It needs to be said: exploring the lived realities of the Grandmothers and Aunties of Métis scholarship

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Forsythe, Laura
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Through visiting with 13 self-identifying Métis women born between 1949 and 1969 whose work began to appear in the late 1970s and raising our awareness of their contributions, connections, motivations, and scholarship, we can enhance our understanding of how the Métis grandmothers and aunties shaped their fields in Métis scholarship and have created space for future Métis women to thrive in the academy. Using a wahkootowin theoretical framework and the intertwining Michif methodology that combines the Keeoukaywin, Lii Taab di Faam Michif, and Kishkeeyihtamaaniwan Kaa-natohtamihk methodologies, 11 points of erasure were identified by the grandmothers and aunties in their lived experiences. These points include colonial attempts at erasure through experiences with colonial education, racism, whiteness, and the pressure to hide; constantly being measured by a colonial yardstick assessing whether the grandmothers and aunties were Métis, Indigenous, or educated enough; and colonial institutions’ power to silence through Indigenous umbrella publishing, the struggle to publish Métis-specific research, and issues obtaining research funding for Métis-specific projects. As an act of wahkootowin, the grandmothers and aunties have advice in their role as knowledge keepers 1) disregard colonial pressures, they shared that permission to refuse and relocate for the betterment of their families in dire situations that will not change is inherently Métis, 2) the importance of connecting with other Métis scholars and helpers, especially Métis women, 3) be empowered by who you are through staying true to yourself, including your ancestors, embracing your teachings, looking after yourself, and loving what you do. The grandmothers and aunties within this study knowledge have empowered subsequent waves of Métis women in the academy by showing what is possible while arming them with strategies to persevere.
Métis, Erasure, Métis women, Métis research