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Metis: Race, Recognition, and the Struggle for Indigenous Peoplehood Hardcover – May 1 2014

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 284 pages
  • Publisher: UBC Press (April 21 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0774827211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0774827218
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 16.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #316,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

Ask any Canadian what "Métis" means, and they will likely say "mixed race" or "part Indian, part white." Canadians consider Métis people mixed in ways that other indigenous people -- First Nations and Inuit -- are not, and the census and the courts have premised their recognition of the Métis on this race-based understanding. Chris Andersen argues that Canada got it wrong. He weaves together personal anecdotes, critical race theory, and discussions of history and law to demonstrate that our understanding of "Métis" -- that our very preoccupation with mixedness – is not natural but stems from more than 150 years of sustained labour on the part of the state, scholars, and indigenous organizations. From its roots deep in the colonial past, the idea of "Métis as mixed" pervaded the Canadian consciousness through powerful sites of knowledge production such as the census and courts until it settled in the realm of common sense. In the process, "Métis" has become an ever-widening racial category rather than the identity of an indigenous people with a shared sense of history and culture centred on the fur trade. Andersen asks all Canadians to consider the consequences of adopting a definition of "Métis" that makes it nearly impossible for the Métis nation to make political claims as a people. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

This provocative book argues against Métis-as-mixed and unapologetically goes against the grain of scholarship in this field. It will sharpen your views about M/métis rights and representation in Canada, and Indigeneity more generally. (John Borrows, author of Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law)|Chris Andersen challenges the very core of Canadian racial mythology in this provocative, detailed, well-articulated argument about what it means to be Métis in Canada. For readers who seek to understand how courts, census offices, and Canadians in general have seen and misunderstood one of the nation’s most intricate issues of identity and belonging, this book will help them move along a path toward deeper and more respectful ways of acknowledging and appreciating the Métis people. (Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes)|As a scholar who has worked for a long time in this field, I learned much from this book. Like many other Canadians, I did not have a clear answer to the question, who are the Métis? Chris Andersen offers the tools for understanding this puzzling question and makes clear what is at stake in contesting Métis identity. (Peter H. Russell, author of Recognizing Aboriginal Title: The Mabo Case and Indigenous Resistance to English-Settler Colonialism) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Format: Hardcover
This book is a fantastic address of the problems inherent in the racialization of Métisness. The author deftly reflects the detrimental expansion of racializing (and racist) state logics that at every turn seek to rob the Métis Nation of its ability to define itself. Andersen as well carefully attends to the way in which other populations seeking to lay claim to an "Aboriginal" identity via the state's limited framework of recognition, become complicit in the further and continual violation of the Métis Nation, a people whose long struggle for their freedom has been widely noted. While the book would be strengthened by a further articulation of what is actually at stake for the Métis Nation with the problematic and uncritical reliance of non-Métis, yet "mixed" Indigenous peoples, seeking state recognition through a paradigm of "Métis," it is nevertheless a very important contribution to the landscape of writing on Métis.
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Format: Hardcover
This well-written and solidly researched book offers a criticism of numerous racist assumptions that affect the question of Metis identity. It builds from there to identify a number of exclusivist/essentialist features that would characterize the Northwestern "Metis Nation." Andersen's book essentially denies the existence of "other Metis" outside/or not in relation with the descendants of the Red River diaspora (the "core"). The author refers to a constructed form of cultural homogeneity that would characterize the Northwestern Metis, hence discrediting en passant the racist theories on Metis identity, but here is the catch 22: to undermine the pretense of other "Mixed-Blood" communities across Canada to refer to themselves as "Metis." These "other metis" might be Aboriginal, but certainly not "Metis" according to Andersen, with the consequence of placing these newly-rejected outside the Constitutional protection hardly (and paradoxically) negotiated by Metis leader Harry Daniels for all Metis across Canada.

In short, this book produces a somewhat complex argument in favor of a restrictive and conservative vision of Metis identity. Andersen invites us to switch from a racially-loaded logic on Metis identity to the defense of a Metis identitarian cultural purity, here fearful that when the "other metis" refer to themselves as "Metis," they are in fact chipping away at the true nationalistic Metis identity. We can entertain serious doubts as to which path is actually worse than the other. It is indeed far from clear how other "métis" across Canada that use the juridical framework reserved to Metis to defend their particular aboriginal rights "could be complicit in the further and continual violation of the Métis Nation." This suggestion appears a bit strange.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a0dbf9c) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9a27bc30) out of 5 stars This book is a fantastic address of the problems inherent in the racialization of ... Sept. 18 2014
By PE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fantastic address of the problems inherent in the racialization of Métisness. The author deftly reflects the detrimental expansion of racializing (and racist) state logics that at every turn seek to rob the Métis Nation of its ability to define itself. Andersen as well carefully attends to the way in which other populations seeking to lay claim to an "Aboriginal" identity via the state's limited framework of recognition, become complicit in the further and continual violation of the Métis Nation, a people whose long struggle for their freedom has been widely noted. While the book would be strengthened by a further articulation of what is actually at stake for the Métis Nation with the problematic and uncritical reliance of non-Métis, yet "mixed" Indigenous peoples, seeking state recognition through a paradigm of "Métis," it is nevertheless a very important contribution to the landscape of writing on Métis.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa740200c) out of 5 stars Denying the existence of "Other Metis" May 4 2014
By NG - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book offers a criticism of numerous racist assumptions that affect the question of Metis identity. It builds from there to identify a number of exclusivist/essentialist features that would characterize the Northwestern "Metis Nation." Andersen's book essentially denies the existence of "other Metis" outside the descendants of the Red River diaspora. The author refers to a constructed form of cultural homogeneity that would characterize the Northwestern Metis, hence discrediting en passant the racist theories on Metis identity, but here is the catch 22: to undermine the pretense of other "Mixed-Blood" communities across Canada to refer to themselves as "Metis." These "other metis" might be Aboriginal, but certainly not "Metis" according to Andersen, with the consequence of placing these newly-rejected outside the Constitutional protection hardly (and paradoxically) negotiated by Metis leader Harry Daniels for all Metis across Canada.

In short, this book produces a somewhat complex argument in favor of a conservative vision of Metis identity. Andersen invites us to switch from a racially-loaded logic on Metis identity to the defense of a Metis identitarian cultural purity, here fearful that when the "other metis" refer to themselves as "Metis," they are in fact chipping away at the true nationalistic Metis identity. We can entertain serious doubts as to which path is actually worse than the other.

On a positive note, Andersen's book will comfort a number of individuals who are now contemplating the last-resort solution of changing their self-identification to "Mitchif" or even "Otipemisiwak," rather than sharing the Metis denomination with other peoples of Mixed-heritage across Canada. It could therefore be suggested that a weak form of Metis pluralism will somehow prevail.


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