Alberta Métis Oral History & Traditional Land Use Project

To help facilitate the recognition of Métis Aboriginal rights, the Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC) retained EPI to assist in the Métis Traditional Settlements Traditional Land Use Mapping and Oral History Project.   EPI led an initial pilot project at the Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement, then subsequent projects in Gift Lake, Peavine, Fishing Lake, Elizabeth, Paddle Prairie, Kikino, and East Prairie Metis Settlements. Using oral histories and maps, the project team recorded traditional use areas and historical community patterns as well as other important aspects of the Métis communities. Several projects also included archival research of scrip, homestead and trapline records, and ground-truthing fieldwork using GPS technology and audio/visual data. Geographic information was organized and stored in a GIS database system, allowing the comparison of data and identification of patterns. Projects in several Settlements began with training and capacity building exercises, a needs assessment and gap analysis of available information, technical preparation, a community orientation and an extensive interview process. This project resulted in a traditional use database and one for historical communities, as well as traditional use atlases, with detailed maps illustrating historical communities, traditional uses (hunting, fishing, etc.), occupancy, and spiritual significance. Important tools such as the project interview forms, geo-databases, and map design were developed for use in later projects.