“The Hunger Games” Metis National Council Rhetoric Hits New High

MetisOilpaint“This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future.”

This famous line is from The Hunger Games. The story is about a zero-sum contest for survival among youth in a dystopic post apocalyptic world. Lift the lid off the story and we see an inner conflict for human dignity, amidst government tyranny and exploitation. I am shocked by a recent State of the Nation Address by Metis National Council President Clem Chartier. This address along with other recent posts on their MNC website offer an unsettling window into the colonized mindset. Judging by their recent language, they are shifting toward a negative nationalism accompanied by a belligerent form of false patriotism. According to Chartier, “The stakes are too high.”

In a bizarre form of doctrinaire sloganeering, MNC president Clem Chartier reminds me of a fundamentalist preacher with his words, “there can be no backsliding.” He labels people as “outsiders.” Mr. Chartier refers to people who “have never been part of our nation” that “betray who we are.” He talks of those who are “historically and culturally inaccurate.” They talk of “consolidating our citizenship and our boundaries.” Chartier repeats the words “a path” over and over. Apparently, there could never be more than one path. One history. Wrapping themselves in the language of patriotic heroes of the Metis nation, they are obsessed with enshrining and defending a myth of national unity and distinction to usher in order and cohesion. Apparently, the word “Métis” is their word, and it only means what they want it to mean. They push for distinction, but the idea of distinction is subtly employed to restructure. To control. It asks you to give up or vilify one identity to serve another. It obliterates nuances by employing a streamlined methodology. Their identity has become standardized, frozen to look and act a certain way for political purposes.

They “remember” their past and “safeguard” their future in a way that places Métis people into their dominant national storyline. Stories function as mechanisms to shape thinking to conform along a very certain way of life. The strategy is that these stories began to take on a heightened credibility in a bid to foster identity cohesion and social purpose. In their world, it’s intoxicating for Metis people to simply belong. Within this ideological mindset, knowledge becomes a commodity, fit to be owned, controlled, manipulated, bought and sold in a competitive manner.

To the MNC, there is apparently no need for a functional nuanced memory for Metis people. The authorized MNC historians, technicians and experts will give us the dispassionate facts, and in the process become agents to serve ideology. The public conversation, the imaginary and creative place where engaged citizens with different perspectives share ideas and possibilities or challenge national myths is stopped up like a dam. It becomes irrelevant for average Métis citizens to be critically informed or to agree on any shared consensus.

In utter denial, the MNC pretend that they are progressing with government and industry. The irony is that all the while, current governments they look to are named in human rights complaints against Métis people they are charged to protect. Corporate interests have infringed upon Métis people and their relationship to the land and these leaders turn a blind eye.

To read the MNC article go to LINK

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4 Responses to “The Hunger Games” Metis National Council Rhetoric Hits New High

  1. Richard Lucier-larson April 16, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Tansi All:
    I read the Hunger Games Manifesto
    and what stuck out was:
    “On that day in Regina, our three prairie Métis associations formed the Métis National Council as an expression of Métis nationalism and our identity. ”

    Have I missed something over these years, It makes it sound like the Metis nation just came into reality in 1983.

    “President Chartier also demanded adherence to the definition of the Métis Nation ancestral homeland on the prairies extending into contiguous parts of other provinces and territories.”

    So with one stroke of the pen Myself and clan ( who are Half-breed scrip people from the Prairies ) are suddenly not Metis.

    I might add not because we do not fit the M N C definition but because we do not accept the concept of a Leader with divine powers.

    I am aware that the English had that problem with a King John and solved it with the Magna Carta 1215
    So perhaps what we need as well as a discussion on Metis Identity, we could come up with a Metis Magna Carta 2013

    Richard Lucier-larson

  2. Claude Aubin April 17, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    VERY WELL SAID SAD VERY SAD TO LISTEN TO PRESIENT CHARTIER SPEECH OF THE 30 ANNIVERSARY FOR THE METIS NATION . THIS IS WHAT WILL DESTROY THE METIS NATIONAL COUNCIL EMPTY OF ITS TRUES CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL TIES. YES THE STAKES ARE TOO HIGH FOR HIM BECAUSE HE DOES NOT WANT TO LOSE CONTROL TO THE FRENCH METIS LANGUAGE. FIRST NATION MADE THAT TRANSITION TO THEIR ORIGINAL LANGUAGES THAT IDENTIFIED THEIR DISTINCTION SO WILL THE METIS WILL HAVE TO DO ALSO.

    BUT WITHOUT THIS FRENCH MISHIF LANGUAGE SPOKEN THE METIS NATION DOES NOT EXIST.

    THAT WIL BE THE DAY THE METIS NATIONAL COUNCIL WILL ADDRESS AND PROVIDE SERVICES TO ITS CITIZENS IN ITS FRENCH MICHIF LANGUAGE SPOKEN FOR EXAMPLE AMONG METIS IN ST-LAURENT MANITOBA , LAC LABICHE ALBERTA AND OF COURSE AMONG THE METIS IN QUEBEC.

    THE METIS NATION IS MORE THAN THE METIS NATIONAL COUNCIL AND I HOPE ONE DAY NEW LEADERS LIKE ROBERT DOUCETTE OF SASKATCHEWAN WITH AN INCLUSIVE VISION OF WHAT A MÉTIS NATION IS ALL ABOUT WILL EVENTUALLY TAKE THE LEAD . THE METIS NATION IS IN TRANSITION ALL ACROSS CANADA , UNFORTUNATELY AND SADDLY THE CURRENT LEADERSHIP OF THE METIS NATIONAL COUNCIL IS NOT. I WONDER IF THE GRASS ROOT MEMBERSHIP SUPPORT THEIR PATH .

  3. Tim St. Denis April 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Well stated Joe!
    Maybe we should have a nation wide fiddling and jigging contest. Clem might be surprised to find that the best fiddlers come from eastern Canada and some very fine jiggers come from the Ottawa valley. Somehow they think that just those who reached the promise land should be dipped and become the anointed ones.
    I am reminded of the movie entitled The God Father. To be a member of the Mafia one needs to be Italian but to be promoted to a “made man” one must be Caecilian. History states the Caecilians came from Italy but that does not matter, the Mafia was formed in Cicely.
    I find it difficult to comprehend that my great grandfather from St. François Xavier qualifies as a Metis yet his father in Rivier Du Loup Quebec does not. This is just another kink in the armor of the Metis. Our greatest enemies are from within.IMO

  4. Hugh Hamilton April 20, 2013 at 10:37 am #

    Looking back over history of who and who is not Metis. My ancestors came to what is now Canada from the Heberdies located in the channel Islands at gun point, in the seventeen eighties, an invitation they found it difficult to turn down. They married into the Cree clan in Manitoba and Sask. I understand the Treaty 6 has never been extinguished. Which, means that we are status Indians at Law. However, the Harper Government will likely appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Judges thereof may hear an appeal,in my opinion the said Judges should tell Harper to go pound sand. H

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