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, debunking stereotypes 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.
Chantal Fiola is Michif (Red River Métis) with family from St. Laurent and Ste. Geneviève, MB. She is the author of Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Métis Ancestry and Anishinaabe Spirituality, which won her the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer and the Beatrice Mosionier Aboriginal Writer of the Year Award. Returning to Ceremony: Spirituality in Manitoba Métis Communities, released in fall 2021 (University of Manitoba Press), is her follow-up book. Dr. Fiola was named Distinguished Indigenous Scholar’s Chair in 2021(-2024) by the University of Winnipeg (UW). She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies at UW where she researches, publishes, and teaches in the areas of Métis (and selected First Nations) identity, culture, spirituality, history, sexuality, sovereignty, and methodologies. Chantal is two-spirit, Midewiwin, a Sundancer, and lives with her wife and their daughter in Winnipeg.