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Issue 23 - Evidence-September 24, 2012
Evidence of Randall Ranville Genealogist, Metis Cultural and Heritage Resource Centre Inc.:
We will now hear from the Metis Culture and Heritage Resource Centre, whose spokesperson is Randall Ranville, Genealogist. And I would like to start with you, Mr. Randall, if you are prepared to go. I would like you to keep your presentations as tight as possible, because senators will have questions of you, I am sure. Randall Ranville, Genealogist, Metis Cultural and Heritage Resource Centre Inc.: My name is Randy Ranville, and I have been six years hired as a genealogist. I do the genealogy service out of the Metis Culture and Heritage Resource Centre. It is not only a job, a task that involves identifying each individual as having a Metis ancestry, but it is also a historical trip. It has been a wonderful ride, because I do not only identify folks to their Metis ancestry, I also learn a lot about the history. I heard a question asked: Where did the word "Metis'' come from? It was most done by Cuthbert Grant, who is the one who introduced the flag and also the Michif language. I heard David Chartrand talking about how you identify a Metis. In the history, the Metis called themselves Michif, which is the same meaning as Metis. The word comes from mestizo, which is Spanish, and it means mixed blood. In my research — I brought some notes — the first two pages of my work is requirements of individuals who have come to seek their Metis ancestry. At this point I should explain some of the people who come in. I just talked with one of my colleagues here who said, "Yes, I have to come down and have my genealogy done for our family.'' Usually one genealogy is good for any number of people in one family. You can have up to 10 or 12 immediate, like parents and grandchildren and, of course, the children of the parents that are Metis. They will use one genealogy book — they are all in a blue cover — and they entail their names going to their father, of course, and grandfather, greatgrandfather, which is the first two pages that identify that current history of each family and then on into the ancestry, and the names that are involved that came down from our Manitoba history into who the Metis that are walking around today. The service I provide is that that is of the Manitoba definition of Metis, because all the way to the East Coast and to B.C. there are slight variances. Those who are of mixed blood, say in Quebec, for example, will call themselves Metis, but the word itself, the Metis of the history, "Michif,'' were actually those people where my identifying work 1
each individual who comes in to identify their families. the newspapers. and also the libraries and many. down to the little folks where I have to try to keep their attention and show them. This has become a must with all of the Metis. for London. just so you know. mine is a little over 50. Aboriginal. in-laws of Louis Riel. Prior to that they had a census done. Regarding our data base. greatergrandmother and mom never talked about it. and they followed along until about 1920. he is one of my heroes. That is slowly moving away. I do speaking engagements for government agencies. many schools. and we are expanding. The identifying of the Metis — I have here. That alone is very interesting because a lot of folks did not know they were Metis. for example. I should speak a little on page 3. I have here on page 4 actually a record that is like many. This family and this individual was born October 25 of 1822. I have done for Texas. They find out at a funeral or a wedding that there are these folks who do not look at all like themselves. and grandmother. but right now we have the two agencies working. who find us online on our website. Manitoba Housing. for example.000 names. Chartrand said. with the acceptance I could say of the Metis in the media. they first took a census of the Metis in Western Canada. it is quite parallel in the work we do in identifying the Metis through genealogy work. It is slowly — we have Louis Riel Day now and everyone knows of Louis Riel. England. I take articles and show them who the Metis were. and for many.7 million names that are nonMetis but linked to the folks of the Metis and First Nation. Chartrand provided. Most of their work was around these. which would qualify them as being Metis being part of the Aboriginal community. and we do the very same thing. There are the two agencies that you spoke of. I am hoping that I will be a part of the larger effort in finding and identifying the Metis. many in the U. All the forms of media are slowly changing to the way the schools should have taught us about who the Metis were and who we are. and that is the Metis community of the West and the areas that Mr. 2 . and we have an extra 1. I will go back to this example. whichever word you want to use. all kinds of correspondence to do with identifying that Metis person. that is. My work is a big part history because I have to know what I am talking about when it gets to who and where and all of the five Ws of each family that comes in. As part of the genealogy work. several of the departments in our province. It is a stigma that we have carried. Michel Monet is down there. the Land Commission from Ottawa sat down and identified the Metis. When the Land Commission was here. in there we have an application form to have their genealogies done. many that come in and apply. The second part of my work is those who are all over the globe. Indian people. as Mr. I have done our genealogy for someone in Sweden. and what we are looking at here is an affidavit of a file that could be this thick on letters back and forth.S. MLAs.goes to.
The next two pages are the Hudson's Bay Company employee records. and this phenomenal existence of those who were caught in the middle. there were no treaties at this time and therefore the mix of McKay and this family going back to Favell would identify the rest of the family as being Metis — five sons. when he was full grown and 30 years old. or his family came from the Metis and did not know that. I brought an example along again to show that Wenceslas Desjardins married Caroline Plante. they are just amazed at their colourful ancestry. "You are our first cousin. Some of the people are just beside themselves. a fellow who only heard when he was 30 years old how he was mistreated because of his Indian mother. an Indian woman. and they are all identified. And of course these all had families. The second is just to show you a little bit about what I learned in the history. Josephte. his cowardly murder of an Indian. . and Michel Belhumeur. and the Metis comes from Caroline. cowardly murder of an Indian. his Indian wife. " Then he came to the resource centre to find out what these people were talking about. It is just amazing. this was your grandmother and this is your ancestry. if you go back into the history. for 10 years and then go back to the Hudson's Bay Company. She passed away and then he was raised by an Icelandic mom and he always thought it was his mother. That is a simple little fact. but he was dismissed from the Hudson's Bay Company for his atrocious. This is one example of many. especially those who are only learning about it in the past short little while. a half-breed. We use these as one of the other primary sources. as I say. Some were never told. You will see down in 1811 Henry Hallet. and she was a Metis. It is such a rewarding job for me to be on the front line and identify the Metis. "This was your mother. Some of them actually get emotional and tears roll down their face because they are part of this community. and how he could actually be dismissed but work at the other North West Company. and actually were in her family. It tells you that back then it is a really good thing that the documents that we can use to verify the Metis today and even those you would never suspect were Metis will have roots like these. You will see in the second column after the names. there is a little W and 3 . Being his Indian wife. I know of another example. told him. usually large families. The third example of how we identify is the 1901 Census. . he was a Metis because his father married an Indian lady. until his cousins. and it shows that his wife was Mary Favell. who are the parents identified to Michel at the top of the page. There are hundreds and hundreds of these very types that we use to identify the Metis walking around today to those that go back to these historical families.'' and he floated out of the room. and we have so many of them of the life back then. I was very fortunate to be the person who told him. three daughters. That was his punishment for that one line. In this case the fellow is John McKay. and going back to Dr. for example. this history. John Favell and Titameg. and it comes right back up until today. your grandmother is really . their rivals.We are very fortunate as Metis walking around today that these kinds of things happened where this kind of documentation shows.
where good King Wenceslas first looked out. the plastic one. were red. Last. and he was there. Emile Ranville and Mary Spence. very rare. I will be taking a medal for Joseph Renville for his involvement in the war of 1812. all the way back. Of course these are my wonderful parents. and I am still studying one of the François in my family because I want to know more about him. of course. Thank you. this particular family. Caroline as the mother. The folks that were white are W. It has to be the long birth certificate. and that identifies them in their current history that goes back to the ancestors. great-grandfather. or the paper one that does not show the parents. but his dad was from Canada and he went back with a friend and the war broke out. I am just absolutely tickled and I am so proud. Anyway. I want to go back to — what I have got left — the very first document that I look at. I brought a photo on the last page of my great. There is actually another household with these. and Philanese as the daughter. there is another family who have Wenceslas as the father. You do not hear much of these names anymore. Joseph Renville. I could identify him right from me. a death or a baptism took place. this is an example of mine. Interestingly enough. They are recognizing the Aboriginal people who helped the British with the American military. this is the only Wenceslas that I know besides the Christmas carol. Most of them have to go back there or go to the church where a marriage. These were my parents. which I did myself when I first started.a little R. So down below there I was doing a genealogy for a person who is directly related to this couple. and the daughter Philanese. All of the individual Metis I identify using the genealogy work are also amazed and come back to the library at the resource centre and come and study more about who their families are. Wenceslas and Caroline. And being in the genealogy work. great. but they actually existed. great-grandfather. 4 . The Chair: Thank you. And a phenomenal thing happened. and our head office could not completely make a full understanding of where the applicant's name goes back to the Metis. I too am going to Ottawa next month. I am just so honoured to be there next month on the 25th at Rideau Hall to take this medal. like maybe four or five genealogies came back to me. and the people that were Aboriginal. Well. Scottish and French Cree. and this identifies me to the Manitoba Vital Statistics Department. my father and my grandfather. I have some days people staying all day researching in the library. I will use that word. most of his life was spent in America. in learning about each family and how we identify the Metis today to those folks. This is today's. this is the father of that family. We cannot have the little short one.
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