I read and reread with passion BOIS-BRÛLÉS. This ethnohistorical study sheds a dazzling light on my ancestors, the Métis of the Gatineau Valley. I recognized myself as never before in this work and understood with greater clarity where I came from and who I am. Through the words, I saw once again the beautiful landscapes of my childhood. I vividly recalled the times spent on the shores of majestic rivers of the Outaouais, the Gatineau, the Lièvre as well as the Cabonga reservoir near the Grand Lake Victoria. This rich telling of this history reminded me of the exceptional men, women and children I had known then.
Michel Noel, Métis author
One question remains: can a historical Métis presence in Québec be legitimately upheld?
Some academic detractors and activists posit that there can be no “true” Métis in Québec.
Yet, in their upcoming book entitled Les Bois-Brûlés de l’Outaouais. Une étude ethnoculturelle des Métis de la Gatineau, Michel Bouchard, Sebastien Malette and Guillaume Marcotte propose that there are deep Métis roots in western Québec.
The three authors document the long-forgotten Métis community, by bringing together an impressive collection of unpublished archival and oral history records. By adopting a comparative approach, the authors combine their expertise in anthropology, legal studies and history to present an academic account of the Métis identity and historical experience of the Gatineau Valley from the turn of the nineteenth century to the present day. The evidence they present in this book attests to the emergence of a diasporic historical Métis community that was tied to the regions fur trade in the late 18th and first half of the 19th century.
This study of the Métis community of the Gatineau Valley thus opens a new chapter in our understanding of the Métis in Québec historiography, integrating the Outaouais region into the history of the continental fur trade and Métis history. Tracing two centuries of history, Bouchard, Malette and Marcotte urge us to rethink Métis Indigeneity in Québec.
The book is now available, in French:
An English version of our book is also expected to be released in 2019.