Presenters and attendees at “Expressions of Métis Spirituality and Religion Across the Métis Homeland” symposium. Photo by Randi LaRocque
How is Métis spirituality defined in the homelands?
Symposium explores questions of spirituality and religion
By Randi LaRocque
A symposium on a research study titled Expressions of Métis Spiritually and Religion Across the Métis Homeland was held at First Nations University of Canada’s Regina campus on Sept. 25. The event was jam-packed with Métis presenters and attendees.
During a health break, I had the privilege of talking with Anishinaabekwe, Michif and Nehiyaw Kokum Brenda Joy Dubois. Sitting and talking together in a tipi on the campus grounds, I asked why the event interested her.
“(I like to) be with a collective of people that are on sort of the same mission and to be part of a ripple (to) continue the work,” said Kokum Brenda.
The event attracted a diverse audience, including scholars, students, Knowledge Keepers, and more.
“Hearing all the stories, everybody’s own experiences, and you know, it’s just reemphasizing the diversity that exists within and across our community,” said Melanie Griffith Brice, associate professor in the faculty of education and the Gabriel Dumont Institute research chair in Michif/Métis education.
During the discussions, many participants said they enjoyed working with one another and reconnecting with communities and fellow Métis people. It gave them a sense of belonging and helped them better understand and define their spirituality and religion, whether Catholicism, spirituality or a mixture of both.
Listening to the speakers, I learned that religion and spirituality are different among Métis people. Some may be Catholic or may follow First Nations spirituality. Métis people have influences from a wide range of areas in their life.
“I still sort of feel it’s a complicated piece in walking with myself as a human because yes I am Métis, but I am also an Indian. So to honour that part of myself is a duality in my spirit walk,” said Kokum Brenda.
“Little do you realize a lot of the stuff between an Indian and Métis are intertwined, so it’s a little bit (more) easy as you go on with life.”
Randi LaRocque is Métis with familial ties to Lebret, Saskatchewan. Currently, she calls the south-central region of the province her home. Randi is a film student going through First Nations University of Canada, where she also takes the INCA program.