Monday, November 6, 2023

Implementing the recommendations of the TRC - A difficult challenge

Telling your students the Truth as you attempt to implement the recommendations of TRC is a very difficult assignment. 

If ONE person, a parent, a trustee, an administator or...any ONE person has an issue  with your efforts, it could be  disastrous. It could mean your job/your livelhood. 

Yet, you want to do your share. What can you do? 

Educate them - your students (and your community) about the values and beliefs of  those to whom we  know we are owing. One way to do this is for you to use my books that focus on the Sacred Teachings. These Teachings are consistent among many First Nations.  To  access those of the Haudenosaunee, use my book The Great Law.

For middle school - high school, the Seven Sacred Teachings is a beautifully illustrated look at the Grandfather Teachings/Teachings or the White Buffalo Calf Woman. To support the book, allo me to read it to them


For every right there is a wrong.  For each of the Sared Teachings there is a Deceiver. Again, the book and/or the video clip: 

I have written a version of the teachings for younger readers. Medicine Wheel Education has published We Learn from  the Sun - in English, en francais and in Ojibwe. They also have created and offer, for very little money, a teachers' guide. 

If you find success by using my books through what is a positive educational approach to implementing the recommendations, you might want to look at Meet Your Family, again in the three languages and again offering a teachers' guide. This book is currently the most popular of my books. I say currently as I have three exciting titles soon to be released. I will speak further to these this coming week.

If I can be of any further assistance, I'm here. 
I do online presentations as well as in person events. 

Monday, July 17, 2023

The passing of an amazing person -



May 17, 1959 - June 19, 2023

Robb was remarkable his whole life. He was the fourth in a family of five siblings (Kim, Barbara, Liz and Peter) and from the day he was born on May 17, 1959, he started to make his mark on the world, little knowing, that in his lifetime he would become 'the first in the world' on many stages.

In his youth, Robb excelled in all sports through his singular focus. As a freestyle skier, performing aerial flips, he always challenged himself to go higher and further. Robb loved soccer and golf but, also taught himself to embroider, embellishing a jacket with a colourful giant he'd drawn himself. He proudly wore it until he framed it as the piece of art is was.

After his accident, from which he emerged as the 'first in the world', to survive a C2 spinal cord injury, ventilator dependent. Robb began his journey to become the world's most positive minded man with the ability to look at life through a lens, that made him truly believe, if he just put his mind to it, he could find a way to make the impossible, possible and, he did just that.

Robb yearned to leave hospital, have his own room with a door and music. So, again he put his mind to creating the world's first independent living space for high-level quadriplegics. Everyone said it couldn't be done but, he did it and, that's where he met and fell in love with Sarah. They married and had twin girls Emma and Sophia, who have grown into very accomplished young women. Over the years raising a family, Robb became a proficient painter with his paintings widely collected both in Canada and internationally. Some of his paintings became part of a book titled "If Sarah Will Take Me" and accompany a poem by Dave Bouchard. Robb's paintings were made into prints that Variety Club auctioned for its annual charity fund raisers.

Robb was awarded the prestigious National Achievement Award by the Mother's March of Dimes and Easter Seals and honoured on centre ice at a Canuck's game when he donated his painting of 'The Canuck House'. Calona Wines produced the Dunfield-Soon wine series with Robb's paintings featured on the wine labels. The last big project Robb undertook was a large mural for the lobby of the Blusson Spinal Cord Research Centre at Vancouver General Hospital.

Robb's life was full of love and respect and all who met him were enchanted by his gentle manner and bright smile. In the early days after his accident, he travelled all through North America educating the public on the importance of independent living for the disabled. As part of his Above and Beyond program he toured public schools in the lower Mainland and captivated the attention of the children with his motivational speeches. Robb, an intelligent, kind and caring man spoke at medical conferences and was honoured with the Courage to Come Back Award. He created the Ambassador program for the Rick Hansen Foundation in which, he played a meaningful role as Ambassador for many years.

Above all, Robb loved his family and his home and was happiest spending time with them in the garden or working on a project. His ideas were big and bold whether for education, renovations, landscaping or a vacation. We will all miss time spent with Robb, the best listener, always wanting to hear what we were doing, encouraging our hopes and dreams.

Robb is indelibly etched on our hearts and we will never forget his unbreakable spirit. He defied all odds and left an awe-inspiring legacy of perseverance in his mighty will to live.
There will be a celebration of life in August.


Friday, June 30, 2023

Canada Day - a time for Canadians to take a long, serious look in the mirror


David Bouchard’s “I Am Not a Ghost”: A Story of Resilience and Heritage

Bouchard’s new children’s book I am Not a Ghost spotlights an under-appreciated but important part of Canadian history.
Bouchard Ghost

David Bouchard, a renowned Canadian author, released a new children’s book, I Am Not a Ghost: The Canadian Pacific RailwayThe work recounts the story of a Chinese man who migrated to Canada to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway. He came in search of a better life. The railway workers treated him harshly, but Amelia Douglas, a Métis woman, who was one of the founding mothers of British Columbia, and wife of the former governor of BC, saved him from death. This fictional but historically accurate story carries an important message and describes the racism and hardship that these newcomers to Canada endured.

The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was completed in 1885. The construction of the railway was a massive undertaking that required the labor of thousands of workers. Many of these workers were Chinese immigrants. Despite their significant contributions, the Chinese workers faced racism and discrimination, including lower wages and dangerous working conditions.

Image credit: David Bouchard

A creative process with reciprocity at its heart

Bouchard collaborated with long-time friend, Zhong-Yang Huang and his son, Sean Huang, who illustrated I Am Not a Ghost. When they first came up with the idea, they wanted to highlight the injustices done to the Chinese community.

“Yang’s input to all of this was, can this be real? Were Canadians truly that way?” Bouchard said during an interview with Cold Tea Collective. “It became clear to us this history wasn’t being shared in schools. I Am Not a Ghost is a telling where a racist is a racist, a bigot is a bigot, and a brutally harsh society has to be called out for what it was.”

No one person can represent an issue in its entirety or be the sole voice for history itself. Storytellers must work together to cultivate stories with reciprocity for the community it serves.

Together, Zhong-Yang’s artistic direction guided Sean’s illustrations and Bouchard’s writing. From this collaboration came a creative process approach that had reciprocity and inclusion at its heart.

I Am Not a Ghost is meant to spark curiosity and have people say: Did they really do that? Those living conditions were real? It is a hard reflection on who we are and what we did as a people. And I think Chinese-Canadian kids deserve to know that,” Bouchard says.

A friendship full of inspiration

Bouchard recounted Zhong-Yang’s rise to becoming a great artist: “When the Mao Revolution came to be, Yang was a young man who was sent to work in the rice fields. One day somebody in the fields saw him figure drawing and asked him, ‘Would you draw my mother?’ Yang agreed. Within a matter of months, he had a lineup of people waiting. He was given the nickname Lazy Boy because he didn’t work his garden.”

Zhong-Yang went on to become a master professor in China. In the eighties, Zhong-Yang came to Regina, Saskatchewan. Zhong-Yang had a large art show of his work, and there he met Bouchard. Despite a language barrier, Bouchard exchanged his contact info with Zhong-Yang and the two immediately became friends. The two went on to create more books: The Dragon New Year, The Great Race, Buddha in the Garden, The Mermaid’s Muse, and Dragon of Heaven: The Memoirs of the Last Empress of China.

“We taught each other many things. I wanted to learn about his culture, and he wanted to learn about mine,” Bouchard reflected on his friendship with Zhong-Yang, which has been full of inspiration and creativity.

Image Credit: Canadian History Ehx

Remembering and reimagining our heritage

Currently, only a few Canadian illustrated children’s books directly address the racial discrimination and exploitation the Chinese endured during CPR’s construction. I Am Not a Ghost: The Canadian Pacific Railway is a needed children’s book that highlights this often untold history.

“Make this book a doorway to opening up new perspectives on how we must all remember and share our stories. Canada is still writing its story as a nation, and this book is an important part of that story,” says Dr. Brandt C. Louie, Chairman and CEO of the H.Y. Louie Company Limited and the ninth Chancellor of Simon Fraser University. Dr. Louie has generously bought two copies for every school in Western Canada. 

If you would like to read more about the Canadian Pacific Railway and the lived experiences of the Chinese community, we recommend these books. Another children’s book that is available is The Railroad Adventures of Chen Sing by George Chiang. Other higher reading level books include Gold Mountain Blues by Ling Zhang, the two books, Blood and Sweat Over the Railway Tracks and Blossom in the Gold Mountain by Lily Chow, The Diary of Dukesang Wong by Dukesang Wong, the two books Blood and Iron and A Superior Man by Paul Yee, and Ghosts of Gold Mountain by Gordon H. Chang.

See also: 7 books about identity, race by Asian authors for children

Feature Credit: Plumleaf PressAuthor(s)

Monday, May 29, 2023

Twitter and its Trolls


Twitter is the bridge under which trolls live. They live to spread hate - 


2.  And why Twitter?

1. There, a troll can spout off absolutely anything at all (a la Donald Trump) without fear of recrimination.  

2. From under that bridge, trolls surround themselves with others who, like them, care nothing for facts or truth but whose pleasure lies in hate or in causing hurt. They are cyber playground bullies.

3.    Their raison d’être varies; financial gain (almost always in some form or another), self aggrandizement, no significant purpose in their lives…

I have been the source of troll attacks on two separate occasions. Frankly, it doesn't surprise me, for after years of hard work and significant success, they were bound to appear. Not once did either malcontents reach out to fact check into what they were about to post. They did what they did with malicious intent to cause hurt. 

Hate among trolls builds with every new follower until such time that they consider the number of followers significant enough to step out of Twitter and use their numbers to intimidate others into giving them credence. 

What does this mean? 1. Twitter does not appear ready to make changes so I have to work harder at providing honest, caring people with facts that will allow them to stand up for what is right and truthful. 2. I have to fight this fight not only for myself but for the many who are subject to similar attacks.

So, here I go. Please feel free to share…And oh…my providing these two fact checks is not for trolls who care nothing for the truth or for those they are purposefully hurting but rather for those who find themselves drawn into their vicious gossip and wanting to know how to respond to trolls. 

Responding to trolls only legitimizes their existence. I would suggest that you simply not respond but if you, for whatever reason feel compelled to do so, feel free to share the facts.

                                                 My bloodlines are unquestionable:

                                                           I am Metis.

I am not a citizen of the MNC or of any other organization that requires their members to fall within the boundaries of a homeland that was determined by them. I am not of that however, I am of Ojibway and Osage blood. I am Indigenous and I call myself Metis. Can I or by doing so, am I stepping into the realm of cultural appropriation? My Native Ancestors would argue otherwise. George and Terry Goulet also do. 

No living Metis has the knowledge base or the experience of George Goulet. Trolls will completely sidestep both my genealogy and George and Terry’s explanation about who has the right to call themselves Metis however, I invite everyone to read the following and to come to your own conclusions. 

          The difference between "Metis" and "Metis citizenship"

Being Metis has nothing to do with Metis citizenship granted by a Metis "Nation".  Being Metis is an inborn ancestral attribute. An essential of being Metis is a combination of First Nations and European ancestry. When Metis ethno genesis occurred, there were plenty of Metis such as Cuthbert Grant, Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont etc., but none of them had a citizenship card in a Metis "Nation", which without elaborating on the concept of "Nation" (and what that in itself requires) it involves Metis organizations that in due course evolved to calling themselves a Nation and adopting restrictive Metis definitions that included the term citizenship, and excluded people who do not meet their membership criteria. 

Over the years, the term "Metis" has not been set in stone and was amended a number of times, but not recently. A very restrictive national definition of Metis was adopted in 2002 by several dozen Metis politicians of the Metis National Council (MNC) and not by grassroots Metis, since grassroots Metis cannot obtain membership in the MNC nor do they have the right to speak at MNC meetings. The MNC has never promulgated a Constitution in its 40 years of existence. Simply put, it has no Constitution. There are many flaws in the MNC Bylaws. Incidentally, Louis Riel took a more liberal view of Metis. In a May 10, 1877 letter he wrote to Bishop Bylaws, Riel stated that the Metis are a "non-exclusive" people.

Some imply that one is not Metis if one has not received citizenship from a Metis Nation, undoubtedly meaning one of the affiliates of the Metis National Council with their restrictive definition of Metis. There are numerous authoritative sources that take a different approach to Metis identity, but Métis Elders/authors George and Terry Goulet's view of Metis identity is one that few will disagree with:

One can qualify as a Metis if that person has First Nations and European ancestry, identifies as Metis, has become involved in Metis matters through socio-cultural activities such as writing, has belonged to a Metis organization etc, and been accepted in the past by a Metis community as a Metis, and has the best interests of Metis kpeople, culture and history in mind. It is true that an organization such as MNC has the right to set forth the criteria it requires to qualify to qualify to join their organization but it does not have the right to say that only people who meet their criteria are Metis.

Métis identity is not a simple concept, it is complex and multi-faceted. It varies depending on the perspective of the person, organization, institution, or political group using the term. There is no consensus or comprehensive definition of who is Métis, and Métis identity may be dissimilar depending on different points of view, such as political, legal/constitutional, socio-cultural, or others.

Métis Identity and the requirements for membership in a Métis organization are not the same thing. A Métis organization has the right to self-designate who it will accept for membership. However it has no right to arbitrarily determine that only those who fit its criteria are Métis, and no one else is.

Over the years, our research has broadened. We are now of the view that when it comes to Métis identity there is “no-one-size-fits all”. The Métis of Red River and Western Canada, for example, are unique in this respect from the Métis in the Maritimes. The memorable events and memorable personalities of the Métis of Western Canada were distinct from those in other areas. Also one can find several dialects of Michif spoken within different areas of Western Canada.

While it is clear that no one group or organization owns the term Métis, there is no doubt that different Métis groups across Canada do not necessarily share a common history, heritage, and culture. In a democracy, the role of the government is to recognize all the different classes of People equally.

Prior to the Constitution being patriated in 1982, none of the many Métis organizations across Canada appear to have had any significant restrictions like those today as to qualification for membership in them.

From its creation in 1983 the Métis National Council and its five affiliated Provincial organizations have imposed their own definition of Métis as a requirement for membership according to their own interpretation of Métis citizenship. Over the years their definitions have been changed a number of times and in many cases have been problematic.

On October 1, 2012, we (George and Terry Goulet) gave a presentation to the Senate Committee Hearings on Metis Identity that were held in Vancouver. In addition to our comments, the Senate requested a follow-up paper from us and we also presented the Senators with a copy of our British Columbia Métis book as well as other material.

We explained that we were independent historians and that we were there not only with respect to the Métis in British Columbia but also for Métis all across Canada.

Our first opinion was that that when it comes to Métis Identity, there is “no one-size-fits all”. The use of the term Métis depended on the context and the group or institution using it.

The Powley judgment created problems for many Métis seeking to obtain their Aboriginal constitutional rights through membership in the Métis National Council and one of its five affiliated organizations.

As well, the adoption and support that the Métis National Council gave to the Powley Case is odd. The Powleys lived in a Métis community in Sault Ste. Marie hundreds of kilometers east of the so-called Historic Métis Nation Homeland. The concept of a "Homeland" is a construct of the MNC based on the idea that one would not be entitled to join a Provincial affiliate of the MNC if their ancestry was outside of the ill-defined Homeland Map that, so far as we know, was prepared without input by grassroots Metis generally. A problem was created by this Map. It excluded most of Canada, all of Ontario except for a small area east of the Manitoba border. It effectively excluded tens of thousands of Metis registered with the Metis Nation of Ontario. When the MNO was asked to take away their citizenship membership, they refused. In due course the Manitoba Metis Federation withdrew from the MNC.

Even the Powleys would not fit within the Métis National Council National definition of Métis and would be ineligible to become a member of one of its affiliates.

The overemphasis placed on the Powley Case by Métis political organizations and others with respect to Métis identity failed to recognize and deal with a number of issues such as:

. The Case was specifically directed at harvesting rights;

.The Court specifically stated it was not providing a comprehensive definition of who is Métis
. The decision dealt with rights of a specific Métis community.
. The criteria for Métis harvesting did not include a “Historic Métis Nation Homeland”.

. The decision dealt specifically with a “Métis community”, not a homeland.

Consequently the determination of Métis citizenship should not be governed by the Powley decision or by the criteria determined by a few dozen Métis politicians. In addition, using the Powley ruling to determine Métis identity is contrary to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which provides for self-determination and self-identification by Indigenous Peoples in Sections 3 and 33 respectively.

Government programs such as Statistics Canada, children and family services and organizations, and public school systems only require self-identification in order to be considered as a Métis.

An approach to Métis identity favored by us is socio–cultural. It requires some Aboriginal ancestry and calls for self-identity, shared culture, shared relationships, kinship, participation in and contribution to a variety of Métis activities, and if appropriate acceptance by a current Métis community. The essence of being Métis, as stated by the authors to the Senate Committee, is: …. how one feels it in their heart and soul, how they adopt and adapt to Métis culture, and how they participate in and are received and perceived by their local Métis community".

The ancestral connection requirement in the Powley criteria differs significantly from those in the 1991 paper “Unravelling the Riddle of Métis Definition” written by the highly prominent Métis Harry Daniels and Professor Paul Chartrand.

"In the contemporary community, a core of the residents will descend from the historic community, but it is not necessary that a claimant to the enjoyment of an Aboriginal right invested in the community be a descendent. What is required is proof that the claimant belongs to the community today".

This is an inclusive approach to Métis identity that we favour.

Subsequent to the Hearings the Canadian Senate Standing Committee released a report on June 6, 2013 prepared by the Committee dealing with Métis identity. The report was titled “The People Who Own Themselves: Recognition of Métis Identity in Canada.” At the time that the Report was released Senator Vern White, the chair of the Committee, stated:

"…. our committee is adamant that Métis themselves must be able to determine their own membership and representation. The committee believes that the proper approach for the federal government toward understanding who the Métis are must focus on who the Métis understand themselves to be.

With respect to Métis identity one conclusion in the Report was that:

"…. there is no one-size-fits-all… Instead, complex historical, cultural, legal and political factors have led to diverse expressions of Métis identity across Canada".

It should be noted that this conclusion of the Committee reflected the observations presented to the Committee Hearings eight months earlier by us that contained our exact words “there is no- one-size-fits all”.

There are several other pertinent points contained in the Senate Report:

• Confirmation that: (i) “The Powley decision did not purport to define the Métis”; (ii) the Métis National Council Definition and the Powley criteria were similar, but not the same; and (iii) not all members of the Métis National Council’s provincial organizations claim section 35 harvesting rights.”

• The statement that: “Métis identity is a complex, multifaceted concept .… that includes important historical, legal, political and cultural dimensions.”

• In the section titled “Historical Aspects of Métis Identity” the Senate Committee referenced the book "The Métis in British Columbia: From Fur Trade Outposts to Colony" written by George and Terry Goulet.

• The Committee found that the federal government’s and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development’s approach to only being involved in the development of the Métis National Council’s five provincial registries that are compatible with the Powley criteria was “inadequate for identifying Métis rights-holders”.



The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) delivered its unanimous decision in the Daniels Case on April 14, 2016. The Court ruled the Federal Government has jurisdiction with respect to ALL Métis and non-status Indians. In addition the Decision confirmed that the Federal Government has a fiduciary duty and consultation responsibility with respect to the Métis and non-status Indians.  The Supreme Court of Canada is the final arbiter of the Constitution of Canada, NOT the MNC and NOT the Government of Canada.

The Court pointed out that there is no consensus on who is considered Métis or a non-status Indian, nor need there be. It further quoted the following:

"There is no one exclusive Metis People in Canada, any more than there is no one exclusive Indian people in Canada. The Metis of eastern Canada and northern Canada are as distinct from Red River Metis as any two peoples can be . . . ." [so much for the Metis restrictive "Homeland."]

As early as 1650, a distinct Metis community developed in LeHeve [sic], Nova Scotia, separate from Acadians and Micmac Indians. All Metis are aboriginal people. All have Indian ancestry.

In effect the Supreme Court decided that when it comes to Métis identity there is “no one size fits all.”

The Supreme Court stated that the definition of who is Métis under s. 91(24) of the Canadian Constitution has been made broader than the restrictive definitional criteria for Métis under the Powley Case of 2003. This restrictive criteria in Powley was developed specifically for purposes of applying s. 35, which the Court said was about protecting historic community-held rights.

Section 91(24) serves a very different constitutional purpose, said the Court; it is about the federal government’s relationship with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.

The Court further indicated that the Métis membership base should be broader and there is no principled reason for excluding certain Métis from Parliament’s protective authority on the basis of the third criterion, a “community acceptance” test (that was referred to in Powley).

In addition the Court set aside the exclusion from Aboriginal citizenship of those Métis who do not meet the Powley criteria for inclusion as Indians in s. 91(24). In its Decision the Court stated “There is no doubt that the Métis are a distinct people”. This means that under the Daniels Decision they are “Indians” for the purposes of s. 91(24), but they retain their Métis identity as a distinct people just as the Inuit do.

The Court further stated:

"Cultural and ethnic labels do not lend themselves to neat boundaries. ‘Métis’ can refer to the historic Métis community in Manitoba’s Red River Settlement or it can be used as a general term for anyone with mixed European and Aboriginal heritage. Some mixed-ancestry communities identify as Métis, others as Indian".


          .                                   CONCLUSION

Scholarly texts that discuss the Metis and their Identity that go beyond the geographic "Homeland" of the MNC include "From New Peoples to New Nations ...Aspects of Metis History and Identity ..." by Ens and Sawchuk; and "The New Peoples - Being and Becoming Metis in North America", by Peterson and Brown.

A principal reason for determining Métis identity is the direct result of the imposition by the federal government on the Métis Peoples of Canada of a one only national and associated provincial representative organizations policy consisting of the Métis National Council and its affiliated provincial organizations.

The major destructive component of this government created policy was the membership restriction in each of the Métis National Council’s affiliated provincial organizations that limited Aboriginal ancestry to very restrictive criteria, and to a very restrictive geographical location.

This membership requirement resulted in the denial of Métis citizenship to all Métis whose aboriginal ancestry evolved from the following geographical areas: (i) west of the Rocky Mountains; (ii) central and eastern Ontario; (iii) all the provinces east of the Ontario/Quebec border; (iv) and the territories of Canada except for a small area in the Northwest Territories.



There are believers in a hard line, restrictive approach (unlike Riel) to Metis Identity. Organizations such as l'Union nationale metisse St. Joseph du Manitoba, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, BC Metis Federation and others who have Metis members and have not adopted the restrictive MNC definition would totally disagree with this non-inclusive approach, as do we. L'union nationale metisse of St. Boniface is the oldest Metis organization in the World, and they do not wish to be involved with MNC or its affiliates. It was founded in 1887 by about 15 Metis people including Joseph Riel (the brother of Louis), Alexandre Riel, Ambroise Lepine, my great grandfather Pierre Delorme, Elzear Lagimodiere etc. and it kept the Metis flame burning bright when there was no MMC or its affiliates in existence.

One must bear in mind that one need not have citizenship in a Metis organization to be a Metis. One need not have their Metis ancestry validated by an organization to be a Metis. A person who is a Metis remains a Metis whether or not such an organization validates it. If I ceased to be a member of a Metis organization, I would still be a Metis with over two hundred years of Red River ancestry. 




George and Terry Goulet

And from my part, Long Live George and Terry Goulet!