Norman Fleury: Part 1 Video Transcript
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Ok my name is Norman Fleury, and I’m here talking to Ryan Bresser, about me Norman Fleury as a Metis, or as I call myself, a Michif person and what that means.
We all have history, we all have a background, we all have ancestry, and for myself, I didn’t overly dwell on who I was because I knew for a fact that I was always a Metis, I was born and raised a Metis and we never said ‘a metis’ when I was a kid, we said, uh, we used the term, Michif, and I still use that term Michif because when I meet Michif people, I always say, Michif niya, and my grandparents always told us we were lis Michif.
I was born and raised in a small community called St. Lazare Manitoba and it’s about approximately not quite an hours drive from here at Woodnorth to St. Lazare which is northwest from here, and everything that’s about me is in St. Lazare. My roots are there, my family was there, and now we’re scattered all over the place.
But that was my beginning in St. Lazare Manitoba and it was predominantly a French Metis community and there were other people that came in from Holland and Italy, and Germany, and they basically were the minority in the community but they survived because the community of St. Lazare was always a community who accepted people that came into the community, that was part of culture and those people stayed there.
But as far as the Metis go, it’s sad in a lot of ways that we never really took it for granted really that we had a rich culture, that we had a rich history and that we were the makeup of this country of Canada that we live in.
And I think it has a lot to do with the curriculum in the schools because we never really looked at the importance of education and the history of the people that were in the community and where they came from because we all have, like I say, a background, and I was always a person, as a young child, to be very curious about who I was and I always asked my grandparents, when I say my grandparents it’s my mother, Flora Fleury, whose maiden name was Leclaire and her parents were Jean Baptiste Leclair and Flora Lepine, but my grandma always said Le Pin Eh, she never said Lepine, it was too francophone if you said Lepine, she always said Le Pin Eh, that was more a Michif…
So my grandmother always said be proud of who you are, si taimouck, be proud. Kai hon ee keck, don’t forget who you are. She always reminded us that we were Michif people, so she was really the backbone of my siblings and kin, like my Mom and my brothers and sisters. Most of them think that they are proud Metis people.
We were also raised to be very proud and independent people. We were raised to work, like that was instilled in us, that you must work to survive, so I was always happy to be around my grandfather because my father wasn’t around home. My father left home when I was about 7 years old so my grandfather was my mentor, my mom’s father. He was who I used as a model and he was a very very proud person and he always told us positive stories, we were never told negative stories. It was always positive things that gave you that, the incentive to want to do things.