Researching Métis War of 1812 involvement
From information submitted by: Ann Trudel and David Barratt of the MNO Navigating Employment Pathways Project in Sault Ste. Marie
The bicentennial of the War of 1812 has provided an impetus for learning more about Métis involvement in the war. Last year at the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Annual General Assembly held in Sault Ste. Marie, the contributions and involvement of the Métis and their strategic capture of the Fort on Mackinaw Island were commemorated. Métis summer youth participants along with the local Métis Dance Club; helped to re-enact the Métis role both at Fort St. Joseph on St. Joseph Island and at Ermatinger Clergue National Historic Site.
The commemoration for the War of 1812 continues. Throughout the province “signature events” which happened 200 years before are being re-enacted. This year, the main focus is on the “Tall Ships”. The MNO have committed this summer’s Métis youth interpreters to be at the various provincial locations thus giving Métis a strong presence.
To learn more about Métis involvement in the War of 1812 the MNO hired Paul McNabb, a researcher with a master’s degree from York University. McNabb has a background in Aboriginal research and is a descendent of Hudson Bay Company fur trading employees.
To assist his research, MNO employees in Sault Ste. Marie who are involved in the place of Algoma 1812 program, introduced McNabb to Gertude Kehoe, Dan and April Pine. The Pines are descendants of Augustine Barthe, better known as Shingwauk (which means Little Pine). Shingwauk was purportedly Métis according to some historians.
After completing his oral research in Sault Ste. Marie, McNabb continued his work examining other sources regarding Métis involvement in the War of 1812. His work will be utilized by the MNO for War of 1812 projects later this year
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