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Voyageur Metis was formed to join our families together to openly share our stories and culture.
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Most people with Native ancestry from our communities have a family story of fear, shame and hiding, although on the street we often recognized others as being Native like us, and we often gave (and received) that "look of knowing". Although generations of fear and hiding caused our culture to sometimes be fragmented, our collective culture is still alive and strong.
Voyageur Metis is a community registry of "Muskrats", a well-documented term that has been used for generations to describe our people based on our culture -- which arose along the waterways and fur trade routes of what was once New France, centrally from the historic Detroit fur trade post and in various surrounding "French Canadian" communities along the waterways of the Great Lakes.
This culture developed in many ways, which we see in our music, dance, food, faith, and traditions of fishing, hunting, trapping, and foraging. It also developed as a blend of similar cultures, and is reflected in our ways of caring for the environment, the lands, forests, rivers and all living things.
Voyageur Metis is a group whose intent is to join the thousands of "Muskrats" whose culture has long been marginalized, frowned upon, and in most cases, hidden from mainstream society. Having registry with our community gives us a chance to share our stories, our culture, and a unique knowledge we continue to practice and preserve.
Why Do We Use the Word "Status" on our Card?
Our "Metis Status" card is not an Indian Status Card, which is a card for First Nations persons
and issued by Aboriginal Affairs. We use the word "Status" because that is the term most orgs originally used to describe their registry cards, although some have recently changed this to "membership card" for their registry. No matter which term is used, they are the same thing.
We choose to continue using the word "Status" because that is the term our elders relate to, and that is what gives them pride in having their card. They feel they are finally allowed to tell their stories without fear of repercussions, and this validation of their identity relieves old fears -- that the government is not in fact "coming to get us".
The apology to the families of the victims of residential schools was just a small step for elders to start feeling okay not only to admit who they are, but to admit to cultural practices that they have hidden for generations. This has led to the sharing of stories that were never told before. Everytime we lose an elder and that person has not felt safe to tell their stories, or share their knowledge, we lose part of our collective history. So yes, we will continue to use the word "Status" to describe our registry cards.
Need to Verify Our Card is Legitimate?
Our card is thick 30 mil pvc plastic, just like a credit card. Ink is not used to produce them, as the colors are plastic film layers that are heat-transferred, so the color does not rub off.
If you tilt the card, you should see this WATERMARK image embedded in the top clear coat layer. The image depicts elements of our ancestry and our logo.
This watermark image is registered against use by any other organization so it cannot be forged.
If you tilt our card and do not see this image, then it is not a legitimate card issued by our organization.
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