Why don’t more Métis people go to traditional ceremonies? How does going to ceremonies impact Métis identity? In Rekindling the Sacred Fire, Chantal Fiola investigates the relationship between Red River Métis ancestry, Anishinaabe spirituality, and identity, bringing into focus the ongoing historical impacts of colonization upon Métis relationships with spirituality on the Canadian prairies. Using a methodology rooted in an Indigenous world view, Fiola interviews eighteen people with Métis ancestry, or an historic familial connection to the Red River Métis, who participate in Anishinaabe ceremonies, sharing stories about family history, self-identification, and their relationships with Aboriginal and Eurocanadian cultures and spiritualities.
At a time when questions of identity are so important for people who have found themselves marginalized as a result of colonialism, the M tis could not be a more appropriate group to consider in order to dig into the deeper questions of identity, community, and belonging. They occupy an uncanny space as there has not been, and still seems not to be, a coherent definition of their identity, whether it is native, mixed blood', or other. Fiola, a professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba and a descendant of the Red River M tis, examines how the M tis identify with the traditions of the past, and where they fit in the present. Her central question is how can the M tis relate to their Anishinaabe past and spirituality? Addressing this, Fiola focuses on lived experiences through a series of interviews that address identity, self-perception and the question of community. She focuses on how the M tis can rediscover their heritage and the implications in identity politics, law and history. This is a great book in an under researched field that tackles important questions without an overt recourse to the typical type of theory that can be alienating in itself.