A Snap Shot of Land based Metis Settlements in Alberta

Lori St.Cyr, Community Learning Network

1 4 13 December 2017


As the Indigenous Liaison for the Community Learning Network, a large part of my position is working directly with the Metis Settlements. Some of the Metis Settlements are new to the CALP world and others have been in the world of CALP for a very long time. Being Metis from a Metis Settlement, and as a former CALP coordinator/facilitator, I am very interested in not only the CALP world but also the world of the Metis Settlements. I hope by having a better understanding of the history and the story of the Metis peoples we will all have a better, more in-depth understanding of what it means to be a Metis learner from a Metis Settlement, and what challenges facilitators, administrators, coordinators and learners may face on a regular basis. I have started this journey of exploration by looking directly at the location, populations and most common languages spoken, to have very small snap shot of what life may be like on a Metis Settlement. In future blogs I will be exploring the challenges and successes of the Metis learner and the Metis CALPs, as well as who is a Metis learner.

What is a Metis?

-Oxford Dictionary definition
noun: Metis; plural noun: Metis; noun: Métis; plural noun: Métises

1. (Especially in western Canada) a person of mixed American Indian and Euro-American ancestry, in particular one of a group of such people who in the 19th century constituted the so-called Métis nation in the areas around the Red and Saskatchewan rivers.

Did you know?

Alberta is the only province in Canada that has Land Based Metis Settlements? In 1938 The Population Betterment Act was passed by Alberta Legislature, forming 12 Metis Settlements in Alberta. In the early 1950’s the Alberta Government dissolved the following 4 - Touchwood, Marlboro, Cold Lake and Wolf Lake. The remaining Settlements are Paddle Prairie, Peavine, Gift Lake, East Prairie, Buffalo Lake, Kikino, Elizabeth and Fishing Lake Metis Settlement. These 8 settlements consist of approximately 1.25 million acres of land. Let’s find out more about them.

Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement is the largest of the remaining settlements with a land mass of 1,738.82 km2. Paddle Prairie is located in northern Alberta along the Mackenzie Highway (Highway 35) approximately 75 km south of the Town of High Level. According to the 2016 census, the population of Paddle Prairie is 544 residents. The most common languages spoken are English and Cree, but French and Germanic Languages were also identified as spoken languages.

Peavine Metis Settlement has a landmass of 817.13 km2. Peavine is located on Highway 750 approximatively 57 km northeast of the Town of High Prairie. The population of Peavine is 607 residents. English and Cree languages are the most commonly spoken. Ojibway was also identified as a spoken language.

Gift Lake Metis Settlement has a landmass of 812.73 km2. Located on Highway 750 approximately 90 km northeast of the Town of High Prairie and approximately 13 km west of Atikameg. The population of Gift Lake according to the 2016 census is 658 residents. The common languages identified were English and Cree.

East Prairie Metis Settlement has a landmass of 334.44 km2. East Prairie is located 20 km off Highway 2 and 45 km southeast of the Town of High Prairie. East Prairie has a population of 304 residents. The most common spoken languages are English and Cree, and a small group identified French and Mandarin as spoken languages.

Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement has a land base of 336.97 km2 and is located on Highway 855 approximately 125 km northeast of Edmonton. The population of Buffalo Lake is 712 residents. English and Cree are the main languages spoken although French, Ojibway and Michif were identified as spoken languages.

Kikino Metis Settlement has a land base of 443.57 km2 and boasts the largest population with 934 residents. Kikino is located approximately 200 km northeast of Edmonton along Highway 36. English and Cree are the main spoken languages. French, Dene and Austronesian languages were also identified by smaller groups.

Elizabeth Metis Settlement is the smallest of the 8 settlements, with a land base of 252.44 km2 and a population of 353 residents. Elizabeth is located on Highway 897 approximately 32 km south of Cold Lake. English and Cree are the 2 main languages spoken although the French, Michif, Ojibway, and Athabaskan languages have also been identified.

Fishing Lake Metis Settlement has a land base of 355.51 km2, and is located 15 km east of Highway 897 and 52 km south of Cold Lake. The population of Fishing Lake is 446 residents. The main languages spoken are English and Cree. French, and Austronesian languages were identified in small numbers.

After spending a very short amount of time learning about the location, population and spoken languages of these 8 Metis Settlements, you can start to see some of the challenges regarding location and access to services for the Metis learner. Challenges of transportation, language barriers, and possible lack of services or facilities might be some of these. Without further exploration of what life for a Metis learner on a Metis Settlement is like, our vison and understanding will not be clear.

Thank you for taking the time to look at this very small snap shot of the Metis Settlements and I hope you continue the journey of exploration and understanding of the Metis Learner with me in my future blogs.

kinanâskomitin (pronounced – Kin ask oom Tin) (Thank you)
ki'htwa'm ka-wa'p(a)mit(i)na'n. (Pronounced - Keepa ta wapintin) (Will see you again used for good bye).

Lori St. Cyr
CLN Indigenous Liaison



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