Métis Kinscapes Project: Researching Pilgrimage and Indigenous Engagement at Lac Ste. Anne, AB

IPIA researchers are actively involved in a collaborative project focused on the Catholic pilgrimage site of Lac Ste. Anne as a central node in Métis social geographies and kinscapes. Grounded in Indigenous studies and Métis methodologies, this research seeks to challenge misrepresentations of Métis views on religion, Indigenous identity, history, and place using Lac Ste. Anne as a case study. Specifically, the project seeks to disrupt contemporary race-based ideas of the Métis in favour of a place-based analysis of Métis peoplehood through their kinscapes. These kinscapes are complex webs of relations that link Métis families to their ancestors, places, and stories, as well as to other Indigenous and non-Indigenous nations and communities.  While the project is housed in the Faculty of Native Studies at UAlberta, researchers at the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology have played a specific role in collecting genealogical and spatial information on Métis families connected primarily to the Lac Ste. Anne, St Albert, and Edmonton area. Blending spatial and genealogical data allows researchers to map these kinscapes using GIS and paint a more complete picture of the Métis in Alberta. This research  hopes to accomplish three objectives, 1) to shed light on the historical and contemporaneous role of the Métis at Lac Ste Anne; 2) to demonstrate how this social geography remains an important part of the modern Métis Nation; and 3) to assert a Métis historical continuation in contrast to the erasure of settler colonial narratives.

This project has been funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as well as, the Kule Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Alberta.

Researchers: Paul Gareau (PI), Kisha Supernant (Link to IPIA Director page), Marilyn Dumont, Nathalie Kermoal, Cindy Gaudet, and Shalene Jobin.

If you would like to learn more about the Métis Kinscapes project, please see the Rupertsland Center for Métis Research and the project’s Facebook page.

A photograph of an early pilgrimage at Lac Ste. Anne. Photo taken from Oblate Archives, Provincial Archives of Alberta.