Frank Tough: “Little is known of the interior”: The Application of Historical Cartography to Determine the Crown’s Effective Control over the Métis of the Île-à- la Crosse Region, Saskatchewan.

In the landmark Métis rights case, R. v. Powley, the Supreme Court of Canada employed the concept of effective control to  determine the temporal benchmark for ascertaining if particular practices (e.g., hunting) were integral to a Métis way of life.  If practices and activities that were integral to a Métis way of  life were not explicitly extinguished by the Crown prior to 1982, then such practices and activities are protected constitutionally as Métis Aboriginal Rights. The determination of the date of effective control is an empirical problem requiring detailed historical and geographical research.  Several interrelated activities indicate the Crown or state’s ability to establish effective control. However, and often overlooked by legalists, exploration and mapping activities (where things were) and changes to property rights (regulations concerning land use and ownership) are important benchmarks of the state’s presence in an “unknown” region.  With respect to the contemporary need to clarify Métis Aboriginal Rights, this analysis will focus on the use of historical cartographic sources to demonstrate how the Crown’s spatial knowledge of the Île-à- la Crosse region indicates the extent of its effective control.

Kisha Supernant: Mapping Metis Mobility? Using GIS to Map Archaeological Landscapes in the Canadian West.

Relationships between artifact assemblages and cultural identities are complex and difficult to disentangle. The Canadian west during the 1800s provides an interesting historical, cartographic, and archaeological case study that has potential to shed light on the dynamics of settlement, material culture, and the mobile nature of Métis peoples. While the historical record of the Metis is reasonably well-understood, the archaeological record of the Metis has received less attention.  In this presentation, Kisha provided an overview of her recent research on the practice of Metis overwintering in in Alberta and Saskatchewan, exploring the connections between the archaeological record and Metis identity. She discussed the ways she uses GIS-based analyses and mapping techniques to examine the ways in which we might try to make sense of the complex geographies, kinship networks, and identities of the Metis in the 19th century and today.