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The Métis Militant Rebels of 1985

The two articles that I have chosen were both about the life of the Metis people living on the South Saskatchewan River in 1885. The Metis were Canadians of Mixed Indian and European ancestry. But while the article written by Mr. David Lee was about the insurrection of this people in 1885, the article composed by Ms. Diane P. Payment was about the Metis women who survived the war and the way they lived their lives, as they experienced the different injustices of their society. Lee showed that the Metis people had a fair view of the politics of Canada and that they exhibited a certain degree of pride for their culture and ethnicity.

He said that the Metis were proud of their uniqueness and individuality, their talent in riding horses and their survival as group. He said that these factors may have been some of the reasons why they started the rebellion against the government who they thought was repressing them and restraining them from living the lives they were used to. He also showed that even though most of the insurrectionists are old members of the ethnic group, the insurrectionist movement itself has a strong foundation in the minds of their youth and even have had members from the non-Metis population.

While Lee “explored” the war of the Metis men, Payment investigated the life of the Metis women and their simple life tending the house, the farm, and taking care of the whole “Historiographical Essay/Article Review” “Page # 2” family. She declared that the life of these women was not “la vie en rose,” as opposed to what the dominant Victorian culture that the church and society promoted at that time. She described these women as being insecure and was “essentially domestic and family oriented. ”

Lee organized his data by narrating the events of the 1885 rebellion of the Metis ethnic group. He was also able to describe the Metis as an ethnic group and the numerous languages they used. He was successful in defining the Metis as a group who didn’t have a single language but used different languages from their different ancestors. He was able to ascribe a rather different and much simpler means of labeling this ethnic group instead of using the numerous labels that other people use to indicate them.

He was also able to deliver a comprehensive report of the war and the militants who joined the war and even included details such as the names of the imprisoned militants and those who were killed in battle. He also followed up on the offspring of these militants to show the language more used by the majority of the Metis people. Payment was able to describe the situation of the Metis women accurately and was able to use different sources to validate her findings. She used available data from previous researches and was able to interview surviving women who were born during the era.

She was able to cite different experiences by these women and was able to summarize the kinds of lifestyle this people had. She was able to show that oral means of telling the history of these people were more prevalent especially to the poor members of this ethnic “Historiographical Essay/Article Review” “Page # 3” group. Written notes of this people were only available for the more “upper class” members of the society. But despite the lack of available resources she was able to attain much needed information and was able to combine this information and produce relevant finding for the understanding of this culture.

Both authors attempted to describe and define the culture of the Metis people, both applied their own approach in doing so. Both were able to show the readers a glimpse of the Metis culture and were able to increase our level of understanding towards this people. Lee exploited the numerous data available about the war and the information from various documents found in the files of the Canadian government. He was able to extract ideas from the data found in these documents. These showed that he was able to show a firm grasp of the topic and all the information relating to the topic.

Although he presented a good view about the Metis people and their culture, he failed to keep up with the title he used in his article, because even though the topic is still about the Metis people, he failed to keep in track with his chosen title. Despite the fact that he used the Metis rebellion of 1885 to describe the language used by the Metis, he failed to show the facts prior to the war and failed to show the languages the Metis people used before the war. This weakness in Lee’s research can be ignored due to the lack of available data written about the history of the Metis people. As what Payment pointed out.

“Historiographical Essay/Article Review” “Page # 4” Payment overcame this obstacle by seeking out oral reports from actual members of the Metis group. She received first hand data and interpreted this data and drew up her own conclusion about the Metis people. She was able to conclude a sound description of the Metis people. But her approach has a flaw. It was prone to the personal prejudices of the interviewee. The various statements of this people were biased and are inaccurate to the actual happenings of this era. The approaches used by the authors can be attributed to the topics that they chose themselves.

Lee’s topic is about the 1885 insurgency so he relied mostly on the documents attained from the government files, while Payment’s approach is trough the use of first hand data. This approach is attributed to the fact that this people did not right about their own history but is actually transferred orally from generation to generation Despite all this we can still say that their studies were able to show different perspective about the Metis people. And that their studies are the most accurate findings that we can get about this ethnic group and as the current technology and known data would give us.

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