’s support for the police was unacceptable. We had to speak up for our families and ancestors who have lived and died in resistance to the colonial state. We had to speak up for our relatives who are targeted by the colonial police. We had to speak up for one another. The Red River Echoes collective was created within five days of the MMF’s ad. On March 18, 2021 our collective published an open letter on our website, inviting the MMF “to make way for a movement that is committed to allyship across Indigenous Nations and honouring the laws of all our relations by taking a firm stand against all forms of colonial oppression.” David Chartrand, President of the MMF, responded by telling anyone who questions his government to “go to hell” from behind his podium at the MMF’s live-streamed Annual General Assembly. Our collective bonded quickly. It felt healing to be connected with kin, especially as many of us felt disconnected from community after experiences of frustration, disappointment, and even harm or abuse within the MMF. Chartrand, a former corrections officer, has been President of the MMF since 1997, before some of our members were even born. Changes were made to the MMF’s constitution in 2017, requiring six years of volunteering on locals and council to be eligible to run for president, a threshold unseen even in colonial political systems. on behalf of Red River Echoes //
  5. 5. The MMF is a provincially incorporated company, which engrains corporate hierarchies and profit-seeking over other values. This is not a sustainable model for Métis governance. With growing inequality, food insecurity, worsening impacts of climate change, houselessness, ongoing violence by police, we ought to be resisting colonial authority instead of legitimizing it by mirroring it within our own governance bodies. When our collective came together, we had many conversations about how we wanted to govern ourselves, how we wanted to own ourselves. We agreed that we wanted to root our governance in principles and values of Métis law instead of colonial law. Looking to rotational models of leadership used by our ancestors during Buffalo Hunts, we agreed to a decentralized and non-hierarchical system based on consensus decision-making. This image is the result: As a collective, we dreamed up a logo and then a governance model that embodies the beauty and wisdom of our floral relations – fitting of course for us, the flower beadwork people. Rather than creating fixed titles or positions, we select leaders – called captains and co-captains – on a rotating basis. Like a flower, no petal is more important than the other: all aspects of our work are interwoven and connected. Comme lii fleurs, we are rooted and respect our role as guests on Mother Earth, responsible for her care. Using this governance model and values at our core, our collective has: created strong friendships, established a bail fund to support folks who may face legal action from toppling statues at the Manitoba Legislature on July 1, 2021; hosted a community event to change the name of the Wolseley neighborhood in Winnipeg; traveled together to Saskatchewan to visit Batoche and spend time with Elder Maria Campbell; and most recently, started a fundraiser to purchase a Land Back Bus to help connect Métis and other Indigenous kin with the land and one another. Most importantly, we have created a much-needed Métis voice, one that is supported and echoed by thousands. La fleur of our logo and governance model are being beaded across our Homeland, reminding us that Métis governance belongs to us all. Like prairie flowers we belong to no one but ourselves and each other, growing wild and free across the lands we call home. 5 Owning Ourselves // on behalf of Red River Echoes //
  6. 6. 6 // The Mamawi Project Image // Claire Johnston on behalf of Red River Echoes // Beadwork template as designed by Seraph Eden-Carr and digitized by Lor Brand
  7. 7. 7 Owning Ourselves // Image // Jason Surkan
  8. 8. Content // The Mamawi Project // 3 Red River Echoes // 4 Conor Kerr // What do you believe in? 10 Angela Blondeau // Reclaiming our Nation through Kinship Ties 11 Sydney Hannusch // 12 Audie Murray & Stephen Mussell // 14 Kai Minosh Pyle // My Queer Métis Governance looks like… 16 Lynette La Fontaine // FIRE BACK 18 Mike Gouldhawke // Divide While Anything Remains 20 Jack Theis // Winnipeg Memories 22 Claire Johnston & Brownyn Butterfield // 24 Ruby Bruce // Otipemisiwak 26 Aron Skworchinski // River Water 28 Jennifer Altenberg // Raising Matriarchs! An Ode to Lennie Rose! 30 Kayla MacInnis // 32 Vanessa Prescott // What does it mean to be a Métis Clinical Herbal Therapist? 33 Lindsay DuPré // The aunties who run this place 34 David Werner // 36 Danielle Lussier // 37 8 // The Mamawi Project
  9. 9. 9 Owning Ourselves // Image // Jason Surkan Content // Mackenzie Durocher // Giving Birth to Our Nation: Holding Families Through Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Breanne Lavallee-Heckert // free 40 Jocelyn Lamothe // Remembering 42 Ella Thomson // kin 44 Philip Johnah Logan Geller // a manifesto of self (governance) 46 Lucy Fowler // We Can Again 47 Krista McNamara // Can We Have Some Tea Sometime? 48 Owning Ourselves Word Search // 49 Sheila Laroque // Governance 101 Lessons with Molly Swain and Chelsea Vowel 50 Laura Forsythe // Dedicating my Life to Métis Women 51 Colouring Page // 52 Contributor Biographies // 54 38
  10. 10. Conor Kerr // 10 // The Mamawi Project What do you believe in? Do you believe in the ghosts of aunties and uncles that drive old single bench pickup trucks spotted with bullet hole rust, sweetgrass, and beaded necklaces dangling from the rearview mirror? Those who dream forever of empty stretches of prairie trail turned concrete road passed over by generations of everyone who held the memory of you close. Those who believed in you even when you didn’t believe that the future could be infinite for all of us who live under and within endless sky, endless prairie wool, endless bison, and the endless coveys of sharptail grouse. Do you believe in sitting on the shores of the Saskatchewan River next to nehiyawak cousins, planning out the moose hunts that will keep meat flowing back into amiskwaciywaskahegan for another winter, so that all of our relations can taste the blood and body of a true Eucharist, the Earth made whole through the eyes of a two-year-old bull moose? His flesh sustaining and forever nurturing our kinship spirits that only move us further towards understanding who we were always meant to be. Do you believe in the beauty of the wrinkles around an old lady’s eyes while she sits wrapped up in a homemade quilt, sipping muskeg tea next to the wood-burning stove? Each line a thousand laughs, a thousand tears, a thousand stories spilled out so that we can move forward in a good way, holding truth next to our hearts, sustained through the crackle of birch burning dark into the night, forever holding onto our place next to the grandmothers who defined what it means to be family. Do you believe in singing loud into the night? Barn dances replaced by pubs and karaoke machines. Potato champagne by cheap bottles of Pilsner. “Oh no, not I, I will survive, oh as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive” rippling through the air to the backdrop of fading fiddles, spoons, and the tapping of beer bottles on hardtop tables, cards swooshing as their dealt high into the air. Bet on us, because we’re not going anywhere. Never were, never will. Gloria Gaynor had it right all along. Do you believe in those who aren’t born yet? Those who will come after us. Those who will take back the land and give it away to the grasses. Eradicate the machinery, tear it down, build it up. Believe in the words and the way that pride is written all over the faces of those who learn what it means to own ourselves. To never bow under hell on earth. To never step back but always move forward knowing that within this landscape we are reborn, awoken, brought back by the artists and the writers, the poets, and the dancers, the musicians, and the lovers, the beaders, and the hunters. Because I believe in everything. What do you believe in? //
  11. 11. Image // Jordan Skipper Angela Blondeau // It was foretold by Louis Riel The artists will give us our spirits back Out of the Dark Times we gather to build Kinship ties illuminate our collective path Our Elders help us remember the old ways Our Creator guides us to navigate the new Each family carries our collective memory Our Nation’s battles, victories, and bloodshed too Like a mother the land has not forgotten us Collective memory stirs and is grounded in her Kinship connections ever meeting crossing time Each of our people have place in this struggle sublime Each family must come, together we build our nation Together we remember, together we thrive Bound together by history, fortified through strife Reclaiming our nation through kinship ties Reclaiming Our Nation through Kinship Ties // 11 Owning Ourselves //
  12. 12. Sydney Hannusch // 12 // The Mamawi Project Thinking a lot about how we are able to build up our communities, strengthening Indigenous Sovereignty, and healthy relationship building. How much of a difference it makes when you have mentors and Elders uplifting and supporting you. Giving space, compassion, and understanding to youth to grow and learn. Having safe and inviting spaces for Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Peoples. Youth growing up with those healthy relationships and leadership skills and being next to take on those mentorship roles, teaching the next generation to be leaders in their communities. Also thinking about how we can go about healing our younger selves, carrying and using traditional knowledge in our everyday lives and helping to pass those teachings down in our communities. Really creating those foundations and making something truly beautiful for the next seven generations.
  13. 13. 13 Owning Ourselves // Image // Credit Image // Jason Surkan
  14. 14. 14 // The Mamawi Project Audie Murray & Stephen Mussell //
  15. 15. 15 Owning Ourselves // 1 1 This tweet was originally published February 2021 by Stephen Mussell on his personal twitter account. Responding to Audie Murray’s solo exhibition Weaving The Threads at Neutral Ground Artist Run Centre in Regina, Saskatchewan, Mussell is speaking from the perspective of someone who practices Aboriginal law. He is directly referencing the piece I Am You And You Are Me, 2020, which is filmed documentation of a performance situated in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Film stills of this performance are on the accompanying page.
  16. 16. Kai Minosh Pyle // 16 // The Mamawi Project Ozaawindib …checking in to see if your lover is providing for your needs. …using resourcefulness to protect your loved ones. …expressing self-determination and abundance in your gender. …sharing your power with others through sexuality and spirituality. Antoine Clément …resisting the arbitrary borders of colonial nation-states. …continuing our relationships with other-than-human kin. …expressing your emotions fully and honestly. …resisting social hierarchies with trickster antics. piyêsiwiskwêw …knowing how to use our medicines responsibly. …honouring the names we choose to call ourselves. …taking care of the sick and injured in our communities. …being respected for your differences, not in spite of them. Mary Duchesne …enjoying the pleasures in life even when you are denied them. …finding solidarity among those who share your experiences. …demanding that others honour who you are and nothing less. …finding ways to challenge the policing of our daily lives. Annie Maude McKay …embodying your identity even when you don’t say it out loud. …creating the resources to bring others up with you. …holding onto memories of bright times. …running the show even when you’re not the one in charge. Beulah Brunelle …finding love in the darkest of places. …knowing that it’s never too late to follow your heart. …continuing to evade and imagine beyond carcerality. …bringing others into your circle of kin no matter the circumstances. My Queer Métis Governance Looks Like… //
  17. 17. 17 Owning Ourselves // Image // Brownyn Butterfield
  18. 18. Image // Lynette La Fontaine Lynette La Fontaine // 18 // The Mamawi Project FIRE BACK //
  19. 19. 19 Owning Ourselves // While visiting the Manitoba museum during the beading symposium in 2020, I saw an embroidered bag with the statement “fire back” on it. I was immediately moved by this powerful piece. I spent many months reflecting on what it might mean to have my/ our [Michif] “fire back.” I was taught we have a spiritual fire to tend. I am responsible for feeding my fire, protecting it, and more. We have sacred fires for ceremony. There are fire keepers. I burn my leftover beading materials such as thread, scrap hide, and wool. I burn my cut hair. I make offerings with tobacco and food to the sacred fire. We gather around fires. So, what did our ancestor intend with this resistant statement? What does it mean to have our “fire back?” As a Two-Spirit Michif / otipemisiwak tastawiyinawak, it means picking up and waking up stories and knowledge. I believe this is my responsibility, not only for myself and my own healing, but for my children, future generations, family, communities, Nation, and ancestors. I was taught that, when I heal, I heal seven generations back and seven generations forward. Picking up the pieces ripped apart by colonial violence and genocide means I am rebuilding and taking my fire back. Relearning our language. Relearning our art forms. Relearning our stories. Leaning into and committing to decolonizing work. All My Relations. FIRE BACK //
  20. 20. Mike Gouldhawke // 20 // The Mamawi Project Whatever we may be called by others, we know who we are, “Ka tip aim soot chic – the people who own themselves,” wrote Maria Campbell at the end of her 1978 children’s book, Riel’s People: How the Métis Lived. In the first chapter of her 1973 book Halfbreed, Campbell described how, historically, in the absence of a colonial government, we as Métis people governed ourselves according to the laws of the bison hunt. As Campbell explained in her brief summary of the Northwest Resistance of 1885, Gabriel Dumont “had no faith in the federal government” and believed that only armed resistance could get our people what we were looking for. Along similar lines, Katherena Vermette’s recent graphic novel series, A Girl Called Echo, connects our past to our present and focuses on our whole communities, of all the individuals that make and sustain them, not just the big names recorded in mainstream histories. As it happened, my own extended family was on both sides of the conflict in 1885. My cousin James Isbister, one of those selected to retrieve Riel from the United States, ended up being briefly imprisoned even though he wasn’t a fighter, while another cousin, Thomas McKay, who sided with the RCMP (North- West Mounted Police at the time), was elected as an official in the colonial government. It seems to me that there has always been a tension within our communities between trying to be a people without bosses or trying to work with the colonial bosses and become sub-bosses ourselves within the colonial structure. This dynamic has become more complex over time, but I’ve been inspired recently by groups like Red River Echoes and various other Métis individuals who are trying to return to the grassroots level by organizing ourselves, in solidarity with others. The Scottish settler Alexander Ross, in his 1856 book about Red River, criticized Métis people for strictly following the Indigenous principle of sharing with one another, which he identified as “divide while anything remains,” and he claimed this led our people to be “generally all reduced to the same level.” In other words, looking after each other to such an extent that individuals couldn’t accumulate wealth at the expense of others. In an article in the New Breed magazine in 1975, Rose Bishop wrote that we have been “a nation of people whose socialistic ideas could not be destroyed” other than through the power-hungry aggression and cultural genocide planned and perpetrated by Christian missionaries and the colonial state. In the 1960s–70s, the Bishop family were not alone among Métis in Saskatchewan who were opposed to the capitalist system. Through our resistance to this day, we continue to keep the state’s plans from being fulfilled. When Malcolm Norris was forced to resign from the Prince Albert Friendship Centre just for writing an article in support of a 1965 Anishinaabe demonstration in Kenora, Ontario, the importance of Métis self-organization and autonomy from the colonial state became clearer, at least to some of our people. Divide While Anything Remains //
  21. 21. 21 Owning Ourselves // “In Saskatchewan … we deal with governments as little as possible,” Howard Adams told the Vancouver Sun in 1970. “We deal with our own people at the grassroots level.” Linda Finlayson travelled from Saskatchewan to Kenora in 1974 to support the armed re-occupation of Anicinabe Park. She wrote about the struggle in the New Breed magazine, saying “we are proud that the Métis Society of Saskatchewan was one of the few organizations that supported the Native people of Kenora as they fight for justice.” Maria Campbell, in her foreword to the 2012 book, Contours of a People, and scholars Brenda Macdougall and Allyson Stevenson in various writings, have provided us with histories that highlight Métis women’s active role in governance and community self-organization. This is information about our past that we can use as a tool to rebuild anew in our present and future, going beyond the current cis-male dominated and state-collaborationist models that hold us back from truly being a people who own ourselves. In early 2020, Métis individuals and small groups were out at street demonstrations and actions across the country in support of the Wet’suwet’en struggle for Indigenous sovereignty and against pipeline development. Today the grassroots Métis people at the forefront of social struggles are queer, trans, two- spirit, and non-binary. Today the struggle still involves uniting to share among ourselves — despite what remains of the hierarchical organizations that claim to represent us — and also organizing ourselves to take action, to try to divide up the structures of oppression until nothing remains of them. Fighting against the system of exploitation and domination that not only negatively affects us, but all of our relations. Striving to live a collective life not just worthy of our name, but truly worth living. Divide While Anything Remains // Image // Jason Surkan
  22. 22. Jack Theis // 22 // The Mamawi Project Root Cellar Many people in Winnipeg have a get-away, a cabin on a lake where my ancestors used to swim. I have a basement-level apartment with a leaky shower head and a Métis flag covering up a broken window. I prefer my basement, my root cellar, where my roots go deep and the resistance burns steadily as the pilot light. Bannock at Sunset I kinda miss those -20°C nights. The warm, rosy 5 o’clock sunsets lingering over flat plains blanketed in snow. Soft, sweeping clouds and powdery white smoke from all the furnaces. Laughing with my neechis, all of us about to devour our friend’s perfectly baked cast-iron bannock. Buttery and fluffy with margarine and homemade jam. What did our Dene host put in this bannock if not some of those soft, sweeping clouds outside her window? McGregor It’s 10:00pm and I just got out of Tuesday night jigging practice at the Métis Club on McGregor. It’s January and almost -60°C out, so I bundle up and watch as my breath lingers in the cold air. Under a single street lamp, my breath glows like ectoplasm in those old séance photos from the Hamilton House just across the Red River. I watch for as long as my eyes will stay open. They’re shutting not from fatigue, but because my lashes are freezing together. Under a beanie, a scarf, ten layers of clothing, and a wide, pitch-black Winnipeg sky, I climb over a snowbank and keep warm in a Safeway. By the grace of Creator, I ascertain a pack of dried, smoked bison meat. An ancestral smell and taste, it gives me the warmth and energy to wait another hour for the bus. I chew it like my Métis ancestors chewed on bullets. It makes me tough, it makes me strong, it makes me glad to be at that bus stop in the North End in the dead of winter. Indigenous Hygge I miss sitting around my friend’s kitchen table, the three or four of us beading, laughing, and talking Métis politics. As the moose meat cooks, black tea steam rises from mismatched ceramic mugs scattered about the table among small, swirling pools of vintage pumpkin orange, navy blues, and greasy yellows. Slush in the streets and a gentle snowfall. Outside the kitchen window, we look out on a small, cozy backyard enveloped in titanium white. Empty chairs with snow- covered seats are gathered around a fire pit of frost and ice. Winnipeg is so cold, even the spirits huddle together for warmth. Winnipeg Memories //
  23. 23. 23 Owning Ourselves // Image // Credit Image // Jason Surkan
  24. 24. Claire Johnston & Brownyn Butterfield // 24 // The Mamawi Project We travelled as a small caravan to Batoche. We visited and felt the land as our ancestors did. We jigged on the cold soil. We felt the joy of our collective presence, one that screams WE ARE STILL HERE. Photo Credit: Top Left: Brownyn Butterfield // Top Right: Claire Johnston // Bottom Left: Claire Johnston // Bottom Right: Brownyn Butterfield //
  25. 25. 25 Owning Ourselves // Photo Credit: Top Left: Claire Johnston // Top Right: Brownyn Butterfield Middle Left: Claire Johnston // Middle Right: Claire Johnston Bottom Left: Claire Johnston // Bottom Right: Claire Johnston //
  26. 26. Ruby Bruce // 26 // The Mamawi Project Otipemisiwak (The People Who Own Themselves) We farr la daans di Michif (We do the dance of the Michif) Play aen vyayloo (Play the fiddle) Pave our own roads Build our own mayzoons (Build our own homes) Mashoowin our own medicine (Pick our own medicine) Hunt our own manzhii (Hunt our own food) And we eat lii pwayr roozh fresh from lii bwaa (We eat the red saskatoon berries fresh from the bush) We are fiyr to wear our sash (We are proud to wear our sash) Why? Because it is who we are, And what we were made to do. And we want everybody to know; We are still here, This is our home, Poor toozhoor (For Infinity) We are the Métis Nation, Otipemisiwak (The people who own themselves) Otipemisiwak //
  27. 27. 27 Owning Ourselves // Otipemisiwak //
  28. 28. Aron Skworchinski // Every piece of me connects perfectly to the other, creating me and creating my purpose In my blood flows the stories, the lives and the memories of my ancestors who came before me I will continue to live on through my red blood that will flow through the rivers of my children and theirs I was born in a place where the river connects us all it has brought people together it has brought our people to different places in this world and the next It flows through me and it flows through you; River Water River Water // Image // Jason Surkan 28 // The Mamawi Project
  29. 29. 29 Owning Ourselves // Image // Jason Surkan
  30. 30. Image // Jennifer Altenberg Jennifer Altenberg // 30 // The Mamawi Project Raising Matriarchs! An Ode to Lennie-Rose! //
  31. 31. 31 Owning Ourselves // From the moment I felt you I knew … Your bones and blood grew within me … You chose me … Our blood memory is that of the greatest warriors in the west … you must never forget. You grew and you grew … in my tummy And from that moment I knew … When you came to the earthside my darling, I held my breath, the earth stood still, Your cry that awoke the nation in me once again, Our nation, built from resistance, resilience, and love. Our celebration of you … You were here … and you are ready … When you were 1 month, I took you home … and every year since then. To visit the ancestors, your aunties and uncles from across the homeland, they greeted you with open arms … from that moment I knew. That place, our place … a place you will always call home. Every breath, every step, every tune, every bundle … I knew. Every tear, every fall, every test … I knew. This is not a job for the weak or selfish. “A spirited child,” they say … letting you be you, is the most selfless act that I continue to learn each and every day! This responsibility is great, and not by accident … for Mama knows the road is long and hard, and yet my love, we celebrate you. You are unshakable, unbreakable, my fearless Michif Girl. From language classes to fall harvest dances … I knew. At Local meetings and Ma Tante Sa Plant classes … I knew. You will never carry their shame or their hate, You have sat in the circle since birth. You have walked for justice on this earth. The Mooshums and Papa, Your Kokum and Nan. We celebrate you. Your jis michif fingers and jis michif toes. What does it take to build a nation? They ask … From this moment, I knew … … it was you, Lennie-Rose! Raising Matriarchs! An Ode to Lennie-Rose! //
  32. 32. Kayla MacInnis // 32 // The Mamawi Project
  33. 33. Vanessa Prescott // If I had to answer in one word, I would say it’s about connection. It means that as Indigenous people, our way of knowing is based on interconnectedness. Think of a forest and the mycelial network beneath, connecting each tree. We are interconnected to the land and to each other in this same way. As a Clinical Herbal Therapist, it is my role to create space for someone’s whole being, helping them to be seen and held. It’s kind of like going on an adventure with someone you really trust, only instead of exploring the land, we explore the self. In the medicine wheel, we look at spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health. In my practice, I look at these same things, with curiosity and no judgment. Sometimes the most important questions are, “what pains you the most? When did this begin? Is there anything that makes it better or worse?” Those three questions can apply to pathologies but they also apply to our mental health, wellbeing, and relationships with others. The area of medicine that I am most passionate about is the emotional cause of illness. My grandmother used to say that emotions are like sticks and debris in a river, and if we don’t process them, the river won’t be able to flow. The more I learn about plant medicine, the more spiritual the relationship between humans and plants really feels. Humanity is not separate from nature; we are part of the natural world. It is only through industry and colonialism that humans and nature began to feel more separate. The fact that plants offer supportive medicine for every system in the human body is confirmation that humans and plants are connected. Having live medicines that are here to support our lungs, nervous systems, hearts, eyes, immune systems, etc., is unconditional love from the Earth and the ancestors. The medicines exist as a call to return home to oneself and home to the land. As a Plains/Woodlands Cree Métis born and raised on the West Coast, my relationship with the natural world feels stretched and borrowed at times. I am grateful to have family blood that connects me to the prairies where sweetgrass grows. I am humbled to walk this life on the West Coast where the Coast Salish territory is not my own, nor that of my people. The most powerful thing about being a Métis Clinical Herbal Therapist is that I feel held and supported by the land, in ways nothing else could hold me. There is reassurance in the knowingness that the land is holding you too. What does it mean to be a Métis Clinical Herbal Therapist? // 33 Owning Ourselves //
  34. 34. Image // Lindsay DuPré Lindsay DuPré // 34 // The Mamawi Project The aunties who run this place //
  35. 35. 35 Owning Ourselves // the aunties who run this place don’t need votes to build power don’t lead to control don’t show care just for clout fierce love governs through cackles across dinner tables and life advice woven between road trip songs order is kept by telling stories of family victories and sorrows tangled with questions of who we are where we come from where we are going the aunties who run this place aren’t afraid to tell you what you need to hear to smarten up and do better — to want better they remind us that we are loved and worthy worthy of joy worthy of safety worthy of life where we truly own ourselves in times of grief and uncertainty and moments of hope and dreaming the aunties lay truths like medicine backyards, bingo halls, book pages, and board rooms all filled with threads of knowing and healing the aunties who run this place sip their tea with humble smiles ready to work and love with intention understanding that governance happens when we show up for one another The aunties who run this place //
  36. 36. David Werner // 36 // The Mamawi Project Thinking a lot about how we are able to build up our communities, strengthening Indigenous Sovereignty, and healthy relationship building. How much of a difference it makes when you have mentors and Elders uplifting and supporting you. Giving space, compassion, and understanding to youth to grow and learn. Having safe and inviting spaces for Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Peoples. Youth growing up with those healthy relationships and leadership skills and being next to take on those mentorship roles, teaching the next generation to be leaders in their communities. Also thinking about how we can go about healing our younger selves, carrying and using traditional knowledge in our everyday lives and helping
  37. 37. Danielle Lussier // This herd of bison, carrying Métis law and history from prior to the Victory at Frog Plain through present day, is beaded on the back of the Law with Heart Honour Shawl which formed part of my doctoral dissertation in law. The further I moved through my university education in a very conservative discipline with deep investments in the colonial status quo, where our knowledge and laws have long been disparaged and denigrated, it became increasingly important that I insist on the right to intellectual self-determination in academic spaces. Intellectual self- determination is something I am not sure we talk about enough in community, and it was important to me to centre and valourize Métis ways of knowing, loving, and sharing knowledge in my work. Most importantly, beading part of my dissertation allowed my three young children to immerse themselves in the process alongside me and “read” my thesis. In all the work we, as Métis people, do to exercise our rights to govern and own ourselves, the children are – and have always been - one hundred percent of the point. To learn more about the herd, I invite you to read the legal love letter to my children here: 37 Owning Ourselves //
  38. 38. Mackenzie Durocher // 38 // The Mamawi Project Less than a century ago, most Métis children were born into the arms of traditional lay- midwives: grandparents, sisters, and aunties. Our traditional homelands are vast and are still where most Métis relations call home to this day. North of what was considered crop-land, incentivized for the taking, much of the land and routes our families called home remains virtually untouched by anyone but our kin. My father was born on the shores of such land. Living as part of these communities meant bearing witness to the processes of life, birth, and death. Childbirth was a process that my grandmother witnessed fairly regularly for nearly a decade. Living on the shore of a northern lake in the middle of the last century meant any trip to the nearest community center with medical facilities was something only reserved for emergencies. For the majority of her births, she stayed in her homelands to birth and raise her babies in peace with her family and traditional medicines nearby. For at least a few years from birth and for many of the most impactful moments in childhood development, she was able to know and raise her children. It wouldn’t be long before they were taken to residential schools in Timber Bay and Île-á-la-Crosse. Pregnancy care has changed greatly over the last 50 years. The cultural shift away from midwifery care has impacted families from all backgrounds, and in combination with ongoing genocide campaigns by the Canadian government, this shift has left entire Indigenous communities forced with making choices that only disconnect them further from family support and cultural traditions — increasing harms for both parents and babies.¹ ² For decades, families in remote northern communities have been forced into choosing to travel hours away from home for perinatal care and support in childbirth, known as medical evacuation, away from other children, partners and kin.² Saskatchewan only issued a statement in 2021 ending the discriminatory practice of birth alerts, another form of racist abuse that disproportionately harms Indigenous children.³ Indigenous and Black parents are 2–3x more likely to die during childbirth than their white counterparts, even when adjusted for level of education and other life experience factors.� Racism in the Canadian medical- industrial complex continues to play a huge role in the experiences of Indigenous kin. The Quebec Coroner’s Office report on the death of Joyce Echaquan released in late 2021 urged the government to acknowledge systemic racism in health institutions, that “her death is directly related to the care obtained during her hospitalization” and “could have been avoided.”� Giving Birth to Our Nation: Holding Families Through Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum // , Image // Jason Surkan
  39. 39. 39 Owning Ourselves // Giving Birth to Our Nation: Holding Families Through Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum // There is great wisdom in the ways our ancestors nourished their bodies, minds, and souls to bear a brand new nation. Incorporating these practices into the birthing year is a way to resist colonial interference and reclaim parenting as a rite. Rest assured, this does not necessarily mean giving birth in an off-grid cabin in the bush. My Auntie laughs recalling a speeding ticket she got on her way to the hospital for her daughter’s first birth — totally worth it, she assures. This sacred time calls your community to support you. To cook and feed you from the land and teach you about these medicines. To hold space for you, listening and learning from your experience as you prepare to meet your baby in an exceedingly complicated culture. To invite you to learn through ceremony, sharing teachings and providing connections where appropriate. To stand behind you as you assert your power as a parent. It’s about raising a generation who are confident to say “THIS IS MY BODY” in the face of twisted systems, confident in the power they hold, and held by community. Supporting, loving, and advocating for expectant and new parents in our families and communities provides us with the opportunity to create change, every single time; they hold our children, they hold our power, and together we must hold them. ¹ Wilk et. al (2017) ² Exner-Pirot et. al (2018) ³ Government of Saskatchewan (2021) � Centers for Disease Control (2019) � Quebec Office of the Coroner (2021) References Thank you to my father George Durocher and Auntie Helene Durocher for sharing stories with me. Centers for Disease Control (2019). Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths. Press release. Exner-Pirot, H., B. Norbye and L. Butler (eds.) (2018). Northern and Indigenous Health and Health Care: Indigenous Birth. University of Saskatchewan. Available from: Government of Saskatchewan (2021). Birth (Maternity) Alerts: January 2021 Update. Quebec Office of the Coroner (2021). Death of Mrs. Joyce Echaquan: Coroner Géhane Kamel files her investigation report. Press Release. Wilk, Piotr, Alana Maltby, Martin Cooke (2017). Residential schools and the effects on Indigenous health and well-being in Canada—a scoping review. Public Health Reviews, 38(1). doi:10.1186/s40985-017-0055-6
  40. 40. Breanne Lavalee-Heckert // I am a Michif woman and I am free all the things no one wants me to be bright, bold, barefoot on the banks of the Red talking to spirits laughing with the dead a body that is soft and strong a voice that carries truth and song hair that smells of sex and sage eyes that shine with love and rage vision that stretches prairie skies joy so rooted it never dies the living legacy of shameless half breeds ghosts who remember Canada’s greed and even though they still want us gone our children’s children will live on I am a Michif woman and I am free all the things my ancestors prayed I would be free // 40 // The Mamawi Project
  41. 41. 41 Owning Ourselves // Image // Jason Surkan
  42. 42. Jocelyn Lamothe // 42 // The Mamawi Project I grew up knowing of my Métis heritage from my father’s ancestry. Although my mother’s family lineage is European settler, we were very much involved as a family in building our home and living as much from the land as we could on an acreage and small animal farm. My desire to reclaim Métis culture has grown from my strong pride and love of family. With increasing knowledge of family history, including my grandmother’s attendance at IRS in Grouard, Alberta and my great-grandfather’s commitment to fight for Métis land rights in the Battle of Batoche, the desire to learn has only grown more. Learning, and remembering, has occurred along several paths, including beading. I immediately felt a connection to those beads and came to learn that my great-grandmother was the beader in the family. Beading, a beautiful entry point for my own learning journey, has simultaneously grown my connections to family, Elders, and community. Beading, in many ways, is what brought me to this image. I began and continue to bead on felt, yet I became increasingly drawn to the use of traditionally tanned hide. I was gifted this hide by a students’ family two years ago after a mere mention of my interest. I was unsure what to do with it, so I put it in my freezer. With an auntie who holds knowledge and teachings as an Elder, I offered protocol and began to learn. I was invited to a hide camp where I watched, listened, and helped. During this gathering, I was encouraged to return with my own hide. This image is the result of much encouragement and many hours of work. There are many hours of work yet needing to be done before any beaded items will be created with it, but I have remembered something even more important: this hide is a reclamation, and remembering, of stories, knowledge, teachings, and the love of our ancestors. Remembering //
  43. 43. 43 Owning Ourselves // Image // Jocelyn Lamothe Remembering //
  44. 44. Ella Thomson // 44 // The Mamawi Project kin //
  45. 45. 45 Owning Ourselves // Image // Jason Surkan
  46. 46. Philip Jonah Logan Geller // I take the bull by the horns– or is it the bison? do bison have horns? I haven’t seen one in over a hundred days or was that years accountability with compassion responsibility instead of rights fun over fashion never forgetting to say thank you keeping an open heart and clear boundaries honouring your bundle(s) knowing when to say no. when to say yes. when to say I don’t know. when to say maybe being in a rock and a hard place and finding your way out again dancing until your feet hurt and your legs are throbbing playing until the game goes from boring to fun to boring to fun again speaking from the heart until the words run out and the heart beats steady sometimes people ask me what we’re supposed to do next. like I’m the one who has answers. when the truth is I only have questions. and maybe the secret is that there is nutrition in the questions. those questions are what can keep us going. does accountability come with compassion? responsibility instead of whose rights? can fun exist without fashion? did I forget to say thank you? how can I keep an open heart with clear boundaries? where did I put my bundle(s)? did I say no? should I say yes? did I say I don’t know? should I say maybe? who put this rock and a hard place here? how can I find my way out again? should I keep dancing until my feet hurt and my legs are throbbing? did I play until the game goes from boring to fun to boring to fun again? who is speaking from the heart until the words run out and the heart beats steady? I take the bison by the horns with a spoonful of sugar cause it helps the colonization go down? a manifesto of self (governance) // 46 // The Mamawi Project
  47. 47. Lucy Fowler // We Can Again // we sit together in the cold and imagine our world where once we stood face to face and shouted or called or pleaded with our eyes and our hands and our words to push our governments to represent us better to listen now we sit outside boardrooms and wait to hear what was decided for us without us where once we fought or made alliances (or both!) we painted hands and buried grievances stood together against imposed starvation adopted enemies so they became family shared land now those boardrooms speak for us, and look to what First Nations have to snatch it away where once we were fearless in our dreams for our people fighting battles that seemed like lost causes making orangemen eat their words in the street unafraid and unapologetic in defense of our youth now we make plans with asterisks and temper our work to please the authorities who would rather insult the youth than learn from them we sit together in the cold and imagine our world where once we were we can again Image // Jason Surkan 47 Owning Ourselves //
  48. 48. Krista McNamara // I’ve never wanted to accept the idea of self-identifying. Maybe it’s that I just don’t believe that belongingness inherently should be decided from the self. I want to be part of the wholeness of the Nation. Do Penetang halfbreeds still get to come to the hustle? I’ve felt lost trying to understand everything. I’m trying to embody what the responsibilities and wholeness of being entail. That giving. That sharing. That care. That visiting. That kinship. That gifting. That reciprocity. That showing up. (All this pain and confusion has really pulled me back. It’s a familiar pain that makes me retreat into myself. Maybe I’m looking for permission to keep showing up? Maybe this is all on me, but it feels bigger than that.) My community is here, my relatives are here — I’m happy to sit and share with any relatives and relations. I want to keep giving my whole heart. I don’t want to distract from all of the more important work, but I feel constantly pulled to have this talk. Where do we meet outside the money? Outside the academy? Like a trusted friend told me, we’re all fighting for scraps at the feet of the KKKanadian government instead of looking at the true enemy. I look to my ancestors’ beadwork and had some cousins show me the infinity beaded in the flowers. I want to keep embodying the love of that piece — that love and those teachings that can last forever. I want to love like my grandmas love. I want to heal for my ānikōbijigan. If we’re talking governance, how do I show up for all of you? How do we embody the loving ways of being and knowing? How do we show up for the Nation? Where do I fit into the Métis Nation? Are we still welcome? Can we have tea sometime? Can We Have Some Tea Sometime? // 48 // The Mamawi Project
  50. 50. Sheila Laroque // In July 2021 The Mamawi Project hosted the mamawihisicikewin gathering, a virtual event that brought together Métis young(ish) folx with roots across the Homeland. One of the highlights of the gathering was Chelsea Vowel and Molly Swain's conversation about Métis activism, organizing and future building. This piece was inspired by their conversation. We are: “very committed to total liberation” We have: “somehow got through doorways that were closing and it’s awesome” We just get shit done, however we need to do it. Push ourselves into places; we’ll do whatever it takes. We are understanding our history and recognizing that we are doing it differently. We understand that Canada isn’t going to be here forever. There’s not one way to do things. No matter what; we have a core set of ethics. Bring back capital P Provisionality! Eyes on the prize: total liberation! Governance 101 Lessons with Molly Swain and Chelsea Vowel // 50 // The Mamawi Project
  51. 51. Laura Forsythe // Taanshi kiyawaaw. Hello, how are you all? Laura Forsythe d-ishinikaashon. My name is Laura Forsythe. I am Michif/Métis from the Red River Settlement and grew up in the heart of the Métis Homeland, like the generations of women before me. My family has been in the Winnipeg Region since the inception of the Métis Nation, with our women serving as equal contributors to the pursuit of nation- building and the strength of our communities. In keeping with the examples of strong Métis women before me, I have taken on numerous roles within my government. Not only am I a citizen of the Manitoba Metis Federation, I am also an elected official at the local level. I co-founded a local at the University of Manitoba to assert educational sovereignty for the students, staff, and faculty by providing a voice for Métis people in university governance. I also work to ensure the voices of students are present in the decisions made in MMF governance. I honour the women in my family with my commitment to my Nation. As Maria Campbell has stated, we were and are “nurturers and protectors of the nation” and our families. Métis women were instrumental in the buffalo hunts, the top economic driver of the Métis. Through storytelling, Métis women have intergenerationally taught Métis history to their communities, including traditional knowledge, community history, ancestor biographies, and our ways of life. Within the kinship networks and the Métis Nation as a whole, women made decisions, as their mothers had before them. Women are foundational to early and contemporary Métis society and thus to our identity. Metis women have long held prominent roles in building our Nation; too often, this work has gone undocumented and I plan to dedicate my life to telling these stories. Read more of Laura’s important work on the historic representation of M Métis women and Métis women in the academy by scanning the QR code here! Dedicating my Life to Métis Women // 51 Owning Ourselves //
  52. 52. Colouring Page // Lynette La Fontaine // 52 // The Mamawi Project
  53. 53. 53 Owning Ourselves // Image // Jason Surkan
  54. 54. Contributor Biographies // 54 // The Mamawi Project CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES // Jennifer Altenberg is a Métis woman from Prince Albert, Duck Lake area. Her Michif roots run deep within Saskatchewan and Red River, Manitoba. Currently living in Saskatoon, Jennifer is a mother, educator, community scholar. Jennifer’s work as an educator and experience as a mother continues to drive her passion to empower young people, creating equitable opportunities and anti-oppressive content in the classroom and within the community. She has spent many years listening, advocating, and deconstructing current pedagogical processes in the education system around Gender-Based Violence and enhancing Michif identity and unity throughout the community with a land- and visual arts- based methodology focus. She is a graduate of the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teachers Education Program at the University of Saskatchewan and completed her Masters in Educational Foundations with a focus on Anti-Racist/Anti Oppressive Education. Jennifer believes that being in touch and working with young people is how we will continue to foster a strength-based approach to support and enhance a generation of proud young Michif Warriors. Angela Blondeau was born and raised in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan by a wonderful German mother and a Métis father who lived a traditional Métis lifestyle of hunting, fishing, and trapping. Angela grew up experiencing a lot of racism, which caused a lot of pain and rejection, but she is healing through connection to the land, God, and the Métis community. Her passion is Métis community and cultural development. She is grateful to have benefited from Gabriel Dumont Institute’s programs, and she tries to give back to the community whenever she can by serving on a GDI Training and Employment committee, working with other Métis people to plan Métis cultural events in the greater Moose Jaw area, and she conducted a needs assessment of the Moose Jaw Métis community in 2018. She believes that the key to building our Nation is to renew kinship ties, bringing all the Métis families together to share our stories and gifts with one another. Each family plays a vital part in our Nation. Ruby Bruce, or Zhaawenoodin/Southern Wind, is a Métis and Anishinaabe visual artist and mother from the Métis community of Saint Laurent, Manitoba. Her family traces its Indigenous ancestry to the Red River Settlement, Turtle Mountain Reservation, and Kitigan Zibi Reservation. Ruby has always held a strong connection with her community, family, culture, and Shkaakaamikwe (Mother Earth). The vast majority of her work illustrates and celebrates Métis and Anishinaabe culture and the beauty of the natural world, particularly the beauty of Manitoba’s Prairies. Lindsay DuPré is a Métis scholar, community organizer, mom, and auntie with Red River Métis family roots in Manitoba. She was born, and has spent most of her life, in Ontario on Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Wendat territory. She carries Métis, Cree, Scottish, English, Irish, and French ancestry and is a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario. Lindsay’s partner and son are members of Waterhen Lake First Nation and so she also has close relationships and responsibilities within Treaty 6 territory. She is an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Victoria in the School of Public Health and Social Policy and a co-founder of The Mamawi Project.
  55. 55. Mackenzie Durocher is Métis, raised in the small Métis settlement of Doré Lake in the Treaty 6 Territory of northwestern Saskatchewan. My father is Métis and my mother is of Celtic immigrant descent. I spent a great deal of my childhood living and learning along the lakeshore: commercial fishing in the winter — taking my naps as a toddler in fish tubs in the Snowbug was the norm, and in the summer, learning how to navigate the boat to camps and foraging spots, using only the shape of the shorelines and hills beyond. The water will always be my first home. My family moved to midwestern Saskatchewan after the local school in Doré closed, and I grew up witnessing a disconnect between children and our Earth’s natural cycles. In my teens, a passion erupted for connecting others to nature and land-based learning, and I spent a lot of time in my youth volunteering in wildlife conservation education. After studying and working in environmental education for years, I kept finding myself thriving while supporting families on a deeper level during times of life transitions. I have shifted my work to include all of my passions; storytelling, land-based learning, and full-spectrum doula support. I am the owner/operator of Delta Durocher Full- Circle Family Care, full-spectrum doula and consulting services: supporting informed and empowered decision-making for every body and every family along & between the Battle and North Saskatchewan Rivers in midwestern Saskatchewan. Lucy Fowler is a Two-Spirit Métis woman, born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and her family were Sinclairs, Cummings, Prudens, some of whom took scrip in St Andrews, and she also has other family and ancestors from Red River, Oxford House, Norway House, and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, and settler family from Ireland and the Orkney Islands. Lucy is a community organizer, dedicating most of that time to The Mamawi Project, the Two-Spirit Michif Local of the MMF, and Red Rising Magazine. Lucy is a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba with a research and teaching focus on Métis youth identity, Indigenous education, queer theory, and youth cultures. Laura Forsythe, a Métis scholar in the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg, and teaches Indigenous and Inner-city Education. Forsythe’s commitment to Métis community engagement includes a Delegate for the Métis Education and Training (MET) Local Advisory Committee and establishing the MMF Bison Local at the UofM. Philip Jonah Logan Geller (he/they) is a Métis (Red River) and Jewish (Ashkenazi) theatre director, artist, and educator, who is focused on decolonizing his process by listening to and dialoguing with ancestral and cultural knowledge. Their practice includes land-based creation, circular storytelling, and destabilizing hierarchical power structures in the rehearsal process, with a focus on anti-oppressive/anti-racist modalities. He has worked across Turtle Island as an actor, director, dramaturg, producer, clown, and devisor with companies and festivals like Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Stratford Festival, Shakespeare in the Ruff, Theatre YES, Gwaandak Theatre, Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Citadel Theatre, Nextfest, Play the Fool Festival, Edmonton Fringe Festival, and Paprika Theatre Festival. They have been through a BFA from University of Alberta and an MFA from York University. He is pursuing an MEd in Urban Indigenous Education from York University. Although, more importantly, he learns from all the incredible relations — human and more than human — he has the fortune of visiting with. Upcoming publications in Canadian Theatre Review and Pércée: Exploration en art vivant. Mike Gouldhawke is a Métis and Cree writer whose family is from kistahpinanihk (City of Prince Albert) and nêwo-nâkîwin (Mont Nebo) in Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan. He is based out of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Səl̓�́lwətaʔ, and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm territories (Vancouver, British Columbia) and has been part of Indigenous and anti-capitalist movements in the city. 55 Owning Ourselves // CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES //
  56. 56. 56 // The Mamawi Project Sydney Hannusch is a mixed Métis and Anishinaabe Two Spirit Indigiqueer woman with European ancestry. They are a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, whose family is from Penetanguishene/Georgian Bay. They are also a member of O:se Kenhionhata:tie, Land Back Camp local to Waterloo Region. Their artwork is predominantly focused on beadwork and printmaking. You can find their artwork on Instagram @Kakimoowun. Claire Johnston (she/they) is a Michif person with swedish, scottish, and english settler ancestry. They currently live in Winnipeg and have Métis family roots in St. Andrews, Manitoba. Conor Kerr (he/him) is a Métis/Ukrainian educator, writer and harvester. He is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, part of the Edmonton Indigenous community and is descended from the Lac Ste. Anne and Fort Des Prairies Métis communities and the Papaschase Cree Nation. His Ukrainian family settled in Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan. Conor works as the Executive Director of Indigenous Education & Services at snəw̓eyəɬ leləm̓ (Langara College) and lives in Vancouver on the unceded territories of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh & Musqueam First Nations. In 2019, Conor received The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and in 2021 The Malahat Review’s Long Poem prize. His writing has been published widely in literary magazines and anthologized in Best Canadian Stories 2020, Best Canadian Poetry 2020. His first two books were published in 2021, a poetry collection An Explosion of Feathers and debut novel Avenue of Champions. Lynette La Fontaine, muskwa mostos kesigok iskew is their spirit name, which roughly translates as bear buffalo northern lights woman. They were given the French name Lynette La Fontaine by their parents, Richard La Fontaine (Métis) and LeEtta La Fontaine (née Poirier and of French and Irish ancestry) at birth. They are a Métis, Two Spirit, mixed media visual artist and artisan with roots in northern Saskatchewan, as well as the historic Métis communities of Red River settlement. They grew up on the traditional, unceded Dakelh territory of the Stella’ten and now currently reside in the traditional Lekwungun territory (Tsarlip and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations). Their work is inspired by connection to the land, heart, spirit, ancestors and teachings from Elders and knowledge holders. With the intent to honour these connections, Lynette utilizes their preferred media of traditional and contemporary beadwork, traditional materials such as porcupine quills, caribou/ elk/ reindeer/ moose hair, white fish scales, and hide, as as well as acrylic painting and fabrics. They aspire to continue to gather the skills and knowledge of traditional Métis art forms, such as horse hair wrapping, quill work, moose hair embroidery, and caribou/ reindeer hair tufting and sculpting, through self-study and knowledge transfer by master knowledge holders. In turn, reciprocating the transfer of knowledge to others, informally and formally. Jocelyn Lamothe is a mother, educator, and Métis beader, born and raised in the Edmonton area. Jocelyn’s Cree-Métis ancestry is traced back through the Peace River area, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Working from her family room, Jocelyn creates floral designs and beaded pieces inspired by traditional patterns, nature, and her own creativity. She incorporates the humble bead teaching, including one bead from her father’s collection in each piece, linking her teachers and family to her creations. Jocelyn intentionally seeks to source beads and materials from Indigenous artists and businesses both locally and internationally. On the journey to deepen the connection to her own family history, Jocelyn found her way to this traditional art form in 2017 and immediately felt a connection to the beads. She has continued to learn from community members, Elders, family, and friends and extends her deep gratitude for all who have encouraged and supported her along the way. âyi hay CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES //
  57. 57. Breanne Lavallée-Heckert is a Michif woman with German settler ancestry from Red River and Treaty 1 Territory. Her Michif family is from the Métis community of St. Ambroise, Manitoba, located on the southern tip of Lake Manitoba. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights from the University of Winnipeg, as well as a Bachelor of Civil Law and Juris Doctor from McGill University. Breanne is passionate about decolonizing understandings of law through the embodiment of Indigenous sovereignties and active future-building. She is a proud member of Red River Echoes, a growing collective of Michif/Métis people who are working towards abolition and land back in Red River. Dr. Danielle Lussier, Red River Métis and citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation, was born and raised in the homeland of the Métis Nation on Treaty 1 Territory. She is mum to three young people growing up as visitors on unsurrendered Algonquin territory in Eastern Ontario. An award-winning educator and administrator, she is a passionate advocate and community builder who believes there is room for love and Métis ways of knowing in law and legal education. She holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Licence en Droit, a Master of Laws with Specialization in Women’s Studies, and a PhD in Law. As an established beadwork artist, she is keenly interested in the relationship between law and beadwork, and she teaches Canada’s only law school seminar focused exclusively on Beadwork and the Law. You can follow her on Twitter @daniellelussier, and she shares her extra-intellectual knowledge production at and Kayla MacInnis is a storyteller born in the prairies but raised by the sea. Through sharing stories that mix visual arts and the written word, Kayla hopes to inspire people to find different ways to connect with themselves and one another. Krista McNamara is a learner, teacher, big sibling, auntie/uncle, and friend. A Penetanguishene halfbreed who’s sensitive and just trying to do some good with their time. Métis Nation of Ontario citizen (L'hirondelle-Brissette|Gendron|Beausoleil|Solomon). Audie Murray is a Michif visual artist currently based in Otos-Kwunee (Calgary, Alberta; Treaty 7 territory). Murray’s maternal family is from Lebret and her paternal family is from the Meadow Lake area, both located in differing regions of Saskatchewan. Her practice is informed by the process of making and visiting to explore themes of contemporary culture, embodied experiences and lived dualities. These modes of working assist with the recentering of our collective connection to body, ancestral knowledge systems, space and time. Murray holds a visual arts diploma from Camosun College (2016), a BFA from the University of Regina (2017) and is currently an MFA student at the University of Calgary. She has exhibited widely, including at the Independent Art Fair, NYC; The Vancouver Art Gallery; Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow; and the Anchorage Museum. Stephen Mussell is Michif (Métis) and a citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation. His mother’s family hails from the Eagle Hills, Duck Lake, and what’s now known as northeastern British Columbia (Pouce Coupe/Progress). His father’s family hails from the historic Métis community located in the Red River Valley, Manitoba. He is an Indigenous rights lawyer and currently serves as the Board Chair of Pivot Legal Society. Stephen has a particular practice interest in Indigenous laws and having them taken seriously as law, equal in weight and force to those of the Crown and its successors. Kai Minosh Pyle is a Two-Spirit Métis and Baawiting Nishnaabe writer originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Currently based in Champaign, Illinois, their work focuses on reclaiming queer, trans, and Two Spirit Indigenous histories. They are also a learner and teacher of the Michif and Anishinaabemowin languages of the western prairies and Great Lakes regions. 57 Owning Ourselves // CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES //
  58. 58. 58 // The Mamawi Project Aron Skworchinski is a Métis woman currently living in Winnipeg, Manitoba located in the heart of the national homeland of the Red River Métis. Growing up in Lockport, Manitoba helped her stay grounded to her prairie roots and connection with the land. She graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Social Work in 2019 that has provided her with a professional foundation built on promoting social justice and human rights. Based in Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing, Aron is passionate about the well- being and future of the community she lives and works in. Jason Surkan was born and raised near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan,and he holds a Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) from Carleton University. He previously studied Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan, Architecture at the University of British Columbia, and completed his Masters of Architecture (M.Arch) degree at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg in 2018. Jason worked as a Graduate Research Assistant studying Métis Architecture as part of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grant. Jason is a member and Interim President of Fish Lake Metis Local #108, and a citizen of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan. Jack Theis is an Anishinaabe-Michif and Eurotrash bookseller, artist, history nerd, and long- time hygge enthusiast. Born and raised in Oak Cliff (Dallas), on occupied Caddo, Wichita, and Tawakoni-Kitsai land, Jack now lives in Minneapolis, on occupied Dakota land. Ella Thomson is a Métis beadworker from Treaty 1 territory. They are passionate about Métis culture and sovereignty and are currently pursuing a degree in Education and Native Studies at the University of Alberta. David Werner is a Michif/Métis and the floral patterns in his work reflect many of the visual motifs found in Métis beadwork. His family are Morrissettes from Duck Bay, Manitoba. Going back, his Parenteau family was at Batoche and going back further, at the Red River Settlement.Both his great-grandparents went to LeBret residential school around 1906. His interest in beadwork came later in life; his family didn’t have any beadwork pieces, and he wanted to create beadwork for his children and future generations. He learned beadwork from Gregory Scofield and Amy Briley. Since then, all his designs are grounded in Métis and Northern Métis style. In 2019, he created a side business that sells Métis inspired stickers at Currently, he is in his 2nd year of law at the University of Saskatchewan. CONTRIBUTOR BIOGRAPHIES //
  59. 59. The Mamawi Project // Red River Echoes