Peter Fidler and the Métis


Author:
Donna Lee Dumont
Grade Levels:
Six, Seven, Eight, Nine
Nation:
Metis
Book Type:
Paperback
Pages:
28
Publisher:
Gabriel Dumont Institute

Price:
Sale price$15.00

Description

Peter Fidler and the Métis is an excellent primer on Métis history and culture for senior elementary students. Donna Lee Dumont is a Métis descendent of the Red River settlers and she wrote and illustrated this 28-page resource. She begins with the personal story of Peter Fidler (1769-1822), an English man who joined the Hudson's Bay Company for a five-year contract as a labourer. While he resided at York Factory, Fidler was promoted to the post's journal writer. From these journals we learn he travelled extensively and surveyed the Red River Settlement as well as various lakes and rivers in Canada. We also know that Fidler embraced the First Nations cultures and was able to survive off the land. In fact he married Mary Mackegonne (1771-1826), a Home Guard Cree woman in 1794. Fidler wrote extensively about the First Nations cultures and social life of the times. He documented the roles of women and children, patching canoes with bitumen found around Lake Athabasca, and other cultural traditions. Fidler married Mary in a second ceremony conducted by an Anglican priest at Norway House in order to ensure that Mary and their 11 children were officially protected as his heirs. In addition to explaining the role of the fur trade in Northern Ontario and the west, author Donna Dumont interweaves details about Métis and Cree use of medicinal plants and shrubs; the importance of the moss bag infant carrier; cultural symbols; berry picking; and making pemmican. This unique resource makes and excellent introduction to the role of Aboriginal women in the fur trade, as well as the personalization of these Indigenous women and their families. Today the descendants are known as Métis. The author concludes with an overview of the Métis people today, and a follow up on the children of Peter Fidler and Mary Mackegonne. The book is accompanied by an 25-minute audio CD with the story told by the author. The book contains a helpful glossary and a Michif-Cree and Swampy Cree Plant and Food Chart.

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