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My Métis

By Maia Caron author of Songs of Batoche.

Source: http://maiacaron.org/my-metis/

Click to view a short video about my Métis ancestors

Researching and writing Song of Batoche was a personal journey for me. I discovered the secrets
of my Métis ancestors from Red River and Batoche and reclaimed my lost Métis identity. Some
of these ancestors have cameo roles in my novel because they were intimately involved with
Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont in the North-West Resistance of 1885. Please see their images
below.

“I saw that the loss of their land was lodged inside of them forever. That loss would enter me
too.”

Louis Erdrich, The Plague of Doves

1
My great great uncle Theophile Caron and his third wife Elise Gervais, their children and her
mother, Madeleine Fagnant. Theophile was 19 when he fought in the North-West Resistance.

My great grandfather Daniel Charette Jr. and his second wife Mary-Jane Ouellette on their
wedding day in Batoche. Daniel fought in the NWR. Louis Riel’s family stayed with the
Ouellette’s in 1884/85 in St. Laurent. She was fifteen at the time. On the right is a photo of
Mary-Jane many years later standing beside Riel’s grave in Winnipeg.

My great great aunt Christine Pilon and her family in Batoche in the 1930s. I love how auntie
Christine is still wearing the long black dress.

2
My great great uncle Michel Dumas. He was one of the few educated Métis in Batoche and close
to Riel. Michel’s “Indian” name was Watcheskon.

My great grandfather Jean Caron Jr. in Batoche in the 1930s. His father’s house was destroyed
the first day of the Battle of Batoche May 9th, 1885. Jean Caron Sr. didn’t get title to that land
until 1905, after farming it since 1876. White settlers got their lands after three years of farming.
J.A. Macdonald did not want “miserable half-breeds” on the fertile lands of the Saskatchewan.

3
My great grandparents Jean Caron Jr. and Virginie Parenteau and their children. Taken in
Batoche outside of St. Antoine de Padou church after a family wedding in the 1940s. My
grandfather is third from the right in back.

When I first started research on this book, I’d look at this photo and think, “These poor Métis
handcuffed together–hardly a threat to society.” Then I learned that my great great great
grandfather, Pierre Parenteau was the third man from the left. He was a friend and supporter of
Riel’s during the Red River Resistance in 1869/70 and was the President of his provisional
government in the North-West Resistance of 1885. Pierre was found guilty of treason along with
Riel and sentenced to seven years in prison. His son, my great great grandfather, Moise, served
one year in prison for his own role in the resistance.

4
My grandparents Matilde and Armand Caron and their children. Matilde was daughter of
Alexandrine Parenteau and Daniel Charette Jr. Armand was son of Jean Caron Jr. and Virginie
Parenteau. My dad Allan is in the satin shirt.

My great grandmother Alexandrine Parenteau spinning some yarn from wool. My grandma
Matilde is in the rocking chair. Circa 1906.

My great great grandparents Jean Caron Sr. and Marguerite Dumas, their youngest son, and a
few of their granddaughters outside their house in Batoche. This house is the only one still
standing in Batoche and is a museum exhibit.

5
My grandma centre in black dress, my dad with the bowl haircut, my uncle Oscar up at right.

My great uncle David Charette and his wife. A family story claims that he stole her away from a
general in the Canadian army and went AWOL to the states.

My great great aunt Marie-Anne Charette, her husband Elie Nault and their extended brood in
1905.

6
My grandmother Matilde Caron nee Charette on far right with her sisters.

Not an ancestor per se but the buffalo skull marker where General Middleton’s Zareba was
located on my great great grandfather Jean Caron Sr’s back fields in Batoche. After the Battle of
Batoche, my GG grandfather went out and replowed the fields after the Canadian army had
decimated it. My father was still finding bullet shells in the fields when he grew up in Batoche in
the 30s and 40s.

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On right, my great grandfather Jean Caron Jr. and his wife Virginie Parenteau.
On left their son, my grandfather Armand Caron and my grandmother Matilde Charette

From a podcast from The Indian and Cowboy Media Network website.

Ryan McMahon, Executive Producer of the podcast series, Stories From the Land wrote: “In this
episode we hear a gripping story from Metis Storyteller/Artist, Maia Caron. A story about the
connecting, disconnection, and reconnection that we as Indigenous Peoples most often have to
fight for after our Ancestors are displaced and resettled in other territories.”