An Estevan woman is going to chronicle her Métis roots and her family’s experiences, during a Zoom webinar that will be hosted by Southeast Newcomer Services.
Dawn Marie Sloan-Beahm will talk about the experiences of the Métis people when it comes to discrimination and racism during the session March 23 at 1 p.m. She has a story she has written about her grandfather, Ely Delorme, that she has shared previously.
“I have created a video with the story of my grandfather, and then we’ll stop and have time for discussion and questions,” Sloan-Beahm told the Mercury.
Her father was originally from Jackfish Lake, and settled with his wife and children in the Fairholme area in northwest Saskatchewan.
Sloan-Beahm noted that the video goes back to the time of the first Red River uprising in the 19th century, because her great, great, great-grandfather Andre Nault was the person who first saw the surveyors arrive in the land near the Red River settlements.
“He was involved in helping Louis Riel set up the provisional government, so we go right back to 1869 to get that initial history moving forward, until my grandfather was born,” said Sloan-Beahm.
She will also share a PowerPoint presentation of First Nation and Métis items in her collection. Sloan-Beahm has shared that collection previously at multicultural events and other similar events.
“There is a variety of books, first of all, the things that I had to read up on so that I could learn more about my own history and heritage and what it meant, and then I have decorative items and replications of artefacts from history.
“I don’t have any original, antique items, because I believe those sorts of things should be in a museum for everyone to share, so I tend to buy replicas. But I prefer replicas that are really more like what they actually would have been like, way back hundreds of years ago. For example, I have a replica of a tomahawk that is a pretty good replica.”
She also has artwork, posters and paintings on the walls, along with clothing and jewelry. They are separated into categories.
Sloan-Beahm said she is not an expert on Métis history, but she has a personal interest because she is Métis.
“I like to learn about my own family history, and what sorts of things happened in my own genealogical chart. So I’m just willing to share that. I have a collection of items because I like them and they interest me, so if anybody is interested in that, I’m happy to share that, and I’m happy to share the things I’ve learned so far.”
She hopes there will be a give-and-take aspect to the presentation, so that others who have knowledge of other aspects of what it is to be Métis can share their information with her, and they learn from each other.
Sloan-Beahm has several different bloodlines in her background, but she remains proud of her Métis heritage.
“This is a part of the history that I like to investigate the most because there was so much bigotry and racism at the time that my mother was a child that it’s been hard for me to actually find some of the information. It wasn’t talked about because they had to listen to so much racial slurs against them, and different treatment, that it was sort of brushed under the rug and hidden.”
Sloan-Beahm’s video and PowerPoint will last about an hour, and then she will take time to answer questions from those in the webinar.
Sponsored by South East Sport, Culture & Recreation District Inc. and Southeast Newcomer Services, this presentation is free and open to everyone. To register, please phone 306-637-4920 and provide your email address.