U of S scholar wants to tell story of Metis resurgence after 'incredible devastation'
SASKATOON -- Allyson Stevenson, a Métis scholar from Kinistino, has been appointed the new Gabriel Dumont Research Chair in Métis Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. She spoke with CTV Morning Live’s Alex Brown about her research. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What drew you to the history of the Metis?
That’s something I’ve always been interested in. I wrote my Master’s thesis on the interpreters of the numbered treaties and did my Ph.D research on the 60s Scoop. It was in my research on the 60s Scoop that I came across really fascinating histories of the Metis that I thought required greater investigation. That’s something I really want to focus on for this chair.
Why is this research chair important?
What’s unique about the chair is the partnership with the Gabriel Dumont Institute, which has really been a critical organization for promoting Metis culture and history in Saskatchewan. They have a large array of artifacts, documents, oral histories and connections that would really strengthen the history of Metis research in Saskatchewan.
Tell us about the research you’re planning on the 20th Century Metis.
It’s a really important period of time for the Metis people in Saskatchewan and Canada. It was a period that saw incredible devastation of Metis people, Metis communities after 1885 (and) the revitalization and resurgence of Metis communities and political organizations. So that’s a story that I really want to tell through this research chair.
Your first book is also coming out this summer, “Intimate Integration: A History of the 60s Scoop.” How did the 60s Scoop affect the Metis?
One of the things that I found with my research was the creation of the Green Lake Children’s Shelter in the mid-1940s, early 1950s. That was a really important event in the subsequent development of the 60s Scoop, so that project, that experiment with the Metis at Green Lake really, I argue, led to the 60s Scoop across Canada. So it’s an important part of that history and Metis people were specifically affected because they were Metis.