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Calling Our Families Home: Métis Peoples’ Experiences with Child Welfare

Edited By: Jeannine Carrière, PhD & Catherine Richardson, PhD


This book is dedicated to informing social workers and other helping professionals in how Métis people are affected in the child welfare system. Métis peoples today negotiate a form of displacement that has occurred over generations although most Canadians are unaware of this history. The forced removal of children through child apprehension and adoption has been an integral part of displacement, perpetuating further family disruption and dislocation. There is scant literature on Métis experiences in child welfare systems, no national data is collected on the number of Métis children involved with child welfare systems, and there has never been a national study of these realities. The little research that does exist shows a very troubling picture: the misidentification of Métis children as simply “Aboriginal” or “White”, and the mass movement of Métis children outside of their birth communities.

  • ISBN: 978-1-926476-10-0
    Price: $34.00
    Binding: Paperback
    Date: 2017
    Rights: World
    Pages: 271
    Size: 6” x 9”

  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    Foreword:Michif Lodging
    By: Kim Anderson, PhD

    Introduction:“It’s Time to Feel this Story”
    By: Jeannine Carrière, PhD & Catherine Richardson, PhD

    1. “We Know Who Our Relatives Are”: Métis Identities in Historical, Political, and Legal Contexts
    By: Robert L.A. Hancock, PhD

    2. Métis Methodology: A Possible Map for Ethical Positioning and Congruency in ResearchBy: Catherine Richardson, PhD & Jeannine Carrière, PhD

    3. Tne Invisible Children of Child Welfare: Legislation, Policy and Governance Models for Métis Child Welfare
    By: Jeannine Carrière, PhD & Catherine Richardson, PhD

    4. Adoption of Métis Children: Past and Present
    By: Jeannine Carrière, PhD

    5. Métis Voices – Otepeyemsowak (The People Who Own Themselves)
    By Catherine Richardson, PhD & Jeannine Carrière, PhD

    6. “Lézoublié (Le Behind)”: The Perceptions of Métis People and the Child Welfare System in Ontario
    By: Rose E. Cameron, PhD., Denise Richer, Tara Yeates, Judy Syrette, & Brenda Powley

    7. Hello… We’re Métis!! Promoting Métis Visibility in the Quebec Child Welfare System
    By: Elizabeth Fast, PhD

    Open Letter We’re All Responsible for You – A Love Letter to 2spirit Youth
    By: Kíwetinohk Kísik (trish pal)

    8. Ramblers, Rovers and Invisible Soldiers: Métis Men in Transition
    By: Catherine Richardson, PhD

    9. Métis History, Herstory, Ourstory: Ghosts of the Land
    By: Denise Porter

    10. The Me in Métis: Finding Identity Under Northern Skies
    By: Kita Billington

    11. Kiikwookew Kwizin and Kinship Care: Attending to the Hearts of Métis Children
    By: Julie Mann-Johnson

    12. The Strength of the Sash: A Métis Community Based Research Project
    By: Deborah Canada, PhD

    About the Authors

  • Jeannine Carrière, PhD & Catherine Richardson, PhD

    Jeannine Carrière, PhD is Métis and originally from the Red River area of southern Manitoba. Dr. Carrière is Professor of Social Work at the University of Victoria where, in addition to teaching, oversees the Indigenous Student Support Center for the faculty of Human and Social Development. Her research interests include Métis child wellness, Aboriginal adoptions and identity, advancing Indigenous knowledge’s and the rights of sex workers and their families. Dr. Carrière has been a practitioner in Aboriginal child and family services for over thirty years and has conducted several research projects related to her research interests with a number of publications. In 2008 Dr. Carrière received the Adoptions Activist Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC). In 2017, Dr. Carrière was awarded the UVic Provost’s Advocacy and Activism Award for here work in support of Indigenous peoples.

    Catherine Richardson, PhD is a Métis scholar currently working as an Associate Professor at the Université de Montreal. Prior to moving to Montreal, Dr. Richardson spent seven years as a Professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria. In 2013, she was the Chair of the Indigenous Specializations Program. Dr. Richardson is a co-founder of the Centre for Response-Based Practice, an organization dedicated to helping people recover from violence. She is a family therapist and received her Ph.D. in the School of Child and Youth Care in Victoria, British Columbia. In addition to this edited book, Dr. Richardson has authored, Belonging Métis (2016).

  • This book is, on one hand, a love song of knowledge written by and for Métis peoples, and on the other, a call to action for those who would stand in solidarity against the marginalization and erasure of Métis voices, histories and realities. The writings offered in this collection fill a glaring gap in knowledge for helping professionals engaged with Métis children and families, particularly those working within child welfare systems. I recommend this book for any educator, practitioner or policymaker aiming to move beyond pan-Indigenous approaches and to support the healing, health and well-being of Métis children and families.

    Billie Allan, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    School of Social Work
    University of Victoria

    Calling Our Families Home is a well-developed collection of stories about displacement and journeys through time and space. Each chapter clearly presents information about how individuals are connected to Métis communities in Canada through various affiliations. While exploring and promoting community-based research that allows for “other” and non-dominant ways of knowing (to support “epistemological congruency”), the chapters examine how governmental systems are based on certain white, Christian values that do not incorporate how Métis families and communities experience the complexities of their lives and the overarching need for community-appropriate solutions for the issues they face. Indeed, the book frames Métis families and communities as unique and different from other Indigenous groups, which is a developing discussion when considering child welfare needs. The most persuasive components of this book are the ways in which “voices” of youth, elders, individuals involved in the child welfare system, etc. are heard so that policy can be revised in a culturally nuanced context. This wonderful book should be used as a guide by provincial and federal governments to work with Métis families and communities to ensure social justice within the non-indigenous friendly child welfare system.

    Caren J. Frost, PhD

    Director, Center for Research on Migration & Refugee Integration
    Co-Chair Institutional Review Board
    Adjunct Faculty, Family & Preventive Medicine
    Chair, MSW Health Concentration
    Research Professor
    College of Social Work
    University of Utah

    This book calls us to respond to the specific area of Métis child welfare. Through these chapters, the diversity of Métis stories and experiences echo the diversity of Métis people, and speaks to why Métis voices need to be central to the creating, planning, and implementation of child welfare systems for Métis families. Without this, many Métis people that have been impacted by the child welfare system are left alone to try and find their connection, to family, to community, to culture. Calling Our Families Home reminds us of the role we can play in welcoming Métis children, youth, and adults, home to their Métis culture when these connections have been damaged. As Métis people, we know how to care for our children and families, and this book illustrates this truth.

    Tara Turner, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    School of Indigenous Social Work
    First Nations University of Canada

    The Métis are often referred to as Canada’s “invisible people” – the “ghosts of the land” whose stories haunt this country’s collective unconscious. In this timely and important book, Jeannine Carrière and Cathy Richardson address this invisibility by shining a light on the experiences of Métis people in Canada’s child welfare system. Told through the voices of Métis youth, elders, scholars, and community activists, the book includes both heart-wrenching accounts of the damage done to Métis children and families by the Canadian child welfare system, and inspiring stories of strength, perseverance, survival and resilience. It is essential reading for those wishing to understand some of the most urgent issues facing Métis people today, and offers a call to action for improvements to child welfare that can help restore Métis families and communities. This book is about helping our people find their way home.

    Christine Welsh

    Associate Professor Emerita
    Dept. of Gender Studies
    University of Victoria