Métis Kinscapes Project: Navigating “Community” While Researching Métis Relations and Peoplehood at Lac Ste. Anne, AB
Presented by Dr. Paul Gareau, Dr. Kisha Supernant, and Dr. Nathalie Kermoal as part of the symposium Reconciliation and Resurgence: Heritage Practice in Post-TRC Edmonton
While most of the histories written about Lac Ste. Anne have focused mainly on the role and influence the Catholic Church had in the area, this project takes a different approach. Through archival research, mapping historical genealogies, conducting archaeological explorations of the pilgrimage site, interviewing community members, and engaging in arts-based research, this team is revisiting current ways of thinking about the heritage site and argues that in order to understand the influence of Lac Ste. Anne’s pilgrimage on Métis peoples’ lives, we need to look beyond religion and focus instead on the notion of kinscapes. Kinscapes are “a set of relational constellations” that link Métis families together across a vast and varied geography, to ancestors and the dead, to other Indigenous and non-Indigenous nations and communities, and to other-than-human beings/forces. By focusing on kinscapes to understand the connective tissue of Métis relations both past and present, the presenters argue that the longstanding Catholic pilgrimage site of Lac Ste. Anne represents a “living” territory that cradles and supports Métis kinscapes through a storied connection to place and continued relations.