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  • Stacey

Metis Scrip

Sir John A. McDonald’s goal was to eliminate Indigenous people, and when that was too difficult, his goal was to eliminate them from the land they lived on.

The Métis were not immune to this. They faced residential and day schools like all Indigenous peoples, but land claims were dealt with differently: through scrip.

The basics of scrip was Métis giving up their Indigenous rights for a small piece of land or monetary payment. One must be reminded that during this time period, food sources had been depleted (the buffalo), rations were being withheld, and unless you were a “white passing” Métis, you had little to no economic power in this new colonial world.

The scrip had to be "cashed in'' at a land titles office, often hundreds of kilometers away from their homeland. The offered parcel of land was often in that area and not on traditional territory of the person. There was no effort to keep communities anywhere near each other, as this would promote the growth of the community, instead of the destruction of it. Due to economic and transportation hardships, many scrip went unclaimed and left many Métis people with nothing - living on the side of a road trying to survive. These 10 foot wide strips of land along the rails and roadways, were places of poverty and death, but also, “were sites of resilience and cultural resistance” (Thistle). Just one more piece of evidence of the power of community over individualism.

"Fast forward to 2013, and the Métis are "celebrating" a Supreme Court ruling that found the federal government failed to follow through on a promise it made to the Métis people over 140 years ago." [1] The Supreme court ruling did not order any particular remedies but does open the door to land claim negotiations - those 5565 acres promised to Métis children includes the city of Winnipeg - or talks toward other forms of compensation from the federal government.

Métis peoples still are in court battles and discussions with the federal government to establish their rights as Indigenous peoples. Métis still do not have a federal governing body or any claim to federal Indigenous rights (even though a Supreme Court case win says otherwise). For a group who was once referred to as nothing more than "half breeds," they continue to display their strength and resilience through ongoing battles for their rights.

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