Indigenous Success Stories: Métis

May 11, 2021

Gwich’in Tribal Council and Manitoba Métis Federation

Manitoba Métis Federation – The Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Library and Archives Canada and the NWT Archives are pleased to announce the inscription of two new collections on the Canada Memory of the World Register. These unique and irreplaceable documents highlight the preservation and transmission of Indigenous cultures and knowledge. Created in 2017, the Canada Memory of the World Register promotes the immense diversity of the country’s significant documentary heritage that extends from the initial settling of the land by Indigenous Peoples up to the present time.

The two new inscriptions are:

Gwich’in Tribal Council – Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute fonds
The Gwich’in Tribal Council – Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute (GTC-GSCI) fonds held at the NWT Archives consists of the complete research and administrative records created by the GTC-GSCI over 25 years of work. The fonds is an irreplaceable collection of Indigenous knowledge, created expressly for the preservation and promotion of Gwich’in culture, language, history, archaeology, place names, land use, ecology, genealogy, ethnobotany and traditional skills. This collection is significant as it is the most rich, comprehensive, and meticulous documentation of Gwich’in knowledge in the world. The Gwich’in Tribal Council and the NWT Archives work together to honour the intent of the Gwich’in Elders who wished to safeguard, preserve and provide access to this knowledge for future generations.

Métis Nation River Lot Settlements Maps

Library and Archives Canada holds plans of Métis river lots as required by the Manitoba Act and the transfer of Rupert’s Land and the North Western Territories. These river lot plans, created by Canadian government surveyors beginning in 1870, are important documents in the understanding of the Métis Nation. They are invaluable to the entire Métis Nation because they show where Métis ancestors lived before their homeland was included in Canada. While these river lot plans do not include any Michif, they clearly show where this language originated in Red River and delineate the families that spoke this unique Métis heritage language.

“The history of the Manitoba Métis originating in Red River is the history of the Métis Nation. We are the only Indigenous people to bring a province into Canadian Confederation. On behalf of our Cabinet and Citizens, I’m proud to see our history recognized by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. These river lots show our original role of strength and leadership in the Red River Settlement and give us a chance to reflect on where our Nation would be today, if we had not been forced off these lands. If we had been allowed to flourish and develop, I know our economic growth would have been impressive.”
– David Chartrand LL.D (hon.), O.M., President, Manitoba Metis Federation