Kokums to the Iskwêsisisak

COVID-19 and Urban Métis Girls and Young Women

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 School of Social Work, University of Victoria, Canada carlyrjones@uvic.ca
  • | 2 School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria, Canada rmonchalin@uvic.ca
  • | 3 Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto and Midwifery Education Program, Ryerson University, Canada cbourgeois@sgmt.ca
  • | 4 Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and Well Living House, Canada janet.smylie@utoronto.ca

Abstract

The national COVID-19 pandemic response presents a sharp contrast to the matrilineal social kinship and knowledge exchange systems that Métis women and girls rely on for safety, security, and wellbeing. In this article, we demonstrate that while Métis women and girls have been left out of the national pandemic response, they continue to carry intergenerational healing knowledges that have been passed down from the kokums (grandmas) to the iskwêsisisak (girls). We show how urban Métis girls and women are both managing and tackling COVID-19 through innovative and community-based initiatives like Well Living House and the Call Auntie Hotline.

Introduction

The absence of Urban Métis young women and girls from COVID-19 public health responses in Canada is problematic since although Métis Peoples account for over a third of the Indigenous population in Canada, they experience major gaps in access to culturally safe health services (Bourassa 2011; Dyck, n.d.; Kumar et al. 2012). Of the three Indigenous groups (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), Métis Peoples are also most likely to live in an urban setting (Statistics Canada 2017). Despite living in urban areas that offer nearby health and social services, Métis People experience severe disparities in health determinants and outcomes compared to the non-Indigenous population.1 These disparities are more prominent among Métis women and girls as Sarah Desmarais (2017) and Annie Smith et al. (2019) argue, making them more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 and developing severe complications. The pandemic public health protocols such as physical distancing and stay-at-home measures also stand in sharp contrast to matrilineal social kinship and intergenerational knowledge exchange systems that Métis young women and girls rely on for their health and wellness. This is worrisome since Métis survival relies on the transmission of cultural knowledge from the Kokums to the Iskwêsisisak. It is because of this rich matrilineal knowledge base and the strengths of our knowledge exchange systems that Métis communities have resisted and survived colonial attempts to erase our ways of knowing, being, and doing.

In this article we provide an historical account of Métis Peoples’ experiences with pandemics, and the role of matrilineal Métis healing knowledges that are passed down from the grandmothers to the girls. We go on to illustrate how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting young Métis women and girls living in urban homelands across Canada. Then we demonstrate how COVID-19 reveals gaps in access to culturally safe health services for urban Métis young women and girls. We conclude with innovative examples of how urban Métis women and girls are leading the COVID-19 response in Toronto and demonstrating intergenerational resilience.

Métis Women's Intergenerational Healing Knowledge and the History of Pandemics

Pandemics such as COVID-19 are not new to Métis Peoples in Canada. In the nineteenth century with increasing settler arrival, Métis and First Nations communities were introduced to contagious diseases such as pertussis (whooping cough), scarlet fever, smallpox, measles, tuberculosis, and Spanish flu, and infectious ones like dysentery as James Daschuk (2019) reminds us. While many foreign European settlers had immunity to diseases endemic to Europe, Métis and First Nations communities suffered high mortality rates. For example, outbreaks were severe and prolonged in the Manitoba Red River settlement, because, in part, of its location along the route into the Northwest. Tuberculosis bacteria and other pathogens spread as infected missionaries and members of canoe brigades passed by communities along the waterways (Daschuk 2019).

As the tuberculosis epidemic in Canada persisted into the 1900s, deeply rooted animosity and subsequent stereotypes of Métis People as inherently inferior, promiscuous, unintelligent, lazy, and unhygienic took hold in the settler society (Macdougall 2017; Maud 2013). Exposure to racial hostility and an absence of positive associations with Métis identity commonly entrenched feelings of shame into Métis children as they developed, with subsequent internalized racism (Tait 2009). Blaming Métis communities for their own health problems led medical professionals to turn a blind eye to the devastating impacts of colonization (Maud 2013). Colonial scholars and so-called helping professionals continued to use racist and discriminatory arguments well into the twentieth century to explain why Indigenous Peoples were responsible for the persistence of tuberculosis and to promote assimilationist policies. For instance, as Velvet Maud (2013) notes, the Canadian Association of Social Workers argued in 1949 that the personal behaviors and lifestyles of Métis People resulted in pervasive unemployment and poverty, putting them at increased risk of contracting and spreading tuberculosis and other diseases.

While pandemics have had detrimental impacts on Indigenous Peoples, Métis women have always held and continue to hold integral roles in the survival, health, and wellbeing of their communities (Anderson 2011; Campbell 1973; Kermoal 2016; Monchalin 2019). In an interview exploring the role of women in her own community, Métis Elder Maria Campbell recalled the Cree term notokwe opikiheet (old-lady raised) in reference to children in her community who were given to the grannies to be raised and educated in traditional skills and practices (Anderson 2008). Campbell explained that the practice of having girls raised by grannies was to ensure traditional knowledge about health and wellbeing would be carried forward intergenerationally. Campbell's story illuminates the crucial role of Métis girls in receiving and transmitting Métis health knowledge through whakotowin (Métis kinship roles and responsibilities), through which knowledge is transmitted to future generations (Flaminio et al. 2020).

Kristin Burnett (2010) discusses how, with exposure to new diseases, Métis and First Nations women drew on existing traditional healing knowledges and applied these in new ways, while incorporating elements of Western medicine that proved effective. Despite the progressive and scientific healing knowledge that Métis and First Nations women practiced, the European settlers, given their religious views, increasingly silenced and forced this knowledge underground. Kai Minosh (2017) asks, “Where were the Métis women of our past? The ‘great man’ approach to history leaves little room for the stories of the women who were too often—in their day and ours—seen as inconsequential” (22). An example of the silencing of Métis girls can be seen in an unpublished version of Maria Campbell's 1972 book, Halfbreed, that was found in the McMaster University archives. According to Goodyear (2018), the publisher, with a red marker, crossed out 14-year-old Maria's account of her experience with large Xs:

I was nearly to the door when the other [Mountie] came in. All I can recall is being dragged to Grannie's bed where the man tore my shirt and jeans. When I came to, Grannie was crying and washing me off. I must have been in a state of shock, because I heard everything she said but could not speak or cry despite the pain. (103)

This page never made it to the published copy since it was believed that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would prevent the book from reaching bookshop shelves (Goodyear 2018). For too long, Métis women and girls have been told to keep silent; their voices have gone unheard and their stories have been suppressed. As Sarah Desmarais (2017) states,

It is still the women [and girls] who carry the greatest burden of colonial impact: colonialism inhibited our capacity to maintain cultural cohesiveness by denying us a land base … [and] colonialism imposed and legitimized patriarchal systems of governing. (211)

The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (2019) further documents the connection of forcible land dispossession, the fracturing of Métis women's knowledge systems, and the damage done to the health and wellbeing of Métis women and girls. In recalling the violent removal of Métis families in Ste. Madeleine, Manitoba, the report reads,

Traditional practices that had held the community together and had made the lives of women safe and fulfilling could not continue. As former residents recounted, the old ladies, especially those who acted as midwives, were central to the health of Métis women [and girls] in Ste. Madeleine. They would not only attend births but were the holders of deep community cultural knowledge. After the evictions, as the community was dispersed far and wide, many women lost access to the old ladies who had kept them safe during childbirth and had grounded them in the cultural knowledge of their community. (528)

The violent eviction of Métis families from Ste. Madeline is not an anomaly. It is, rather, one story among many about forced displacement that characterizes Métis community encounters with the settler state. In the next section of this article, we demonstrate how the silencing of Métis women's and girl's voices and the fracturing of intergenerational knowledge transfer through patterns of land dispossession have also created environments of vulnerability and scarcity for Métis young women and girls living in the time of COVID-19.

Urban Metis Young Women's and Girls’ Experiences During COVID-19

COVID-19 public health measures are affecting young urban Métis women and girls in unique and layered ways. The physical distancing guidelines have separated or distanced many young Métis women and girls from our extended social kinship systems on which we rely for safety, security, belonging, and health (Anderson 2011); this has significant adverse effects. For example, there have been reports of a sharp rise in violence against Métis and First Nations girls and women because of these public health stay-at-home measures (Sharp 2020), which also bring a heightened risk of children and young people witnessing or suffering violence and abuse (Sistovaris et al. 2020; United Nations 2020;). However, it is important to remember that

[t]he victimization of Métis women [and girls] is not part of our traditional culture. Violence against Métis women [and girls] within their families and communities must be understood as part of a wider spectrum of social stress and turmoil that has resulted from government policies imposed on Métis People without their consent. (Women of the Metis Nation 2007: 2)

The wellbeing and cultural safety of Métis People are often rooted in a reliance on extensive familial relationships and a profound shared sense of mutual responsibility for each other as Brenda Macdougall (2017) reminds us. Physical distancing measures that separate Métis girls from their extended kinship networks creates further strain on Métis lifeways that have already been threatened through processes of colonization. Gathering in ceremony with mentors, extended family, and community promotes the health and healing of Métis girls by reinforcing the important kinship roles in Métis communities and counteracting the racist experiences that harm the dignity and development of Métis girls in Canada (Richardson 2012). Métis girls and young women living through COVID-19 are finding themselves abruptly unable to participate in important ceremonies, rites of passage, and health rituals such as Sweat Lodges, Naming Ceremonies, Berry Fasts, and Rendezvous. Being unable to gather together for ceremonies and to visit with relatives and Elders outside of our households becomes all the more alarming considering how COVID-19 renders Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, and language speakers more susceptible to severe illness and/or death (Starblanket and Hunt 2020). For young Métis women and girls, the death of an Elder is an immeasurable loss that affects our present community as well as the health knowledge transmission to the next generations of Métis girls.

Métis girls and youth in government care are also facing many adverse impacts because of COVID-19 physical distancing, lockdowns, and social isolation measures. Given both the dynamic and evolving nature of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of national data on Métis children involved with child welfare systems across Canada, it is difficult to discern a clear picture of the unique ways in which COVID-19 is affecting Métis girls in government care. However, a recent comprehensive review of the effects of pandemics on children and youth in the care of Canada's child welfare systems identified that girls in care are at heightened risk of harm from COVID-19 (Sistovaris et al. 2020). This is alarming since, prior to COVID-19, Métis youth in government care were less likely to report good or excellent health (Smith et al. 2019). Caroline Tait et al. (2013) have also identified the impact of the strong correlation between health and social disparities and intergenerational child welfare involvement on the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental health of Métis girls.

The literature also reveals that Métis children are both unrecognized and over-represented in provincial child welfare systems (Fast 2017). Since social services are adjusted to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, direct service access and community programming have become restricted, limiting access to support for children and young people in care. Public health measures to reduce risk for COVID-19 transmission have also included the cancellation of supervised visits with biological family members, services required to facilitate parent-child visits, and in-person private visits with social workers for children and youth placed in out of home foster families (Russell 2020). The impact of such measures on the health and wellbeing of Métis children and youth in care can be severe, especially when we consider that many Métis youth in government care are already facing a lack of culturally responsive services and systemic apathy towards fostering meaningful connections to their culture (B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth 2016, 2017). A recent report by B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth 2020 found that many Métis children and youth who experienced a critical injury while in care were not provided appropriate services or supports nor were those who died. This is of great concern since the most common type of injury reported was sexualized violence, primarily experienced by Métis girls. As a result of this violence, Métis girls in government care were more likely to exhibit symptoms of depression and anxiety (B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth 2020).

The alienation of Métis girls from their family, community, and culture not only severs protective relationships that Métis girls have with their culture and identity, but also disrupts knowledge transmission vital to the health and wellbeing of Métis communities. Through the displacement of Métis girls, women, and Elders from their traditional positions of authority as knowledge keepers, Métis perspectives on what it means to live and be well are rendered invisible (Gaudet 2019).

Exposing the Gaps in Access to Services and Resources for Urban Métis Young Women and Girls during COVID-19

Métis Peoples face major inequities in accessing health and social services, often finding themselves, as Janet Smylie at al (2009) put it, “caught betwixt and between” (35) First Nations and mainstream services. Métis Peoples being caught thus is an outcome based on decades of colonial and racial divides inflicted on Métis Peoples by the Canadian settler government in an attempt to gain access to Indigenous land (Fiola 2015; Smylie et al. 2009). The legacy of jurisdictional disputes includes social inequities and poor health, and this is most evident in the social status and health of Métis women and girls (Desmarais 2017; Tait 2009).

These gaps in services for Métis girls are problematic given the severe disparities in health determinants and outcomes they experience compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts (Tait 2009). For example, Métis girls are more likely to be overburdened by underlying health conditions such as asthma, which make them more vulnerable to the adverse effects of COVID-19. This is further exacerbated since Métis girls do not have access to Indigenous-specific health services that the federal government provides to status First Nations and Inuit children (Tait 2009). This includes the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program and Jordan's Principle that offer funding for various health services and programs for status First Nations and Inuit children living in Canada. While Métis girls often report health issues similar to those of First Nations and Inuit relatives, they do not receive equal treatment, as Tait (2009) points out.

While Métis girls and their families may have access to mainstream provincial health services, this does not mean that they provide culturally safe environments. For example, when they are accessing mainstream health services, urban Métis women have reported experiencing child apprehension as well as racial discrimination, policing, and experiences of sexual violence and harassment from male physicians (Monchalin, Smylie, and Nowgesic 2020; Monchalin, Smylie, and Dupre 2020). This research is the first of its kind in Canada, so we do not yet have information about such harassment of Métis girls. Métis youth have also reported high rates of discrimination on the basis of race, physical appearance, gender, and family income when trying to access mainstream health and social services (Smith et al. 2019). Many mainstream services ignore the importance of culturally safe health and social services for Métis girls, and are unaware of Métis cultural differences. The result is non-responsive and poorly developed programs that fail to improve the health status of Métis girls (Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak–Women of the Métis Nation 2017). These barriers in accessing health and social services often lead to girls and women avoiding health and social service needs provision, which is deeply concerning in the era of COVID-19 (Monchalin, Smylie, and Nowgesic 2020).

While the data provides strong evidence of severe health disparities among Métis People as compared with others (Chartrand 2011; Evans et al. 2012), there is a lack of comprehensive data related to understanding Métis health and wellbeing (Macdougall 2017). This creates barriers to both the administration of, and access to, appropriate health and social services for young Métis women and girls. The lack of Métis-specific youth research is also concerning considering the distinctiveness of Indigenous populations’ histories, environments, cultures, and worldviews in relation to health experiences, outcomes, benefits, and access (Ning and Wilson 2012). In a May 2020 public health briefing, Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller, recognized that Indigenous populations have a higher risk of being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. In the same breath he acknowledged that Indigenous Services had neither data pertaining to positive cases among Indigenous People living in urban centers nor data on COVID-19 rates for Métis People, as Courtney Skye (2020) reports. Given the lack of reliable public health research and data relevant to COVID-19 and urban young Métis women and girls, their voices are excluded from the design and implementation of the national COVID-19 response, and absent from any efforts to evaluate the efficacy of policies, supports, and services.

COVID-19 public health interventions that may be appropriate for some Canadians may not be reflective of urban Métis women's and girls’ experience in Canada (Starblanket and Hunt 2020). Preventative measures being suggested to all Canadians are tailored towards middle- and upper-class nuclear families and ignore the fact that such strategies are extraordinarily difficult to apply in many urban Métis contexts. We need to remember that, while most Métis girls live with their parents, a high percentage live in large multigenerational family households, often including their grandparents and other relatives (Statistics Canada 2016). The heightened risk of those living in multigenerational households is supported by analysis of Toronto-based data showing that community spread of COVID-19 is concentrated among residents of a handful of predominantly low-income and racialized neighborhoods that also feature higher levels of communal living and intergenerational families living in apartments (Hains and Smith Cross 2020).

Research exploring public health messaging for Manitoba Métis People during the 2009–2011 H1N1 pandemic further suggests that a one-size-fits-all approach to public health messaging is not particularly effective for Métis populations, and that targeted culturally relevant interventions are needed to reflect the unique characteristics of a community while demonstrating sensitivity to a population's internal diversity (Driedger et al. 2015). At the same time, public health messaging that is overly focused on risk and on the vulnerability of Métis People while ignoring Métis strengths and resilience is also problematic. Not only does this lack meaning for Métis women and girls, but in many cases, it has been described as perpetuating racist stereotypes (Dyck 2019).

The federal government (Government of Canada 2020a) initially pledged $305 million to help First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities, with only $15 million set aside for organizations providing services to those living off reserves or in urban centers, where the majority of Métis girls live. While there was no deadline for communities to access funds, urban and off-reserve organizations were required to compete for funds through a call-for-proposals (CFP) process with a 7-day window to apply between the launch of the CFP and the deadline for submission.2 The competitive application process and tight deadline put an undue burden on urban organizations that were already struggling to respond rapidly to community needs through the first months of COVID-19. This inequitable funding strategy prompted Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak (LFMO), a collective body representing Métis Women in Canada, to call publicly on the federal government to consider additional funding to address the impacts of COVID-19 and the resulting economic, health, social, and security hardships experienced by Métis women, girls, and gender-diverse people (Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak – Women of the Métis Nation (LFMO) 2020: n.p.). LFMO President Omeniho notes,

Métis women's and girls’ physical, cultural and security needs are not being considered in the development of this funding … While Canada's initial $50 million plan expressly called for support to Indigenous women, we have not been able to secure any assistance, and we are concerned that the needs and necessary supports of Metis women will be ignored again. (LFMO 2020: n.p.).

The Canadian settler government has provided minimal COVID-19 resources and support for Urban Métis People. At the same time, COVID-19 has further revealed the gaps in access to culturally safe health and social services for young Métis women and girls. These gaps highlight the fact that there is often no safe place for them to go in the event that Métis girls and their families experience adverse effects to COVID-19. In the next section, we demonstrate how despite being silenced and ignored, intergenerational health and healing knowledges have been passed down from the Métis old-ladies to the young girls and translated into COVID-19 responses in urban homelands.

Innovative Examples of Community-Based Responses to COVID-19 by Urban Métis Women

Although our communities are not homogeneous, many Métis People understand individual health to be directly related to the health of the wider family, community, and to the land since a foundation in Métis culture is fundamental to both individual wellbeing and community wellness (Chartrand 2011; Monchalin, Smylie, and Dupre 2020). This wider family includes our First Nations relatives. There are two innovative examples of current community-based COVID-19 initiatives that are led by urban Métis women in Toronto. These initiatives demonstrate that despite decades of assimilative and racist colonial policies that continue to try to target and silence Métis women's and girls’ voices, they continue to carry intergenerational healing knowledges that have been passed down from their kokums to them as iskwêsisisak. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, these initiatives support the larger urban Indigenous community in Toronto.

Well Living House

The Well Living House (WLH) is an action research hub comprised of Indigenous health researchers, health practitioners, and community grandparents who are working together to improve the health and wellbeing of Indigenous infants, children, and their families. WLH is located in St. Michael's Hospital-Unity Health Toronto. In late March 2020, as COVID-19 infections began to surge in Toronto, Metis/Cree physician and WLH Director, Janet Smylie and the WLH team contacted the National Association of Friendship Centres and began to partner in the production of accurate and Indigenous-specific COVID-19 information that was relevant for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis living in urban and related homelands. This included a series of culturally relevant fact sheets about how COVID-19 can be spread, prevention methods, symptoms, and testing information (Well Living House 2020). Smylie has also been actively advocating for Indigenous data sovereignty since federal health data systems are not capturing the full extent of the Indigenous COVID-19 burden as Jessica Deer (2020) points out. This has resulted in the omission of COVID-19 information on Metis Peoples and those living off reserve. WLH, in collaboration with Na-Me-Res (Native Men's Residence), Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto, and the Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health at Women's College Hospital, opened Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong (Place of Healthy Breathing) in the Anishinaabemowin. While not specific to Métis girls, Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong provides culturally safe integrated COVID-19 testing, including case management, contract tracing, outreach supports, and referrals that are accessible for Métis girls, women, and their families in Toronto.

Call Auntie: Indigenous COVID Pathways Hotline

Call Auntie is a culturally safe and community-led resource. Métis/Cree midwife Cheryllee Bourgeois heads this up with support from a group of Indigenous birth workers and harm reduction advocates known as the Aunties. The Call Auntie Hotline was set up at the start of the pandemic to be accessible to the Toronto Indigenous community seven days a week from 4:00pm to 9:00pm. The Aunties provide COVID-19 information, resources, advocacy, referrals, self-assessment, self-isolation information, sexual and reproductive health facts, and any secondary support necessary as a result of COVID-19. Call Auntie Hotline is nested in the Baby Bundle Program, born from a research project of the same name rooted in partnership between Seventh Generation Midwives and the Well Living House. The Baby Bundle Program aims to improve access to services and service pathways for Indigenous families and help improve maternal and child outcomes. When COVID-19 struck in Toronto, the Aunties shifted their practice to the emerging needs of COVID-19. They purchased a phone app to generate a shared call network. Through this network, they connect Toronto Indigenous community members with relevant resources based on the individual needs of each caller. Call Auntie Hotline has also partnered with Women's College Hospital's Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health in Toronto to provide an Indigenous-specific warm referral pathway to COVID testing. While Call Auntie is available to the entire Toronto Indigenous community, matrilineal knowledges that are transferred from the grandmothers to the mothers and aunties and from them to the young girls, is fundamental to Métis community wellness, as has been highlighted throughout this article. Call Auntie supports this knowledge transfer by providing community members, such as young Métis girls, a place to call during COVID-19.

Conclusion

While we recognize the lasting impacts of colonial oppression on our communities, we demonstrate here how urban Métis women and girls are both managing and tackling COVID-19 on their own terms. Métis women and girls continue to carry intergenerational healing knowledges that have been passed down from the kokums to the iskwêsisisak. The absence of young Métis women and girls in mainstream COVID-19 public health responses in Canada highlights the need for community-led research into Métis women's and girls’ experiences with violence, with health and social service access, and with government care during this pandemic and beyond. We have highlighted the importance of prioritizing the preservation of Métis lifeways and intergenerational relationships for Métis girls in response to COVID-19. The fact that Métis matrilineal knowledges have survived today in spite of significant forces of silencing and assimilation, is a testament to the ingenuity of Métis women and girls and our ongoing roles as health experts, knowledge keepers, and researchers in our modern and urban communities.

Acknowledgements

We acknowledge that this article was made possible by funding that was provided by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Notes

1

Smylie, Janet, Paul Adomako, and P. Wellington. 2009. “Knowledge Translation and Indigenous Knowledge Research Project: Final Community Report.”

2

Government of Canada. 2020. “Indigenous Community Support Fund.” https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1585189335380/1585189357198

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  • Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak – Women of the Métis Nation. 2017. Women of the Métis Nation Perspectives. https://en2.metiswomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Women-of-the-Metis-Nation-Perspectives-2017-copy.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak – Women of the Métis Nation. 2020. Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak Calls for Gendered Lens in COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/les-femmes-michif-otipemisiwak-calls-for-gendered-lens-in-covid-19-economic-response-plan-801423454.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macdougall, Brenda. 2017. Land, Family and Identity: Contextualizing Metis Health and Well-Being. Prince George: National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maud, Velvet. 2013. “Perceptions of the Metis and Tuberculosis: An Examination of Historical Works.” Canadian Journal of Native Studies 33 (2): 5570.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Minosh, Kai. 2017. “My Grandmother Is Metis History.” Red Rising Magazine, 2 January.

  • Monchalin, Renee. 2019. “Digging up the Medicines: Urban Metis Women's Identity and Experiences with Health and Social Services in Toronto, Ontario (PhD. Diss., University of Toronto.)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Monchalin, Renee, Janet Smylie, and Lindsay Dupre. 2020. “‘I Just Have This Feeling of Unsafeness in a Health Care Setting’: Patriarchy and the Impact on Urban Métis Women's Access to Health and Social Services in Toronto, Ontario.” In Speaking the Wisdom of Our Time, ed. Cathy Richardson and Jeannine Carrière, 147163. Vernon: JCharlton Publishing.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Monchalin, Renée, Janet Smylie, and Earl Nowgesic. 2020. “‘I Guess I Shouldn't Come Back Here’: Racism and Discrimination as a Barrier to Accessing Health and Social Services for Urban Métis Women in Toronto, Canada.” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 7 (2): 251261. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-019-00653-1

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 2019. Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Ottawa: Government of Canada. https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ning, Ashley, and Kathi Wilson. 2012. “A Research Review: Exploring the Health of Canada's Aboriginal Youth.” International Journal of Circumpolar Health 71 (1). https://doi.org/10.3402/ijch.v71i0.18497.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Richardson, Cathy. 2012. “Witnessing Life Transitions with Ritual and Ceremony in Family Therapy: Three Examples from a Métis Therapist.” Journal of Systemic Therapies 31 (3): 6878.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Russell, Susan. 2020. “Community Inquires and MCFD Answers— COVID19 Supports.” https://www.fosteringchange.ca/community_inquires_and_mcfd_answers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharp, Alastair. 2020. “A Spike in Domestic Violence Happening in Toronto due to COVID-19 Experts Say.” Canada's National Observer, 28 April.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sistovaris, Marina, Barbara Fallon, Steven Miller, Catherine Birken, Avram Denburg, Jennifer Jenkins … and Suzanne Stewart. 2020. “Child Welfare and Pandemics Information Sheet.” Toronto: University of Toronto, Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development. https://cwrp.ca/sites/default/files/publications/Child%20Welfare%20and%20Pandemics%20Information%20Sheet_ENGLISH.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skye, Courtney. 2020. “Colonialism of the Curve: Indigenous Communities & Bad Covid DataToronto: Yellowhead Institute.

  • Smith, Annie, Colleen Poon, Samantha Martin-Ferris, Kate Beggs, and McCreary Centre Society. 2019. “Ta Saantii Deu/Neso: A Profile of Métis Youth Health in BC.” Vancouver: McCreary Centre Society. www.mcs.bc.ca.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smylie, Janet. 2008. “Resisting Exclusion: Using Culture to Share Health Information among Metis in Ottawa.” In Canadian Institutes of Health Research, (Ed), Knowledge to Action: A Knowledge Translation Casebook (pp.3942). Ottawa: Canadian Institutes of Health Research. https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/documents/kt_casebook_e.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smylie, Janet, Nili Kaplan-Myrth, and Kelly McShane. 2009. “Indigenous Knowledge Translation: Baseline Findings in a Qualitative Study of the Pathways of Health Knowledge in Three Indigenous Communities in Canada.” Health Promotion Practice 10 (3): 436446. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839907307993

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Starblanket, Gina, and Dallas Hunt. 2020. “Whither the Medicine Chest? COVID-19 and the Histories and Contemporary Realities of Colonial Violence.” In Sick of the System: Why the COVID-19 Recovery Must Be Revolutionary, ed. BTL Editorial Committee, 6178. Toronto: Between the Lines.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Starkes, Jill M, Lola T Baydala, Canadian Pediatrics Society, and Inuit and Métis Health Committee First Nations. 2014. “Health Research Involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children and Their Communities.” Ottawa: Canadian Pediatrics Society.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2016. “Diverse Family Characteristics of Aboriginal Children Aged 0 to 4 Census in Brief.” www.statcan.gc.ca.

  • Statistics Canada. 2017. “Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Key Results from the 2016 Census.” Statistics Canada. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/171025/dq171025a-eng.htm.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tait, Caroline. 2009. “Is Canada failing Métis Children? An Examination of the Challenges and Barriers to Improved Health.” Canadian Supplement to The State of the World's Children 2009: Aboriginal Children's Health: Leaving no Child behind, 3036. Ottawa: Unicef Canada.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tait, Caroline, Robert Henry, and Rachel Loewen Walker. 2013. Child Welfare: A Social Determinant of Health for Canadian First Nations and Métis Children. Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 11 (1), 3953. http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations. 2020. “Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Children.” United Nations Sustainable Development Group. https://unsdg.un.org/resources/policy-brief-impact-covid-19-children.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Well Living House. 2020. “COVID-19 Information.” Toronto: Well Living House. http://www.welllivinghouse.com/resources/covid-19-information/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Women of the Metis Nation. 2007. “Policy Paper on Violence Against Metis Women.” https://en2.metiswomen.org/researchandtoolkits/

Contributor Notes

Carly Jones (ORCID: 0000-0001-8445-7494) is Métis and Ukranian. She is a master's candidate in the School of Social of Work at the University of Victoria. Email: carlyrjones@uvic.ca

Renée Monchalin (ORCID: 0000-0002-3676-1405) is Scottish, Anishnaabe, Métis, and French. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria. Email: rmonchalin@uvic.ca

Cheryllee Bourgeois is Cree and Métis. She is a midwife and co-founder of Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto and a Faculty Member in the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson University. Email: cbourgeois@sgmt.ca

Janet Smylie is Cree and Métis. She is a Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto and the Director of the Well Living House. Email: janet.smylie@utoronto.ca

Girlhood Studies

An Interdisciplinary Journal

  • Anderson, Kim. 2008. “Notokwe Opikiheet-”Old-Lady Raised”: Aboriginal Women's Reflections on Ethics and Methodologies in Health Research.” Canadian Woman Studies 26 (3/4). https://www.academia.edu/39532663/Notokwe_Opikiheet_Old_Lady_Raised_Aboriginal_Women_s_Reflections_on_Ethics_and_Methodologies_in_Health_Research

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  • Anderson, Kim. 2011. Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings, and Story Medicine. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

  • B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth. 2016. “Last Resort: One Family's Tragic Struggle to Find Help for Their Son.” https://rcybc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/rcy-lastresort-oct2016_final.pdf.

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  • B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth. 2017. “Broken Promises: Alex's Story.” https://rcybc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/rcy-brokenpromises-alexsstory-feb2017-lo_web-2.pdf

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  • B.C.'s Representative for Children and Youth. 2020. “Invisible Children: A Descriptive Analysis of Injury and Death Reports for Métis Children and Youth in British Columbia, 2015 to 2017.” https://rcybc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/RCY_Métis-InvisibleChildren_July2020_FINAL.pdf

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  • Bourassa, Carrie. 2011. Metis Health: The Invisible Problem. Vernon: JCharlton Publishing.

  • Burnett, Kristin. 2010. Taking Medicine: Women's Healing Work and Colonial Contact in Southern Alberta, 18801930. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

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  • Campbell, Maria. 1972. Halfbreed Woman: Unpublished. McClelland and Stewart Ltd. Fonds., William Ready Division of Archives and Research Collections, McMaster University Library, Series X, Manuscript Inventory.

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  • Campbell, Maria. 1973. Halfbreed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

  • Chartrand, Larry. 2011. “Maskikiwenow: The Métis Right to Health under the Constitution of Canada and under Selected International Human Rights Obligations.” Ottawa: National Aboriginal Health Organization.

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  • Daschuk, James W. 2019. Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life. Regina: University of Regina Press.

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  • Deer, Jessica. 2020. “Métis Doctor Tapped to Help Analyze Data Gaps in Counting Indigenous COVID-19 Cases.” CBC News, 14 May.

  • Desmarais, D. 2017. “Spare a Thought for Metis Women Elders: Illness and Poverty in Elderhood.” In Making Space for Indigenous Feminism (2nd ed.), ed. Joyce Green, 192210. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

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  • Driedger, S. Michelle, Ryan Maier, Chris Furgal, and Cindy Jardine. “Factors Influencing H1N1 Vaccine Behavior among Manitoba Metis in Canada: A Qualitative Study.” BMC Public Health 15 (1) 115. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1482-2.

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  • Dyck, Miranda. n.d. “Social Determinants of Métis Health.” Ottawa: National Aboriginal Health Organization.

  • Dyck, Miranda. 2019. “Healthy Messages & Métis: Does One Size Fit All? A Look at Specificity, Identity, and Cultural Safety for Métis Women in British Columbia.” Ottawa: National Aboriginal Health Organization.

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  • Evans, Mike, Chris Andersen, Devin Dietrich, Carrie Bourassa, Tricia Logan, Lawrence Berg, and Elizabeth Devolder. 2012. “Funding and Ethics in Métis Community Based Research: The Complications of a Contemporary Context.” International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies 5 (1): 5466.

    • Crossref
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  • Fast, Elizabeth. 2017. “Hello … We're Metis!!: Promoting Metis Visibility in the Quebec Child Welfare System.” In Calling Our Families Home: Metis Peoples’ Experiences with Child Welfare, ed. Jeannine Carriere and Cathy Richardson, 135150. Vernon: JCharlton Publishing.

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  • Fiola, Chantal. 2015. Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Metis Ancestry and Anishnaabe Spirituality. Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press.

  • Flaminio, Anna Corrigal, Janice Cindy Gaudet, and Leah Marie Dorion. 2020. “Métis Women Gathering: Visiting Together and Voicing Wellness for Ourselves.” AlterNative 16 (1): 5563. https://doi.org/10.1177/1177180120903499

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  • Gaudet, Janice Cindy. 2019. “Keeoukaywin: The Visiting Way—Fostering an Indigenous Research Methodology.” Aboriginal Policy Studies 7 (2): 4764.

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  • Goodyear, Sheena. (2018). Maria Campbell's Account of being Raped by a Mountie was Scrubbed from her Memoir Halfbreed. CBC News, 1 June.

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  • David Hains, and Jessica Smith Cross. 2020. “Community Spread of COVID-19 Has Stopped among Much of Privileged Toronto, Analysis Shows—QP BriefingQP Briefing, 18 June. https://www.qpbriefing.com/2020/06/18/community-spread-of-covid-19-has-stopped-among-much-of-privileged-toronto-analysis-shows/

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  • Kermoal, Nathalie. 2016. “Metis Women's Environmental Knowledge and the Recognition of Metis Rights.” In Living on the Land: Indigenous Women's Understanding of Place, ed.

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  • Nathalie Kermoal and Isabel Altamirano-Jimenez, 107138. Edmonton: AU Press, Athabasca University.

  • Kumar, Mohan B, Sonia Wesche, and Conor Mcguire. 2012. “Trends in Métis-Related Health Research (1980–2009): Identification of Research Gaps.” Canadian Journal of Public Health 103 (1): 2328.

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  • LaRocque, Emma. 2007. “Metis and Feminist: Ethical Reflections on Feminism, Human Rights and Decolonization.” In Making Space for Indigenous Feminism, ed. Joyce Green, 5371. Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak – Women of the Métis Nation. 2017. Women of the Métis Nation Perspectives. https://en2.metiswomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Women-of-the-Metis-Nation-Perspectives-2017-copy.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak – Women of the Métis Nation. 2020. Les Femmes Michif Otipemisiwak Calls for Gendered Lens in COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/les-femmes-michif-otipemisiwak-calls-for-gendered-lens-in-covid-19-economic-response-plan-801423454.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Macdougall, Brenda. 2017. Land, Family and Identity: Contextualizing Metis Health and Well-Being. Prince George: National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Maud, Velvet. 2013. “Perceptions of the Metis and Tuberculosis: An Examination of Historical Works.” Canadian Journal of Native Studies 33 (2): 5570.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Minosh, Kai. 2017. “My Grandmother Is Metis History.” Red Rising Magazine, 2 January.

  • Monchalin, Renee. 2019. “Digging up the Medicines: Urban Metis Women's Identity and Experiences with Health and Social Services in Toronto, Ontario (PhD. Diss., University of Toronto.)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Monchalin, Renee, Janet Smylie, and Lindsay Dupre. 2020. “‘I Just Have This Feeling of Unsafeness in a Health Care Setting’: Patriarchy and the Impact on Urban Métis Women's Access to Health and Social Services in Toronto, Ontario.” In Speaking the Wisdom of Our Time, ed. Cathy Richardson and Jeannine Carrière, 147163. Vernon: JCharlton Publishing.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Monchalin, Renée, Janet Smylie, and Earl Nowgesic. 2020. “‘I Guess I Shouldn't Come Back Here’: Racism and Discrimination as a Barrier to Accessing Health and Social Services for Urban Métis Women in Toronto, Canada.” Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities 7 (2): 251261. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-019-00653-1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 2019. Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Ottawa: Government of Canada. https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/final-report/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ning, Ashley, and Kathi Wilson. 2012. “A Research Review: Exploring the Health of Canada's Aboriginal Youth.” International Journal of Circumpolar Health 71 (1). https://doi.org/10.3402/ijch.v71i0.18497.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Richardson, Cathy. 2012. “Witnessing Life Transitions with Ritual and Ceremony in Family Therapy: Three Examples from a Métis Therapist.” Journal of Systemic Therapies 31 (3): 6878.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Russell, Susan. 2020. “Community Inquires and MCFD Answers— COVID19 Supports.” https://www.fosteringchange.ca/community_inquires_and_mcfd_answers.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharp, Alastair. 2020. “A Spike in Domestic Violence Happening in Toronto due to COVID-19 Experts Say.” Canada's National Observer, 28 April.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sistovaris, Marina, Barbara Fallon, Steven Miller, Catherine Birken, Avram Denburg, Jennifer Jenkins … and Suzanne Stewart. 2020. “Child Welfare and Pandemics Information Sheet.” Toronto: University of Toronto, Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development. https://cwrp.ca/sites/default/files/publications/Child%20Welfare%20and%20Pandemics%20Information%20Sheet_ENGLISH.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Skye, Courtney. 2020. “Colonialism of the Curve: Indigenous Communities & Bad Covid DataToronto: Yellowhead Institute.

  • Smith, Annie, Colleen Poon, Samantha Martin-Ferris, Kate Beggs, and McCreary Centre Society. 2019. “Ta Saantii Deu/Neso: A Profile of Métis Youth Health in BC.” Vancouver: McCreary Centre Society. www.mcs.bc.ca.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smylie, Janet. 2008. “Resisting Exclusion: Using Culture to Share Health Information among Metis in Ottawa.” In Canadian Institutes of Health Research, (Ed), Knowledge to Action: A Knowledge Translation Casebook (pp.3942). Ottawa: Canadian Institutes of Health Research. https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/documents/kt_casebook_e.pdf.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smylie, Janet, Nili Kaplan-Myrth, and Kelly McShane. 2009. “Indigenous Knowledge Translation: Baseline Findings in a Qualitative Study of the Pathways of Health Knowledge in Three Indigenous Communities in Canada.” Health Promotion Practice 10 (3): 436446. https://doi.org/10.1177/1524839907307993

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Starblanket, Gina, and Dallas Hunt. 2020. “Whither the Medicine Chest? COVID-19 and the Histories and Contemporary Realities of Colonial Violence.” In Sick of the System: Why the COVID-19 Recovery Must Be Revolutionary, ed. BTL Editorial Committee, 6178. Toronto: Between the Lines.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Starkes, Jill M, Lola T Baydala, Canadian Pediatrics Society, and Inuit and Métis Health Committee First Nations. 2014. “Health Research Involving First Nations, Inuit and Métis Children and Their Communities.” Ottawa: Canadian Pediatrics Society.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. 2016. “Diverse Family Characteristics of Aboriginal Children Aged 0 to 4 Census in Brief.” www.statcan.gc.ca.

  • Statistics Canada. 2017. “Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Key Results from the 2016 Census.” Statistics Canada. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/171025/dq171025a-eng.htm.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tait, Caroline. 2009. “Is Canada failing Métis Children? An Examination of the Challenges and Barriers to Improved Health.” Canadian Supplement to The State of the World's Children 2009: Aboriginal Children's Health: Leaving no Child behind, 3036. Ottawa: Unicef Canada.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tait, Caroline, Robert Henry, and Rachel Loewen Walker. 2013. Child Welfare: A Social Determinant of Health for Canadian First Nations and Métis Children. Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 11 (1), 3953. http://www.who.int/social_determinants/en/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations. 2020. “Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Children.” United Nations Sustainable Development Group. https://unsdg.un.org/resources/policy-brief-impact-covid-19-children.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Well Living House. 2020. “COVID-19 Information.” Toronto: Well Living House. http://www.welllivinghouse.com/resources/covid-19-information/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Women of the Metis Nation. 2007. “Policy Paper on Violence Against Metis Women.” https://en2.metiswomen.org/researchandtoolkits/

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