Sunday, March 3, 2024

In search of Métis country

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Tony Vaughn
Tony Vaughn
"Total creator. Evil zombie fan. Food evangelist. Alcohol practitioner. Web aficionado. Passionate beer advocate."

Artists, they are not burdened by borders, and their gaze can extend beyond the horizon. By closing their eyes, they can see the past, when the indigenous people of Quebec occupied the interior, before they were confined to reserves.

There, they will probably meet the Kenian, the ancestor of the Quebecs, “this obliging coureur des bois”, whose association with the contract of trade ended, and then left to besiege the leisure time in the territory. Pierre Bastien wrote in his essay: “He was a free man, if not literally the first free man in the territory.” American words.

“This free man is a little like us, the landless, we are born, both from a point of view of a relatively modern identity and from a cultural perspective; from Myron to Leclerc, via Aquin and Joffremont, this stateless figure multiplies his indistinct echoes in our poems, novels, and songs.”

Director Pierre Bastien started this process together with poets and thinkers. At the invitation of his friend Louis Hamlin, who signs the preface to the book, Bastien participated in a book meeting organized on the La Romane Dam project, in 2009, in the wake of the book Emitao, let’s talk!, which brings together authors from Quebec and the First Nations, was published in 2008 by Mémoire Encrier Editions.

“My poetry will not stop the dredges, that is for sure!” said the poet Eno Josephine Bacon who participated in the encounter. Indeed, the dredges have passed. The hydroelectric complex of the River Rummen is now completed, which aroused strong opposition, particularly among the First Nations.

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But the American words linger. After making the first movie of it, Pierre Bastien continued his reflection, and American words Installed in his last movie and in the script for the next movie on the subject, Territories, alliances and other crosses, which is scheduled for release in January.

In an interview, Pierre Bastien explained that this whole project was born from the pursuit of identity. “English Canadians had their definition of Canadian 20 or 25 years ago, and we were left out of that,” he says. Thus, he is also concerned with the identity ‘backlash’ experienced by indigenous peoples.

“I thought we had to refocus our positions,” he said. For him, it was about rediscovering the true “Canada”, which is Canada an alliance between the First Nations and the Canadians, who are ultimately the descendants of the French.”

“It is our native land, but it is also our land. We, not in the Quebec sense of the term, we in the sense, we and the First Nations, we are the inhabitants of the territory.”

Because the identity he is looking for is not confined to a political concept. I’m not a politician, and I can’t go into this. These are questions for constitutional scholars. Me, my regional experience, is through the skin. She is on the sand, she is by the water. It is through the other, through his gaze, through his laughter. My experience is on a human level, not at the level of laws. I can’t abide by the laws because I don’t know about them. It’s not my domain. I am not constitutional. “

The identity he found there is that of Métis, attesting to centuries of coexistence with indigenous people who weigh heavier than one would think in Quebec bags.

In concrete terms, Pierre Bastien talks about his meeting with Inoue poet and activist Rita Mistochocho, who has since become a good friend. “The first time I got to her house, I realized that we are not in my place, but in theirs. The house, meaning ‘Don’t think you’re at home everywhere.’ When you arrive and it’s the host who says to you ‘Here is the river, here is this or That”, the host is the one who shows it to you. You are in his place this story, it is not yet identified as such. And Pierre Bastien likes the quote from Jean Maurice who says that “oppressed peoples are doomed to creation”.

braided together

“Serge Simon, the former great leader of the Mohawk community of Kanoaki, said when speaking of the nations inhabiting the territory: ‘We are all braided together,’” wrote Pierre Bastien in his essay.

Poet and Dr. Jean Desis speak of “Métisserie” to name this common profession.

“We are not nations side by side,” continues Pierre Bastien. In an interview, he refers to a wampum held by the late Anichinabe spiritual leader William Commanda. “There were three characters holding hands on the bathtub. They represented First Nations, French in quotes and English in quotes. I think what I’m trying to do with this book is to re-trace a bit of the journey we’ve taken to give us a basis for healthy discussions, not discussions where we’ve been lost in some sort of fusion pot Canadian is like Trudeau, where there is no one, but where everyone speaks English, where everyone lives in apartment blocks. “

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The author is well supported to carry out his quest. His book and upcoming film are backed by the words of Jean Morrissey, Jean Daisy, Rita Mstokocho, Josephine Bacon, Yves Sewe Durand, and others.

American words

Pierre Bastien, Éditions Mains Libres, Montreal, 2021, 216 pages

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