The Puzzle of the Morrissette-Arcand Clan: A History Of Metis Historic and Intergenerational Trauma

by Jesse Thistle

Institution: University of Waterloo
Year: 2016
Keywords: Metis History; Intergenerational Trauma; Family History; Historical Trauma; Genealogy
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2075721
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10012/10872


This thesis explores how members of the Morrissette-Arcand clan, a Metis road allowance family from Saskatchewan, endured intergenerational trauma since being displaced from Red River in the 1870s. It frames Metis history using Maria Campbell’s metaphor of a kinship puzzle, one that was intact before colonization and scattered after 1869. Accordingly, it shows how the Metis suffered repeated attacks on their free trade economy, sovereignty, and mobility following the transference of Rupertsland to Canada. These pillars, contends this thesis, formed the basis of nineteenth-century Metis society from its inception during the rise of Metis peoplehood (1780–1821), into a period of increased prosperity of Metis life (1821–1869), and ending with the dispossession period (1869–1980). Oral history interviews, newspaper articles, census material, scrip records, Hudson’s Bay Company and Northwest Company fur trade journals as well as genealogical research, secondary monographs, journal articles, and online web resources are used to tell the two-hundred-year history of the Morrissette-Arcand clan. Based on this research, I conclude that the loss of Red River as a homeland, the destruction of the bison, the 1885 Northwest Resistance, and the Metis’s subsequent displacement onto road allowances in the twentieth century was traumatic for the Morrissette-Arcand clan.