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  • February 15, 2023 from 1:00pm to 2:00pm


ONTARIO NEIHR WEBINAR SERIES 2022/2023Title: From the Homeland: Métis Identity and

Digital Storytelling

Speakers: Dr. Chelsea Gabel and Dr. Bobby Henry

Elder: Clayton Shirt

February 15, 2023

1:00pm to 2:00pm EST


The effects of intergenerational trauma and continued settler colonialism have resulted in the loss of identity, culture, and language for many Métis people in Canada. Misconceptions about who is Métis and what it means to be Métis continues to negatively impact the understanding of health, wellbeing, and overall experiences of Métis people and communities in Canada. With a focus on distinctions-based research in Canada, it is of great importance for students, researchers, universities, policy-makers, and funders to understand the Métis lifeworlds. Despite the historical and contemporary exclusion from Canadian society, Métis identities, cultures, and understandings of relationality continue to persist through their presence and sharing of stories. To better understand Métis experiences, research must be co-designed or co-developed with Métis people as well as recognized Métis national political bodies, if research and policy to improve the health and wellbeing of Métis people is to be effective. This presentation focuses on the digital storytelling process developed with the Storycentre where COVID-19 measures limited face-to-face research with Métis youth, adults, and elders, whose familial connections are to the Métis homeland, that includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Within the research project ‘We know who we are: Intergenerational understandings of Métis identity and well-being using digital storytelling’ six digital storytelling workshops were held in the fall of 2021 to bring three generations of Métis people together to promote belonging, well-being, and cultural continuity. Through these workshops, participants fostered relationships through the development of their digital stories that helped to express their personal experiences of being Métis, while gaining new opportunities for continued learning which strengthened their connections to their Métis culture. Their reflections and experiences highlight how Métis identity is connected to a stronger sense of self, health and wellbeing.


Dr. Chelsea Gabel is Red River Métis from Rivers, Manitoba and a citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation. She is currently an Associate Professor at McMaster University in the Department of Health, Aging and Society with a cross appointment in the Indigenous Studies Department. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Well-Being, Community Engagement and Innovation. Dr. Gabel is a research affiliate with the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research and is committed to research that is community-based and participatory. She has a number of current projects that focus on Métis health and well-being and Métis women’s health. There is a severe underrepresentation of Métis in academic research and a lack of adequate, accurate and accessible data and information on Métis health and well-being. Dr. Gabel’s research begins to fill the knowledge gap and provide evidence of the effectiveness of current and emerging program, arts-based, technological and policy interventions promoting health and well-being for Métis communities.

Dr. Robert Henry

Canada Research Chair – Indigenous Justice and Wellbeing

Assistant Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of SaskatchewanExecutive

Director and Principal Investigator, nātawihowin and mamawiikikayaahk Research Networks (SK-NEIHR)

Dr, Henry’s research focuses on violence, trauma, identity, and how it is impacted by health and justice systems. Much of his research consists of using an Indigenous research framework focused on relational accountability through arts-based research methods. Working with Indigenous ex-gang members and collecting life narratives using visual research methods, he examines how their notions of identity are impacted with their involvement within multiple social systems and how it maintains colonial control over Indigenous bodies. Through this work he has published two manuscripts with Indigenous gang and ex-gang members – Brighter Days Ahead (2013) and Indigenous Women and Street Gangs: Survivance Narratives (2021).