Based on The Alberta Métis Letters : 1930-1940 Policy Review and Annotations ISBN 978-0-9809026-0-0
Alberta Métis Policy Relationships
Historical Sketch 1930-1941
Former President, FMSA
"What we call land is
an element of nature inextricably interwoven with man's institutions. ... Land
is thus tied up with the origins of kinship, neighbourhood, craft and creed -
with tribe and temple, village, gild, and church. ... The economic function is
but one of many vital functions of land. It invests man's life with stability;
it is the site of his habitation. It is the landscape and the seasons. We might
as well imagine his being born without hands and feet as carrying on his life
without land.." Karl Polanyi,
Origins of our Time: The Great Transformation. London: Victor
Gollancz Ltd., 1945. p179.
This section is a review of events as described in close to four hundred letters and reports written between 1930 and 1941 and held in the Provincial Archives of Alberta, Edmonton, and the Glenbow Museum Archives in Calgary. The authors of those documents are bureaucrats, Métis, and politicians.**
This sketch will help you understand the initial development of Métis policy in Alberta. If you are familiar with current Métis governance negotiations anywhere in Canada, the depiction below will seem familiar and current.
A QUICK SKETCH OF EVENTS - 1930 to 1941 follow these links
**The majority of the writers are the executive council of the newly
formed l'Association des Métis d'Alberta et les Territoires du Nord-Ouest in December 1932: Joseph
Francis Dion, President, Malcolm F. Norris, First Vice-President, James Patrick
Brady, Secretary Treasurer, and in January 1934, Peter C. Tomkins elected as
Third Vice-President. Some letters and reports are by the politicians
responsible for Metis welfare: Joseph M. Dechene, a Liberal MLA, Richard Gavin
Reid (CCF Minister of Lands and Mines and Premier in 1934), George Hoadley (CCF
Minister of Agriculture and acting-Premier at times), J. E. Brownlee (CCF
Premier), W. W. Cross (from 1935 the Social Credit, Minister of Health), William
Aberhart (Social Credit Premier) and others; and there are those written by the
bureaucrats involved in developing and administering Metis policy: J. Harvie
(Reid's Deputy Minister), Frank Buck (Cross' lead bureaucrat in the Bureau of
Relief and Public Welfare***), J. Rankine (a solicitor for Harvie and eventually
the secretary of the Ewing Commission) and
***after 1939 the name is the Bureau of Public Welfare.
The Alberta Métis Letters : 1930-1940 Policy Review and Annotations
Hon. Pearl Calahasen, Alberta Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Dec. 2006.
Métis Settlements General Council (Alberta) - as part of their Métis History Series
Alberta Historical Resources Foundation
The Glenbow Museum Archives
The Provincial Archives of Alberta
A searchable CD of the annotations will be available also.