click on the above link for the full 2013 academic course calendar

Category: Uncategorized

I Call it Honor

A story by Skookum Casa Del Lobos.

In this journey called life, we are sometimes given the opportunity to make choices with honor or to compromise our values and make choices without honor.  Maybe once or twice in a lifetime, the choice is not clear-cut, but when a man loses his honor, it is hard to regain his honor; especially, when he is alone.
We have politicians who will stand in front of the nation or the world and lie to millions with a straight face.  Actually, being able to lie without honor seems to be a prerequisite for politics.
This story is about a man who has been forgotten by everyone but me.  He made a small gesture of honor that has never been mentioned until now.  Barbwire Johnny was one of my best friends; a mentor who taught me about the mystical realm of horse and man.
He was only human, and yes, he was an alcoholic and his hygiene wasn’t up to standards, and he couldn’t read or write; but he had a magic with horses that has made everyone else, I’ve met, including multiple Olympic Gold Medal Winners, seem lacking in comparison. Although many humans looked down their noses at him; horses and dogs loved him, and yet he made no visible effort to win their affection.
People always point out the fact that horses and dogs like me and I always follow-up with the remark, “Yes, I am lucky horses, dogs, and children like me,” a gauged remark that ends the discussion, but as sure as I am typing these words, animals loved Johnny, they only like me.
Over the years, I helped Johnny with horses’ hooves and their teeth and various other wounds and health problems. If they needed shoes I nailed some on and Johnny was very appreciative, for I was the only one he ever shared his mystical world with. You see Johnny believed in getting into a horse’s mind and heart to capture the essence of the horse and then to dominate it with sheer presence.
Does it sound impossible? I spent forty years using his system, built a fortune and lost it twice and I still use it many times a week and have been accused of using drugs and witchcraft on the horses, by people who should know better. But there have been several unbelievers, who were brutalizing a horse and ridden by me long enough, for a split second or slightly more, for me to capture that horse’s mind and visualizing him sticking his toes in the dirt, dropping a shoulder, ducking his head, and sucking backwards at thirty miles an hour, leaving the rider plowing a furrow in the dirt with his face. That is the power of Johnny’s lessons.
I was a regular visitor to Johnny’s cabin, I brought in hunters, horses to be trained, supplies, and whiskey. Whiskey, “High” venison, and big women were Johnny’s only vices, other wise he was happy to live out his life out in the mountains where he was born; as a matter of fact, Johnny had never been over a hundred miles from the cabin where he was born.  He always competed once a year to the Fort St John Rodeo.  Johnny was one of the last people to ride a horse to rodeos. At one time he was quite a bronc rider, but he would never follow the circuit, he didn’t want to go over a hundred miles away from home and as he often said “What good is fame and fortune if you have to leave home?” Many nights I spent in a lonely motel room or a deserted airport and Johnny’s words came back to haunt me.
The last time I rode into Johnny’s yard, I was perplexed. He wasn’t home, but there were six horses in the meadow. He only owned six horses at the time and Johnny was so bowlegged from spending his life on a horse, it was difficult for him to walk very far. His cabin was cold and the wood stove had not had a fire for at least 24 hours. Things were looking grim.
Johnny was frail in some respects, and unlikely to sleep out on the trail, unless there was a comfortable hunting camp with a tent and a civilized cook.
There had been a light dusting of snow, so the sign or tracks in the snow were in excellent shape for tracking. There were fresh horse tracks leading down one of Johnny’s trap line trails, but all his horses were in the pasture. I caught one of his horses, and took it with me as I began to follow his trail, in case Johnny was injured farther down the trail.
The trap line went for five or ten miles and all of a sudden the horses became scared and were balking at continuing down the trail. These were not animals that spooked over make believe spooks, there was something up ahead, I tied the two horses to trees and pulled my rifle from the scabbard, just in case the problem up ahead involved a Gtizzly.
About seventy yards up the trail, a group of ravens were picking at a deer hide and half-eaten carcass that had been left about ten foot up in a tree by a cougar. There was another small group of ravens up ahead and my heart turned cold.
The story unfolded like reading a book; Johnny and his saddle horse rode up the trail and surprised the big cat. The cat probably screamed or stood up causing Johnny’s horse to bolt out of control, away from the cat.
Horses have a natural fear of mountain lions; especially, when they are in trees. They seem to often kill horses by waiting for them to walk down a trail and jumping on them from above. All horses have a fear of the animals that can kill them for food, these are the Timber Wolf, the Grizzly, and the Mountain Lion or Cougar, but I think the mountain lion in a tree commands the most fear from horses.
The horse bolted and in an instant he jumped forward for his second stride, by this time, you expect to regain control, but the horse brushed a tree and broke Johnny’s leg above the knee. There was a sickening spray of blood across the snow to the right of the horse, the fracture had been a compound fracture. It was not hard to imagine the break; Johnny was tiny, he never weighed over a hundred pounds. He fought through the pain in a desperate battle to regain control of his horse. The horse was spinning and lunging, and wanting to run off in stark terror. Johnny got him under control about a hundred yards away. He slid off in what must have been unspeakable pain, and sat down to rest against a tree while holding his horse.  He tried unsuccessfully to stop the bleeding. Finally, upon realizing it was the end of the trail, he cut through the cinch and slipped the bridle off the horse’s head; thus the horse was given his freedom rather than having the reins wrapped around a dead man’s hand and starving to death or meeting death from saddle sores, because a saddle was laced on its back. The horse was given the gift of life, and that was a noble gesture. Because there was always the off chance that someone might see the horse, and come to investigate and perhaps be able to save Johnny’s life.
Once the cold had become unendurable, Johnny fired the little 30-30 he carried, one more time through his own heart and his life was over.
It was impossible to carry Johnny back on the packhorse in the position he had died and was now frozen in, so I built a large fire on each side of Johnny and boiled some coffee. It took hours, but eventually Johnny was thawed enough to drape him over the packhorse and lace him well enough to make it back to his cabin. On the trip back, I considered my options. If I took him to town, he would be laid out in the morgue and put to rest in a pauper’s grave in the city graveyard.
I decided against that course of action, I would bury him on a nice Southern exposed hillside on the North Bank of the Peace River. He’d have the sun to warm him through eternity and he would be where he spent his whole life and not in town with a bunch of people he didn’t know and who looked down upon him.
It took all day to chop and dig a grave in the frozen earth.  The grave had to be deep enough, so the animals would leave it alone. I wrapped Johnny in a blanket and put his rifle, his knife, some cooking gear, with matches and the bottle of whiskey I’d brought with me. You see Johnny was mostly native or Metis, many like him aren’t real sure of their heritage.  He knew about God through his mother; she was a devout woman who, I am sure fretted over Johnny’s immortal soul most of her life.
I said a fairly good prayer over Johnny and asked God to overlook the fact that he had ended his own life, for he had been in unimaginable pain and suffering from the cold. I told God that his weakness for whiskey was partially due to his heritage and that he was the warmest kindest human being I knew and to please have mercy on his immortal soul. I also told God that what I was doing was illegal, but I was burying Johnny the way he would have wanted and that should not be taken into consideration.
I took his horses home with me, I’m sure that Johnny would have wanted it that way as well.
Now, almost fifty years later, I think about the dignity that Johnny displayed while he was facing death and I look upon the petty and pathetic lives of our national politicians. I think of how they can’t admit the truth and must carry on with lies while compromising the economic survival of this country for their ideological dreams of control and the accumulation of wealth. I think Barb Wire Johnny had more class and honor in his little finger than the majority of our politicians could muster all together.
If the RCMP wants to prosecute me for burying Johnny illegally and they feel they found enough evidence during the two hours, in the forty below, they spent investigating his disappearance, I offer this encouragement, “Bring it on.”
This story may not be copied in any way without the express written permission of the author.

Category: Uncategorized

  Dog Day Afternoon

A story by Skookum Casa Del Lobos

Men’s evil manners live in brass: their virtues we write in water.
Henry VIII IV:2
I finished work on a hot fall day down in Cajun country. It was a ramshackle trailer house and a pile of rubble I wouldn’t classify as a scrap heap, but these Coonasses led out some beautiful horses. They were Thoroughbred race horses and they told me about the races they’d won over the last thirty years at the Fairgrounds In new Orleans and how they had taken a horse up to Arlington in Chicago and got beat by a whisker for $75,000 in a Grade One Stakes race.
Now, I take all these horse stories with a grain of salt, some of them are accurate and some of them get better for the telling. However, these guys had an excellent breeding program and they knew how to take care of a horse. They couldn’t do carpenter work, that was obvious and they didn’t have that innate ranch savvy that enables a guy to build things out of scrap that work as well or better than store bought, but they sure knew how to take care of and condition a horse.
We worked on a dozen, they paid me cash money and asked if I’d like a cold beer. I thought they had some in the house, but then I looked and saw they didn’t have power lines. They told me to follow them to the local club for a cold beer. It was a gray plywood building that had a six foot ceiling and no electricity. There were a couple of oil lanterns for light and the place had a dirt floor. It was primitive but they had the beer cooled down in a galvanized water trough packed with ice. The beer was cold and that was the main thing as I listened to more horse racing stories. The bartender brought us another round and I noticed a tattoo that chilled me to the bone. Drawn with ink on his bicep, there were two pitbulls standing on their hind legs trying to get at each other’s throat. Now, I knew why this place had a dirt floor, it was a dogfighting bar.
In my life, I love dogs much more than horses and would never derive pleasure from watching dogs fight. I’ve had Pitbulls and pits crossed with Catahoulas all my life, I have found them to be loyal loving dogs and every time one died, there was profound melancholy in my life.   As a matter fact, my dogs had saved my life once and that of my friend Knarley Manners.
I became uncomfortable with this place and the people. I wanted to ditch my hosts as soon as possible and never come back.
Suddenly, the door opened and a man walked in with a burst of glaring sunlight. He walked up to the bar and said, “I’ve got $500. for the man who thinks his dog can roll with my dog, may the best dog win. The place got real quiet, the bartender walked up to the man and said, “We’ll roll your dog, but we gotta see him first.” Now I was in trouble, if I stood up to leave, I might get a knife in my back for the effort, these gents didn’t look like the kind you would meet at church. I stayed seated and tried to ignore the conversation.
The new man walked out and came back in with one of the strangest looking dogs, I have ever seen. It was a short yellow dog with bowed legs and big lifeless eyes. Everyone but me laughed at his dog and thought he must be playing a stupid joke, but the man laid his five hundred on the bar; chairs were pushed aside and men struggled to get money out of their pockets to cover the bet on the yellow dog. I couldn’t believe that I was trapped and about to watch something I didn’t want to see.
The bartender went out the back door and came back with a large black Pitbull. He had many horrific scars on his body and head; he was a seasoned gladiator with a proven history. The yellow dog watched the old black Pit as the bartender put him on the floor. I thought the man must have been nuts, for surely this yellow dog was about to die a horrible death; how could anyone be so stupid? The old Pit was in no hurry, he knew this game well, he walked slowly around the little yellow dog about four feet away, while looking for an opening. The Yellow dog made sure the Pit stayed directly in front of him by pivoting on his hind legs and slowly shuffling his front legs. Both the dogs seemed wary of what the other one was capable of and they were being very careful while displaying complete confidence and a relaxed poise.
Just as the Pit started his second time around, the yellow dog rushed the pit and grabbed hold of his chest, the Pit groaned and fell, the yellow dog then shook the old Pit and the old dog gurgled a death rattle and died.
The bartender rushed up to the man, spun him around and demanded to know what kind of dog the yellow dog was.
The stranger laughed, “Well, before I cut off his tail and painted him yellow, he was an alligator.”
If you fell for this story, relax and put yourself at ease, Americans are played for fools all the time these days.
This story may not be used in way without the express written permission of the author.

Category: Uncategorized

This is an ancient story told on the Queen Charlotte Islands, and includes how Raven helped to bring the Sun, Moon, Stars, Fresh Water, and Fire to the world.

Long ago, near the beginning of the world, Gray Eagle was the guardian of the Sun, Moon and Stars, of fresh water, and of fire. Gray Eagle hated people so much that he kept these things hidden. People lived in darkness, without fire and without fresh water.

Gray Eagle had a beautiful daughter, and Raven fell in love with her. In the beginning, Raven was a snow-white bird, and as a such, he pleased Gray Eagle’s daughter. She invited him to her father’s longhouse.

When Raven saw the Sun, Moon and stars, and fresh water hanging on the sides of Eagle’s lodge, he knew what he should do. He watched for his chance to seize them when no one was looking. He stole all of them, and a brand of fire also, and flew out of the longhouse through the smoke hole. As soon as Raven got outside he hung the Sun up in the sky. It made so much light that he was able to fly far out to an island in the middle of the ocean. When the Sun set, he fastened the Moon up in the sky and hung the stars around in different places. By this new light he kept on flying, carrying with him the fresh water and the brand of fire he had stolen.

He flew back over the land. When he had reached the right place, he dropped all the water he had stolen. It fell to the ground and there became the source of all the fresh-water streams and lakes in the world. Then Raven flew on, holding the brand of fire in his bill. The smoke from the fire blew back over his white feathers and made them black. When his bill began to burn, he had to drop the firebrand. It struck rocks and hid itself within them. That is why, if you strike two stones together, sparks of fire will drop out.

Raven’s feathers never became white again after they were blackened by the smoke from the firebrand. That is why Raven is now a black bird.

Provided by the Ontario Metis Family Records Center- OMFRC- Community Newsletter “Feathers in the Wind” Feb 2011.



Category: Uncategorized


Edward Curtis photo of a Kwakwaka’wakw potlatch with dancers and singers.


A potlatch is a festival ceremony practised by indigenous peoples of the Pacific.Northwest Coast. This includes Haida, Nuxalk, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Coast Salish cultures. The word means “to give away” or “a gift”. It went through a history of rigorous ban by both the Canadian and United States’ federal governments.

At potlatch gatherings, a family or hereditary leader hosts guests in their family’s house and holds a feast for their guests. The main purpose of the potlatch is the re-distribution and reciprocity of wealth.

Different events take place during a potlatch, like either singing and dances, sometimes with masks or regalia, such as Chilkat blankets, the barter of wealth through gifts, such as dried foods, sugar, flour, or other material things, and sometimes money. For many potlatches, spiritual ceremonies take place for different occasions. This is either through material wealth such as foods and goods or non-material things such as songs and dances. For some cultures, such as Kwakwaka’wakw, elaborate and theatrical dances are performed reflecting the hosts’ genealogy and cultural wealth they possess. Many of these dances are also sacred ceremonies of secret societies like the hamatsa, or display of family origin from supernatural creatures such as the dzunukwa. Typically the potlatching is practiced more in the winter seasons as historically the warmer months were for procuring wealth for the family, clan, or village, then coming home and sharing that with neighbors and friends.

Within it, hierarchical relations within and between clans, villages, and nations, are observed and reinforced through the distribution or sometimes destruction of wealth, dance performances, and other ceremonies. The status of any given family is raised not by who has the most resources, but by who distributes the most resources. The hosts demonstrate their wealth and prominence through giving away goods.

Chief O’wax?a?laga?lis of the Kwagu’? describes the potlatch in his famous speech to anthropologist Franz Boas,

We will dance when our laws command us to dance, and we will feast when our hearts desire to feast. Do we ask the white man, ‘Do as the Indian does?’ It is a strict law that bids us dance. It is a strict law that bids us distribute our property among our friends and neighbors. It is a good law. Let the white man observe his law; we shall observe ours. And now, if you come to forbid us dance, be gone. If not, you will be welcome to us.”

Celebration of births, rites of passages, weddings, funerals, namings, and honoring of the deceased are some of the many forms the potlatch occurs under. Although protocol differs among the Indigenous nations, the potlatch will usually involve a feast, with music, dance, theatricality and spiritual ceremonies. The most sacred ceremonies are usually observed in the winter.

It is important to note the differences and uniqueness among the different cultural groups and nations along the coast. Each nation, tribe, and sometimes clan has its own way of practicing the potlatch so as to present a very diverse presentation and meaning. The potlatch, as an overarching term, is quite general, since some cultures have many words in their language for all different specific types of gatherings. Nonetheless, the main purpose has been and still is the redistribution of wealth procured by families.

Before the arrival of the Europeans, gifts included storable food (oolichan [candle fish] oil or dried food), canoes, and slaves among the very wealthy, but otherwise not income-generating assets such as resource rights. The influx of manufactured trade goods such as blankets and sheet copper into the Pacific Northwest caused inflation in the potlatch in the late eighteenth and earlier nineteenth centuries. Some groups, such as the Kwakwaka’wakw, used the potlatch as an arena in which highly competitive contests of status took place. In some cases, goods were actually destroyed after being received, or instead of being given away. The catastrophic mortalities due to introduced diseases laid many inherited ranks vacant or open to remote or dubious claim—providing they could be validated—with a suitable potlatch.

The potlatch was a cultural practice much studied by ethnographers. Sponsors of a potlatch give away many useful items such as food, blankets, worked ornamental mediums of exchange called “coppers”, and many other various items. In return, they earned prestige. To give a potlatch enhanced one’s reputation and validated social rank, the rank and requisite potlatch being proportional, both for the host and for the recipients by the gifts exchanged. Prestige increased with the lavishness of the potlatch, the value of the goods given away in it.

Potlatching was made illegal in Canada in 1885 and the United States in the late nineteenth century, largely at the urging of missionaries and government agents who considered it “a worse than useless custom” that was seen as wasteful, unproductive, and contrary to “civilized” values.

The potlatch was seen as a key target in assimilation policies and agendas. Missionary William Duncan wrote in 1875 that the potlatch was “by far the most formidable of all obstacles in the way of Indians becoming Christians, or even civilized.” Thus in 1885, the Indian Act I was revised to include clauses banning the Potlatch and making it illegal to practice. The official legislation read,

“Every Indian or other person who engages in or assists in celebrating the Indian festival known as the “Potlatch” or the Indian dance known as the “Tamanawas” is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not more than six nor less than two months in a jail or other place of confinement; and, any Indian or other person who encourages, either directly or indirectly an Indian or Indians to get up such a festival or dance, or to celebrate the same, or who shall assist in the celebration of same is guilty of a like offence, and shall be liable to the same punishment.”

Eventually the potlatch law, as it became known, was amended to be more inclusive and address technicalities that had led to dismissals of prosecutions by the court. Legislation included guests who participated in the ceremony. The indigenous people were too large to police and the law too difficult to enforce. Duncan Campbell Scott convinced Parliament to change the offense from criminal to summary, which meant ‘the agents, as justice of the peace, could try a case, convict, and sentence.”  Even so, except in a few small areas, the law was generally perceived as harsh and untenable. Even the Indian agents employed to enforce the legislation considered it unnecessary to prosecute, convinced instead that the potlatch would diminish as younger, educated, and more “advanced” Indians took over from the older Indians, who clung tenaciously to the custom.

Sustaining the customs and culture of their ancestors, indigenous people now openly hold potlatch to commit to the restoring of their ancestors’ ways.  The ban was only repealed in 1951.

Provided by the Ontario Metis Family Records Center- OMFRC- Community Newsletter “Feathers in the Wind” Feb 2011


Category: Uncategorized

Nicaragua, Central America’s largest nation, was named for one of its original inhabitants, Chief Nicarao. The country is divided into three distinct geographical regions: the Pacific lowlands, the north-central mountains, and the Caribbean lowlands, also known as the Mosquito Coast or Mosquitía. Sometimes called the ‘Land of Lakes and Volcanoes,’ Nicaragua is the site of 11 major volcanoes––the ash of which has enriched the soil for farming––and two of Central America’s largest lakes; Lago de Managua and Lago de Nicaragua, which is home to the world’s only freshwater sharks. The nation’s rich avian life includes the quetzal (holy bird of the Maya) and its jungles contain trees that grow up to 60 metres (200 ft) high.

Nicaragua’s population is comprised primarily of mestizos (people of mixed European and Native American descent) but includes ethnic minorities of Native American, African and European background. The official language is Spanish, which although similar to that spoken in other Central American countries, is enriched with unique Nicaraguan slang. English and a number of indigenous tongues are spoken on the Caribbean coast.

Like most Central American countries, the basis of family structure is formed by the nuclear family. However, the system of compadrazgo (sets of relationships between a child and his or her godparents, and between parents and their child’s godparents) is extremely important. The culture is a blend of Hispanic and Native American elements. Music, which is a vital part of the country’s many festivals, includes such instruments as chirimias (wind instruments) marimbas, guitars, zuls (traditional flutes) and maracas. Poetry is one of the countries most treasured arts and includes the works of Rubén Darío who is known as the ‘Prince of Spanish-American literature.’ Traditional crafts include gold- and silverware and the making of guitars, mandolins and violins, straw mats, and hammocks. People living on the Solentiname Islands are well-known for a colourful and unusual style of paintings known as ‘Solentiname School,’ which has achieved international acclaim.

Provided by the Ontario Metis Family Records Center- OMFRC- Community Newspaper “Feathers in the Wind” Feb. 2011



Category: Uncategorized


Cree artist and print-maker, Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau, drew on her peoples’ spiritual relationship with the land and animals of the North for inspiration when creating the East Cree block. She has created her tribute to L’ours chasseur des étoiles (“The Star-chasing Bear”) on white-tanned moose-hide. The backdrop is a hand-painted, navy sky beaded with planets, moon and stars. They are being liberally tossed into the heavens by embroidered bear from the stores upon his shoulders. In traditional Cree mythology, the bear united with the first human woman sent down from the skies, and henceforth became known as “grandfather.”

The Cree’s traditional territory borders onto eastern James Bayand southeastern Hudson Bay, stretching westward to the plains. This area, the Cree call Iiyiyuuschii (land of the people), is approximately two-thirds the size of France. The people speak five dialects, all related to the Algonquian linguistic family. They call themselves Ayisiniwok (true men) or Iynu (the people) and areCanada’s largest First Nations group. The name Cree is the shortened version of “Kristenaux”, given to them by French fur traders.

The East Cree have also been known as the East-Main Cree, James Bay Cree, and Moose Cree. The various bands often view their own identity as quite distinct from each other. Still, they share many of the same cultural values and social mores. Hunting is a major part of their traditional practices, filled with meaning, beliefs and rituals. It is believed that as much skill as the hunter may have, it is the animal who gives itself to be killed. The process is a relationship between hunter and hunted, and success a mutual effort on behalf of both man and environment.

Once small nomadic groups, the Cree first came into contact with Europeans in 1610, during the explorations of Henry Hudson. Traders sought the highly prized fur pelts the Cree collected, providing a new way for them to earn a living. In modern times, the incursion of mining, forestry and hydroelectric projects (such as theJames Bayproject) has drastically affected their way of life and resulted in the forced relocation of entire villages. Yet to this day, the territory provides many Cree with their traditional livelihood from wild game such as moose, caribou, geese, and fish.

Provided by the Ontario Metis Family Records Center- OMFRC- Community Newsletter “Feathers in the Wind” .

The photo and text are from:


Category: Uncategorized


Many people ask how the Ontario Metis Family Records Center differs from the Metis Nation of Ontario, here is a brief explanation:

The MNO is a representative organization and as such negotiates with the government for Metis rights.  As such, they are recognized by the government.  The OMFRC focuses on documenting First Nations and Metis family histories.  Many government departments refer people to us so we are also recognized by the government, but differently.

To join the MNO you must provide full documentation of your descent from an aboriginal person.  The OMFRC will try to verify your aboriginal ancestry without full documentation from the information you are able to provide.  The OMFRC has an extensive data base of First Nations and Metis family histories and tries to match what you provide against these files.  We are very successful at this.

 An email from one of the OMFRC members demonstrates how this is put into practice on a day to day basis:

“First let me tell you about how Aboriginal and Metis Status affects Donna Cona. If we are to maintain out status as an “aboriginal supplier”, we must maintain an average of 30% Aboriginal/Metis employees.  Thanks to your efforts, our ratio has grown to 40%.  We have passed every audit that asks us to show documentation that supports that average.  Also, INAC and PSABA ( do recognize your organization and how it identifies ancestral links to the Aboriginal and Metis communities.”

“You offer a very specialized service to people like myself.   People who are curious about their heritage, people who have little or no information to go on – people that wouldn’t have any idea as to how to get started.  What an accomplishment and a testament to your organization. You have so much to be proud of.  You are giving back to, supporting and increasing, members of a community.  The OMFRC is contributing to my ongoing education about myself and my identity.  I am grateful to all of you”.


Category: Uncategorized

First Peoples in Canada

This elegant rendering of an Arctic Rose was beaded by Dora McNeely onto moose hide, using pink and burgundy beads with a translucent outer coating. On either side with two delicate buds lie ready to burst open. This flower is a common theme among northern people, as it is one of the few flowering plants to survive the extreme cold of the Northwest Territories. Women of the Sahtu Dene use it to decorate many items, such as their slippers, jackets, vests and gloves. The blockmaker transferred a design made by her deceased mother, and created the block in her memory.

The Hare are one of four regional bands (along with Mountain Dene, Slavey and Sahtu Dene) who are recognized by anthropologists as being Sahtu Dene. Each band is associated with a distinct dialect of “the Slavey-Hare” language, one of 24 Northern Athapskan languages. The history of the Sahtu Dene is “written on the land” and they maintain an important relationship between their culture and the landscape. The Hare have lived for centuries in the forested areas that border the lower Mackenzie River valley.

They led a nomadic life of hunting, fishing and trapping. Their traditional territory stretched as far as the lands to the west and northwest of Great Bear Lake. In these regions they shared with other Dene nations. In 1789, Alexander Mackenzie, travelling with native guides, identified the Hare as being distinct, noting their heavy reliance on hare skins for their clothing. Indeed, their name, Hare, is believed to be an English translation of the tribal name Kawchottine, which refers to their reliance on the Snowshoe Hare for survival. The Hare population was relatively small at the time of contact (700-800 people).

The varied terrain of Hare territory provided large game (such as moose or caribou, depending on the region); while freshwater lakes were well stocked with trout, whitefish and other species. Hunting methods included use of bows, arrows, spears, snares, pounds and deadfalls. Small game fell to snares, hooks, willow-bark nets, or were caught in dams built across narrow streams. Plant-life was of minor significance to the diet. However, spruce sap was chewed as a gum and was used as a poultice for wounds, and certain lichens and mosses were boiled to make beverages and medicines. Favourite delicacies included caribou tongue, muskrat and beaver tails. Food was preserved by freezing in winter caches or by smoking it. Pemmican was made by pounding together meat or fish with berries and grease.

The establishment of trading posts, which soon grew into towns, encouraged regional concentrations of native populations throughout the north. Today, the two main Hare communities having the greatest concentrations within their traditional territory are Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake, NWT.

Provided by the Ontario Metis Family Records Center- OMFRC- Community Newsletter “Feathers in the Wind” .

Copied from

Category: Uncategorized

Feb 2012:

Here is an excerpt from an email between our Director Art Haines and one of the OMFRC Data Entry Volunteers Kris Cant:  “Kris, every single name you enter adds to the database and each name may relate to hundreds or even thousands of other people.  It’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle and each name is an essential piece.  Some day when the database is near completion it will provide an awesome picture of the history of Canada and its native people and you are one of the artists.”


Provided by the Ontario Metis Family Records Center- OMFRC- Community Newsletter “Feathers in the Wind”.


Category: Uncategorized



We hope that the site will eventually offer something for everyone. Topics will be added on a continuing basis on every subject imaginable: history, culture, sports, current events, anything and everything relating to First Nations, Métis and Inuit. There will also be articles on aboriginal peoples around the world. We would be pleased to receive your suggestions on topics you would like to see covered. Send your suggestions to with the subject ‘Aboriginal Living’.

We are an organization of volunteers. If you are interested in contributing articles we would love to hear from you. As long as the topic is relevant and not offensive we would be pleased to receive it. Photos are also welcome. Articles, photos and questions can be sent to the above noted email address. We would of course give full credit to you as the source of the material.

We hope you find what you are looking for!


Many high schools and colleges offer courses on aboriginal studies. We offer space on this site to educators and instructors for course materials. We already enjoy a relationship with Fleming College and their course material has been provided. Hopefully many more schools will accept our offer.

This website is provided as a public service by the Ontario Métis Family Records Center.

Other websites of the organization are and

There is also a free monthly newsletter at

It should be noted that while Ontario was the original focus of our research, our records now cover all of Canada as well as the United States.

To find the articles that relate to a particular school, click on the school's name just above the boxed articles, or use our search feature


visit This site will be of particular interest to those individuals looking for a source for their Certificate of Aboriginal Status cards (sometimes referred to as a Metis card or Metis status card). Join a warm community of wonderful people who share a metis heritage - Call today 613-332-4789

Ontario Metis Family Records Center

Visit The Ontario Metis Family Records Center (OMFRC)- dedicated to researching and documenting aboriginal and Metis families of North America, particularly Ontario. Call today: (613) 332-4789 and join a wonderful community of people who share a metis heritage.

Ripple Effects

The RippleEffects newsletter is an excellent source of current aboriginal events.


Advertisement Disclaimer
The inclusion of advertising does not constitute an endorsement of the accuracy of the ad by the Ontario Métis Family Records Center(OMFRC) or of the products or services advertised. Advertisements on this website should not be considered any form of advice or recommendation and we do not intend you to rely upon it when making (or refraining from making) any decision. The Information is not a substitute for the exercise of good judgement. The OMFRC reserves the right to accept or reject any advertisement submitted for inclusion on its websites. However, the OMFRC does not attempt to investigate or verify claims made in advertisements appearing on OMFRC websites. The OMFRC disclaims any liability whatsoever in connection with advertising appearing on its websites.
It is up to you to decide whether what an advertiser offers is right for you. We take every care to ensure that scams and spamming are not run on this website, but we recommend that any purchaser/service user take every precaution possible to satisfy themselves of the authenticity of any service/product purchased and responsibility for this lies solely with the purchaser/service user.