Walking in the Woods: A Métis Journey

By Herb Belcourt

Reflecting on his evolving id as a man or woman, a Canadian and a Métis westerner, Herb Belcourt tells the outstanding tale of 1 familys enduring connection to the dramatic heritage of western Canada. Belcourt lines his ancestry on to an early French-Canadian voyageur and his Cree-Métis spouse who lived in Ruperts Land after 1800. The eldest of ten little ones, Belcourt grew up in a small log domestic close to Lac Ste. Anne in the course of the melancholy. His father bought furs from neighborhood First international locations and Métis trappers and, with hard paintings, all started a relatives fur buying and selling enterprise that survives to this present day. whilst Belcourt left domestic at 15 to develop into a labourer in coal mines and sawmills, his father instructed him to avoid wasting his funds so he may paintings for himself. Over the subsequent 3 many years, Belcourt started a couple of small Alberta companies that prospered and finally enabled him to make major contributions to the Métis group in Alberta.

Belcourt has committed over 30 years of his existence to enhancing entry to reasonable housing and additional schooling for aboriginal Albertans. In 1971, he co-founded Canative Housing company, a non-profit company charged with delivering houses for city aboriginal those who faced housing discrimination in Edmonton and Calgary. In 2004, Belcourt and his colleagues demonstrated the Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards Fund, a $13-million endowment with a mandate to help the academic desires of Métis early life and mature scholars in Alberta and to make an enduring distinction within the lives of Métis Albertans.

Awarded an honourary doctorate of legislation by means of the college of Alberta in 2001, Belcourt can also be the 2006 recipient of a countrywide Aboriginal fulfillment Award for Housing. during this memoir, Walking within the Woods, he describes Albertas possibilities with admiration whereas conversing bluntly in regards to the lack of aboriginal and Métis land in western Canada, and in regards to the tricky results of generations of interracial false impression within the West. Addressed to younger Métis, and to all Canadians, he speaks with compelling candour approximately his love for this nation, and his matters approximately its future.

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It's been so A Mét is Jour ne y  1 beneficial. we've got scholars who come to us and say: “I couldn’t have long gone directly to post-secondary reports with out this award. It feels so strong to grasp that i will be able to placed this plan ahead, and a person is asking out for me, so i will move forward and end university. anyone cares approximately who i would like to be and the place i need to move in existence. ” a person definitely cares. The Belcourt Brosseau partnership has additionally contributed huge endowments to lots of Alberta’s effective post-secondary associations. those benefactors are making a legacy of studying that would proceed for an extended, very long time to return. Herb’s dream is that the federal and provincial governments, in addition to Alberta industries and person electorate, will fit the funds within the scholarship fund to extend possibilities for Métis scholars throughout western Canada. i need to determine his dream fulfilled, and that i wish this booklet may be a foundation for that crusade. such a lot folks realize real schooling keeps all through existence, outdoor the lecture rooms in faculties and universities. i've got continuously been obsessed with the assumption of cultural education—for the Métis humans, in order that they will proceed to honour their tradition, language, and heritage, and for his or her neighbours locally, who would possibly not be aware of extra in regards to the Métis tale than the historical names of Louis Riel or Gabriel Dumont, crimson River and Batoche. The Métis humans of Alberta—our leaders, our elders, and our individuals around the province—have talked for a very long time in regards to the desire for a cultural schooling centre. we would have liked a spot the place shall we meet, a spot the place lets have a good time our historical past and traditions, a spot lets name domestic jointly. We sought for possibilities for years, yet didn't locate any that lets pursue. In 1998, we started to seek advice from the provincial govt concerning the danger, and with their aid, we accomplished the Millennium Voyage examine venture. Researchers pointed out sixty-three accumulating locations and groups throughout Alberta the place Métis humans had resided over the centuries. unexpectedly, an ideal chance got here alongside. A farm kin, initially from Ontario and of German history, got here to the Métis state of Alberta in 1998 with a proposal to promote 512 acres close to the North Saskatchewan 2  strolling within the Wo o ds River, approximately one hour east of Edmonton. This land have been within the ownership of Métis humans in the course of the generations until eventually 1975, while the Ontario relations bought it. whilst the husband kicked the bucket, his spouse checked out it and stated: “This land must return to the Métis. ” She provided it to us at a collection fee, and instructed us: “I think it may be on your palms. ” We badly desired to purchase the land, yet we didn't have the money. the associated fee was once 600 thousand money. We knew there has been no method shall we buy the valuables, make funds, and increase it, even if we had bolstered our relations with our banker and the govt. We had those who believed in us. We requested the banker to carry the land for us, and promised that we might have the opportunity to pay the curiosity for 6 months.

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