Culture and Social Ideologies on Metis Culture

Question: Article Critique


In the article, “Metis Culture,” Vizina (2008) has provided a thorough description of the culture and social ideologies and philosophies of the Metis people and simultaneously the author has discussed about the evolution of the Metis people in the course of time. Vizina (2008) has also discussed about the roots of traditional Aboriginal worldviews that has suggested that there are four interconnected parts to life which include mental, physical, spiritual and emotional aspects. The author has also discussed about the process of adaption that the Metis people has to go through in the course of their cultural and social evolution. One must take into account the fact that specifically drawing on the lines of the historical interpretation and analysis strategy, Vizina (2008) has actually, in her article, strived for exploring the Metis culture from the perspective of a traditional Aboriginal worldview framework. 
The primary objective of the author in the article has been to make the readers understand how the Metis people learned to survive the vagaries of politics and imperialism and how to sustain their culture amidst dilemmas and ambiguities. The author has informed that after 1885, the period in which the Metis were branded as rebels and traitors, how the Metis people had to struggle with their way of life. How they were denied the advantages of the Indian Act and how they had to endure hardships economically and politically has also been described and analayzed by Vizina (2008) in her article. The Metis people, in the past, had been forced to live in poverty between worlds and they were forced to live in poverty. Moreover, it has also been conveyed in the article how the Metis were denied the right to education because they were blamed for evading taxes (Vizina, 2008). But it must also be noted that Vizina (2008) has not undermined the efforts of the Metis leadership in sustaining a movement against the socio-cultural and economic dominations that they had to experience. In this respect the mentioning of the efforts rendered by Metis leaders like Jim Brady and Malcolm Norris deserves special mention (Vizian, 2008). Both Brady and Norris brought Metis issues into political discussions to raise awareness and to argue for the right of the Metis people to a better life (Vizina, 2008). 
The Aboriginal worldview framework on which Vizina had been reliant in respect of elaborating her discussion on the Metis culture has actually provided a deeper insight for the readers into the cultural and social issues of the Metis people. This has added critically to the process of knowledge gathering about the Metis people and the Metis culture in total. It must be noted that the author has pointed out that during the era of fur trading, the Metis men had their own social and economic identity that must be demarcated and distinguished from the socio-economic identity of the whites. In this respect it must be taken into account that Vizina (2008) has thoroughly explored the social identity issue on the part of the Metis people by finding out how their sense of dressing up was eventually stigmatized and how such approach made the Metis men victims to cultural alienation. To put more emphasis on the cultural stereotyping of the Metis people, Vizina (2008) has rightly commented that, “As agents of the Hudson’s Bay Company or the North West Company, Metis men could easily be identified by a blue capote (coat), beaded pipe bag and bright red L’Assomption sash together which created a kind of cultural uniform.” This forming of a cultural uniform should be considered a viewpoint that was resorted to by the representatives of the imperialistic powers in order to promote stereotyping against the Metis people. This economic and social alienation on the basis of cultural difference should be considered an important point on which the author has stressed in order to provide the readers with deeper insight into the issue of cultural and racial discrimination that the Metis had to be face in the past. Moreover, how economically the Metis people were isolated and alienated could be found through the process of reading the article by Vizina (2008) in which the author has highlighted the fact that though buffalo hunts and pemmican trade across Canada and the northern United States was good commerce for the Metis; in 1814, Miles Macdonnell, the Governor of Assiniboia, eventually brought about a proclamation against the Metis trade practice, preventing the Metis from selling their goods to the fur trade companies. The Governor also brought about a second proclamation and this time it was meant for prohibiting the Metis people from hunting buffalo on horseback (Vizina, 2008). 
The article should be considered as a good source of information about the Metis people. It must be noted that the Metis people had to suffer from socio-political and economic constraints owing to the negligence of the Canadian government. The animosity that was already there between the Metis people and the Canadian government was actually triggered and expanded by the undue proclamations that hindered the economic and social progress of the Metis people. Vizina’s article should be considered as a culmination point where the reader might see the amalgamation of socio-political analysis with historical and cultural interpretation. It should be noted that the coherence in the flow of the article can be observed in the chronological depiction of important events related to the lives of the Metis people as it was interpreted through historical accounts and records. It must also be noted that the article has provided information that should be added to the repository of the knowledge about the worldview and culture of the Metis people and about their past economic and political conditions. One must take into account the fact that the Metis people had been subjected to a life full of harshness and struggles, and the evidence provided by the author to support the concerned claims should be considered apt and appropriate. And it is due to such depiction of the lives of the Metis that the article should be considered an important one from the historical perspective. 


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Vizina, Y. (2008). Metis Culture. Our Legacy. Retrieved February 17, 2018, from

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