The Wandering Métis one year in and he’s not done yet
- EFN Staff | September 06, 2023
Jason McKay also known as the Wandering Métis spent the year traveling around the province gathering important Métis history and recording it for others.
He uses both the oral histories and modern social media platforms to share and preserve knowledge about his people.
McKay began his quest last year during the 50th Anniversary of Back to Batoche Days. It is an initiative supported by Métis Nation- Saskatchewan
“The experience was great,” he said.
While at this year’s event McKay didn’t have to do too much wandering. He is hard to miss these days because his SUV is covered with The Wandering Métis logo and other decals.
“I had a lot of people come up to me asking me what the Wandering Métis was about,” said McKay. “It was great to share my story.
Reflecting on his journey there are a few moments that stick out with him such as being able to interview his mom.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would interview my mother,” said McKay. “That was one of my proudest moments of being the Wandering Métis, to be able to interview the woman who brought me into this world.”
After a full year of travel, the work is not done.
The Métis have communities throughout the province that can be divided into three regions – north, central, and south.
“The Métis story from Stony Rapids down to Indian Head is very different,” said McKay. “I’ve made it my duty to capture everything in between and just basically to learn who we are as Métis people.,”
Over the past year, he was able to travel up to La Loche and spend the weekend with the Ducharme Elementary School.
The community has a cabin the students from the school can utilize.
At the cabin, the students have an opportunity to be taught directly by the elders and knowledge keepers. Basically, the youths go out into the bush and learn how to live off the land by the experts.
“They learned what it’s like to set traps for mink, martin, fisher, and lynx,” said McKay. “They learned how to set nets underneath the ice for ice fishing. Sustenance living, as our Métis people have done for many years. So, the kids learn how to do that. For me, that was one of the most memorable moments I’ve had, to spend three days there with students and learning [alongside them]. It was great.”
He captured the La Loche Trapper School visit on a seven-minute video, which is available on the Wandering Métis YouTube channel. The other two episodes include the 50th Anniversary of Back to Batoche and the Rossignol Elementary School’s Michif Festival.
Part of the work McKay is doing is to create more awareness in Saskatchewan among its citizens and the general public.
“It’s important too for people to know who Métis people are,” he said.
To share information, he is utilizing social media and he encourages people to find The Wandering Métis on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
“At least people can know who we are as Métis people,” said McKay. “When they see the Infinity symbol, they can identify what it is and who we are as Métis people and, if I do a small part and I touch one person’s interest, then my job is being done.”
With files from Marjorie D.L. Roden