From Entity to Identity to Nation: The Ethnogenesis of the Wiisakodewininiwag (Bois-Brûlé) Reconsidered
Métis in Canada. History, Identity & Politics. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2013: 143-203
35 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2014
Date Written: 2013
The author argues that while a "first wave" of social history analysis has contributed to a better understanding of the ethnogenesis of the Métis, it is necessary to recall the nuances of the findings concerning Métis identity formation that seem to be lost on a "second wave" of social history. While occupational niches were a factor in the leap from entity to identity, it was in no way the only factor. The "first wave" of social history neither concluded the the métis in the Great Lakes area made the leap from identity to nation nor did it question the role of the battle of Seven Oaks in the birth of the Métis nation, but simply claimed it was built on an already existing identity. Furthermore, there never has been a singular mixed-blood identity -- as the distinction between the Half-Breeds and the Métis in Red River clearly illustrates. The author suggests a more robust understanding of the métis in the Great Lakes area should have recourse to political theory, and in particular historical institutionalism and social movement theory to determine whether they made the leap from identity to nation.
Keywords: Métis; History; Ethnogenesis
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