What's Your Story

Author Katherena Vermette's family heirlooms: rooted in Métis history

Author Katherena Vermette's family has been collecting the history of Métis people for years — a history that her family is deeply rooted in.

'[People] literally fought and died for me and my family to have a home.'

Canada Reads author Katherena Vermette. 1:46

As part of CBC's What's Your Story campaign, we're asking Canadians to tell us about the one object they would submit to a collection of national treasures: objects that contain the strongest feelings, personal histories and vivid memories of our diverse population. For Canada Reads author Katherena Vermette, it's the documents of her family's rich Métis history.


"When I think of what's important to my identity, I think of these people who came before me," says Katherena Vermette, author of The Break. "[People] who literally fought and died for me and my family to have a home and to have a presence."

Katherena Vermette's ancestor Joseph Vermette died at the Battle of Fish Creek, which was fought April 24, 1885, between the Métis and the Canadian forces that were fighting Louis Riel's North-West Rebellion. (Katherena Vermette)

Vermette's fathers and uncles have been collecting the history of Métis people for a number of years — a history that her family is deeply rooted in. Watch her story to see the artifacts from that history that she shared with us.

Vermette's geneology chart goes back six generations. (Katherena Vermette )

The Break is in the running at this year's Canada Reads. Candy Palmater will be defending Vermette's book in the debates that take place March 27 to 30. Catch them on air on CBC Radio One at 11 a.m., live streamed on CBCbooks.ca at 11 a.m. and broadcast on CBC Television at 4 p.m.

Batoche, Sask., where the Battle of Batoche was fought May 9 to 12, 1885, and the Métis defeated by Canadian authorities. Métis leader Louis Riel surrendered on May 15. (Katherena Vermette)

What's your story?
What defines Canada for you? Is there a time that you were proud to be Canadian, or perhaps a time you felt disappointed? Is there a place, person, or event in your life that sums up what being Canadian is to you? Visit cbc.ca/whatsyourstory.

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