Saskatchewan

Learn Indigenous history from Indigenous experts: Sask. Métis prof

Allyson Stevenson has a message for people who may be learning more about Indigenous history on this National Indigenous Peoples Day: consider learning about it from an Indigenous historian.
Allyson Stevenson is a professor and the Gabriel Dumont research chair of Métis studies at the University of Saskatchewan. (Photo by Kelsey Victoria Kerr)

When Métis scholar Allyson Stevenson was growing up in Saskatchewan, she hardly saw her identity or history being represented in the mainstream.

"I grew up in Regina and of course it's a place where Louis Riel was hung. They have a play yearly about that," Stevenson said. "That was the only sort of entry point into Métis history that I had growing up in the 1980s and 1990s."

She is hoping to give others a different experience as a professor and the Gabriel Dumont research chair of Métis studies at the University of Saskatchewan.

Stevenson has a message for people who may be learning more about Indigenous history on this National Indigenous Peoples Day: consider learning about it from an Indigenous historian.

"For many years, in Canada and elsewhere, other people have been telling our stories." 

She said Indigenous historians play a relevant role in the reckoning currently happening across Canada. 

"With efforts at reconciliation and decolonizing and Indigenizing, I think it's important to highlight that Indigenous historians are telling our own stories, writing our own histories, award winning histories across Canada and universities and communities," Stevenson said.

Indigenous historians also provide a unique perspective and methodology, according to Stevenson.

She recommends people explore the work of Indigenous scholars such as Maria Campbell, Brenda Macdougall and Kim Anderson — who have impacted her both personally and professionally.

"[There are] lots of later-career scholars that have done important work and then a new group of scholars that are also doing really important work," Stevenson said. "Rounded in understanding those treaty relationships that were formed between settler-newcomer communities and Indigenous communities."

Stevenson's book Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship was released last year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yasmine Ghania is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan, currently based in Saskatoon.

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