Alberta Metis Oral History and Land Use Project
To help facilitate the recognition of Métis Aboriginal rights, the Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC) retained EcoPlan to assist in the Métis Traditional Settlements Traditional Land Use Mapping and Oral History Project. EcoPlan 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 session, and an extensive interview process. This project resulted in:
- a traditional use and historical communities’ database,
- 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.