Joe Desjarlais is from a large Métis family in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. He is proud of his mixed Ukrainian and Métis ancestry, with kinship in the Red River of Manitoba and across Western Canada. He currently lives in North Vancouver with his wife Danielle and family.
He graduated from Trinity Western University with a B.Ed degree and is currently completing an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Humanities with a history focus.
Joe’s journey of his own recovery of identity would not exist in its current form without the opportunities the BC Métis Federation have provided to ground his ideas and experiences in community life and relationship building with people and communities across the province, creating life-long friendships in the process.
He was project lead and co-author of the BC Metis Federation Terrestrial Study Final Report and is the coordinator for the current BC Métis Federation Terrestrial Cumulative Effects Initiative. These research projects are at the cutting edge of repatriation efforts in Canada.
Hi there. My name is Diann Kehler. I grew up in Fort St. John and then moved to Prince George and then the Okanagan area. I have 2 fabulous children. My career has been working as a Medical Office Assistant for doctors. I also spent over a decade working (volunteering) as an English teacher in 3rd world countries. I taught mostly young adults, as learning a 2nd language in a 3rd world country can change lives by for one instance, working with tourists. I also work with seniors.
I feel so fortunate to be part of this project. I am Metis. My Grandfather, Adrian Hope was a political figure for Metis in Alberta. I wish I could have learned more from him. As we know, it was difficult being Metis. I found the racism troubling. Not accepted by the Indigenous and not wanting to tell the white folks. Looking back on false history is appalling.
I am very proud to be part of this project. My goal is to assist in recording the real history and be a benefit to the entire Metis community. I am looking forward to this challenge.
My name is Karen Prouse (nee Duchesne). I was born in Fort Nelson, BC, to a French, Cree, Dene, Scottish Mother and a French-Canadian Father.
I worked as an Administrative Assistant for 31+ years upon my early retirement in September of 2020. Some of my professional roles included: Camp Cook, Baker, Receptionist, Executive Assistant, School Administrative Assistant, Corporate Secretary for Legislative Services, Cemetery Administrative Assistant and Recreation and Leisure Administrative Assistant. My positions have given me a wide variety of experience in technology and dealing with people.
I have been involved in Metis organizations for most of my life in a variety of roles. To name a few: Secretary, Treasurer, Director at Large and membership coordinator. I was also a Board member for the Fort Nelson Aboriginal Friendship Centre for a term.
My grandparents lived a traditional lifestyle for most of their lives. Hunting, trapping and providing for their large family. My grandfather was a well-known and respected ‘bush man’, who could build a camp in the bush with little to no supplies. My grandmother was knowledgeable in traditional medicine and was always willing to share her knowledge. Some of my fondest memories with my grandmother included time spent picking berries and gathering plants and herbs for medicinal purposes. My grandparents always set up a hunting camp in the fall, and everyone was always welcome.
Core Values and Philosophy
I believe that every job is important no matter how small. I believe we all have something important to contribute. Without the mundane and hard work we cannot get to where we want to be.
I am excited to be a part of the BCMF Research Community and feel that my background and experience will be an asset to the team. I am excited to continue my research training and to be able to get started in my home community interviewing and archiving of history. The technology we will be using will be valuable in documenting our Metis history. This technology will ensure that these stories will be told for generations and that future generations will be able to access and add their own stories.
I look forward to working with the research team and in my home community! All my relations.
Rhaina has lived on Vancouver Island for most of her life where she has been a dedicated community member with a passion for Gardening, Community Development and Advocacy. She has been an active volunteer with South Island Metis Nation for many years. Through the years she has helped many people in her community with issues like housing, food security, mental health and addictions services, as well as direction through the courts and advocacy for low income and single-parent families. She currently works as a Garden Program Coordinator and facilitates nature-based garden programs for daycares, single women and children, seniors and developmentally challenged individuals. She is a proud mother of two beautiful young girls and is very excited to be part of the MTIP research project.
Rosanne has lived in Terrace, B.C. for most of her life where she has been a dedicated community member with a passion for Advocacy. Actively engaged in social issues such as immigration, employment insurance, income taxes, social assistance, Canada pension disability, and more. In addition to her advocacy work, Rosanne is the Women’s Representative, and a Director, for the Skeena River Métis Community Association, where she has served on the board since the Association was founded. Rosanne is a proud grandmother of 12 and is excited to join the Board of Directors at BCMF.
Cindy has been an active member of the BCMF board for 5 years now and is the Indigenous Early Years Service Provider for the North Thompson Valley. Passionate about community and caring for our children, Cindy volunteers for many different organizations, & non-profit groups throughout the N.T. Valley. As a leader in her community, Cindy is always organizing community cultural events including National Indigenous Peoples Day, Louis Riel Day, National Truth and Reconciliation Day, Orange Shirt day, Moose Hide Campaign, Red Dress Project, MMIW, just to name a few. We are so grateful for Cindy’s leadership on our Board and in community.
Who are the Métis?
The Métis are a distinct people, though it can be complicated to define Métis Identity. Learn more about what it means to be Métis here.