(sweetheart in Cree-Michif)
This digital story represents an intergenerational exchange between a long-time settlement resident, (deceased) Irene Calliou, and her grand-daughter Destiny Chalifoux who was 12 years old at the time of the story’s creation. The video begins with Destiny asking her grandmother how she met Grandpa, and in Irene’s recounting we see how closely aligned the Métis community is to that of nearby Frog Lake First Nations. This life story revolves around the importance of loving connections within a family, and how Métis identity can be viewed as kinship as well as chosen connections, including adoption.
Just as importantly, Irene as the family matriarch sends out a powerful message of what a healthy relationship looks like to her grand-daughter: “He treated me good.” As Irene recalls some of her husband’s many attributes, the viewer is witness to the independent ways of the Métis by way of Allen’s cattle-herding abilities with only his trusty horse and dog at his side. At the same time, the involvement of the community during times of need, such as branding, and that of celebrating, in this case his marriage to Irene, are also apparent. The passing reference to “Chilly Moss” spending the night in jail is a reflection of how community members take such events in stride as a normal part of life. Above all, in sharing those things most cherished and valued with her grand-daughter including the couple’s favourite song, Irene has passed on a strong set of values and knowledge traditions to the next generation of strong Métis women.