Book ‘Around the Kitchen Table’ by Métis scholars launches in Winnipeg

A book that features the works of more than two dozen Métis scholars, artists, storytellers and community leaders has been published.

“Métis women have been adaptive, cunning, and essential in supporting their communities throughout history, and those skills have long extended into the academy,” said Laura Forsythe, a co-editor and assistant professor at the University of Winnipeg’s Faculty of Education.

Forsythe, who co-edited the book Around the Kitchen Table, with Jennifer Markides, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary, said the idea came to her while completing her PhD. At the time, she noticed a stark lack of representation of Métis women’s work.

“I didn’t really get to read Métis women’s scholarship,” Forsythe said. “On none of the syllabuses that I had ever seen, or had been given from my professors were there voices from my own people, nevermind women that were Métis.”

The collection is comprised of three sections: identity, women in the academy and research methodologies. Lucy Fowler, an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Education, wrote an article exploring Métis research methodologies from a two-spirit perspective.

“I’m so honoured to be part of this volume with these incredible Métis scholars who have shaped this field for decades and some of the new folks coming up who will continue to shape it for decades to come,” Fowler said.

Chantal Fiola and her wife, Nicki Ferland, also contributed to the book. On the cover, Ferland’s story quilt, titled Her Roots Go Deep, depicts the roles Métis women play in governance, spirituality and their communities.

Fiola’s article discusses engaging in traditional ceremonies at the time of their daughter’s birth.

“My piece in this book is essentially about my and my wife’s journey as a two-spirit Michif family and our participation in ceremonies to prepare for the birth of our daughter during birth, after birth, rights of passage, and some thoughts around parenting as Michif self-determination,” said Fiola, an associate professor and interim associate vice-president, Indigenous at the University of Winnipeg said.

While the collection marks a first for the group, the contributors say it certainly won’t be the last.

“We persevere, and we are resilient, and we continue to work, and work hard,” Fowler said. “I think this volume really shows the accumulation of all of those decades of work and labour and love for our people, because we’re all doing this because we love our community.”

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