Red River Métis Spirituality Beyond Stereotypes with Dr. Chantal Fiola

Returning to Ceremony is the follow-up to Chantal Fiola’s award-winning Rekindling the Sacred Fire and continues her ground-breaking examination of Metis spirituality, discussing assumptions such as “all Metis people are Catholic,” and “Metis people do not go to ceremonies.”

Fiola finds that, among the Metis, spirituality exists on a continuum of Indigenous and Christian traditions, and that Metis spirituality includes ceremonies. For some Metis, it is a historical continuation of the relationships their ancestral communities have had with ceremonies since time immemorial, and for others, it is a homecoming—a return to ceremony after some time away.

Fiola employs a Metis-specific and community-centred methodology to gather evidence from archives, priests’ correspondence, oral history, storytelling, and literature. With assistance from six Metis community researchers, Fiola listened to stories and experiences shared by thirty-two Metis from six Manitoba Metis communities that are at the heart of this book. They offer insight into their families’ relationships with land, community, culture, and religion, including factors that inhibit or nurture connection to ceremonies such as sweat lodge, Sundance, and the Midewiwin. Valuable profiles emerge for six historic Red River Metis communities (Duck Bay, Camperville, St Laurent, St François-Xavier, Ste Anne, and Lorette), providing a clearer understanding of identity, culture, and spirituality that uphold Metis Nation sovereignty.

Metis Kitchen Table Teachings is a virtual series dedicated to the transmission of Metis knowledge and culture.

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