Land Family and Identity: Contextualizing Metis Health And Well-Being

The Metis are a distinct society which has their unique cultural, social, and economic orientation. They are nurtured and sustained by their traditions, cultural practices, and stories. Many of the first people were expert fishermen. They used their fishing knowledge to feed their people, however, sitting around all day and fishing did not help mental health. Some even created fishing boats to catch bigger fish further out in the lakes and rivers.

However, most citizens of Canada believe that Metis have no culture, language, or society. This prevalent contradiction has created an environment where the Metis identity is often challenged, and their sense of nationhood has been diminished.

Similar to other Indigenous populations, the Metis underwent colonialism, and the effects were identical to other Aboriginals’ poor health, lack of education, and poverty. With the uncertain economic conditions, the Metis families are struggling to make ends meet.

In the mid-19th Century, Euro-Canadians developed a negative attitude towards the Metis, which to date has an effect on how they are perceived, which affects their health and mental wellbeing.  The Metis are still seen as treasonous rebels due to their effort to protect themselves when the worst happens.

Since the 20th century, the Metis have been the forgotten people, and very few Canadians know who they are. Thus, the Metis barely have access to health services, social services, education, and poverty reduction programs.

A paper done by Dr. Brenda MacDougall provides an in-depth review of Metis experiences.

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