chapter  Chapter Four
30 Pages

The Essential Métis: Being Halfbreed

WithJoanne R. DiNova

This chapter begins with Margo Thunderbird’s words because they allude to a tendency toward contradiction inherent in the colonial mentality. On the academic front, however, several works on Maria Campbell’s Halfbreed have focused on the “liminality” or “hybridity” of the writer. Agnes Grant suggests that Campbell is “preoccupied with telling non-Natives what it is like to be a Halfbreed” that Metis are not hopelessly caught between two cultures,” Grant concludes that “Until [Campbell] wrote the book, ‘halfbreed’ was nothing but a common derogatory term; it means a person living between two cultures”. The chapter argue that Halfbreed functions not only as an assertion of Metis identity, but that, in the Metis tradition, it stories survival in a most powerful and Metis way. As Campbell points out in Halfbreed, the division that accompanies deprivation also plagued radical movements of the 1960s among Native people: “The proposal for a federation was rejected by the Treaty Indians.