The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and the University of Ottawa recently established a formal working group to facilitate greater collaboration and encourage ongoing communication between the MNO and the Chair of Métis Research. Representatives from the MNO and University of Ottawa have now met twice to discuss existing and emerging Ontario Métis research, the renewal of a Memorandum of Understanding and to establish a work plan with jointly agreed upon priorities.
In 2007, Ontario, through the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities (now the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development) made a commitment to establish a Research Chair in Métis Studies. The MNO, having pressed for the position, was involved in all aspects of a recruitment of a host University and in the selection of a Chair.
Since arriving in January 2010 Brenda Macdougall has been in the position of Chair of Métis Studies, which was later retitled to Chair of Métis Research. Dr. Macdougall has worked on a number of projects and activities. Specifically through the research lab she has created at the University of Ottawa, she has trained a number of students in the methods and practices of genealogical based archival research and social networking analysis. As well she has consulted with Know History, the historical research firm contracted by the MNO to undertake additional research, regarding these methods. Students trained by Dr. Macdougall have gone on to work for Know History and contributed to building their capacity in the area of Ontario Métis history. Based on her quest for archival sources, she, along with other Métis scholars, have built a website of transcribed genealogical sources called the Digital Archive Database Project (dadp.ok.ubc.ca), which is available to the public. The DADproject contains over 100,000 transcribed archival records, including the sacramental records from Michilimackinac, the first Catholic mission in the Great Lakes and, by summer 2017, it will contain hundreds of genealogical records from various other regions in Ontario. She also worked with the Ontario College of Teachers by writing the Métis module for the additional qualification course, Framework for Teaching Teachers, which Ontario teachers can take as a part of their ongoing professional development.
For the coming year, the MNO and University of Ottawa will be working on a renewed partnership, collaborating on the development of community-based resources over the summer, planning a Métis speakers series for the coming school year and working toward holding a Métis Academic Conference in the Spring of 2018 with a focus on the history, way-of-life and contemporary experiences of Ontario Métis.