The McMurray Métis have commissioned a report to examine the cultural history and significance of Moccasin Flats, a Métis settlement that was demolished by the Town of Fort McMurray between the late 1970s and the early 1980s.
The Moccasin Flats evictions are a traumatic and painful point of Métis history in the Wood Buffalo region that continue to have effects on the present-day community. The evictions have been identified by Elders and leadership of the McMurray Métis community as a research priority and a central issue for Truth and Reconciliation.
The project will use a wide range of methods including oral history interviews, land-based research, mapping, and archival research to produce a comprehensive history of the Moccasin Flats site and the eviction of Métis families. The project will document a timeline of events surrounding the evictions, the importance of the site, the impact of the evictions, and community members’ priorities for reconciliation.
If you, your family or friends lived at Moccasin Flats or have firsthand knowledge of the evictions at Moccasin Flats please contact the McMurray Métis 780-743-2659 or firstname.lastname@example.org or via Facebook.
Tara Joly, PhD and Hereward Longley, PhD candidate (See Backgrounder) will be conducting the research and a report will be completed by September 2018. The preliminary research questions for the project are:
• What was the history and significance of Moccasin Flats as a Métis space?
• Why did the Town of Fort McMurray and the Government of Alberta evict the Métis families living at Moccasin Flats?
• What were the social and economic impacts of the evictions on the McMurray Métis community?
• What are some possible avenues for reconciliation regarding the Moccasin Flats evictions?
“No comprehensive study of the evictions at Moccasin Flats or the impacts on the Métis families has been completed to date. If you or your family was affected, we want to hear from you. Our goal at the end of this 5-month fact finding mission is to help the local Métis communities heal from this horrible injustice.”
-Gail Gallupe, President, McMurray Métis.
“To build the Syncrude Towers, the Town of Fort McMurray and the Government of Alberta redefined the Métis space of Moccasin Flats as Crown Land and town property. Labelling the Métis families who lived there as ‘squatters’. The Moccasin Flats residents where moved to lower quality housing and separated from the Clearwater and Athabasca Rivers. The long term social, economic and cultural impacts haven’t been fully examined until now.”
-Bill Loutitt, Chief Executive Officer of McMurray Métis.
2018: Year of the McMurray Métis.
For Further information:
Backgrounder - Project Team
Hereward Longley and Tara Joly make a highly qualified and experienced interdisciplinary research team. Joly and Longley have a combined 10 years of experience working with the McMurray Métis. Their close relationship with the McMurray Métis community stems from conducting long-term ethnographic fieldwork, executing TLU studies with members, and participating in community activities such as the annual Mark of the Métis canoe trip. Joly’s expertise in long-term ethnographic research and community-based methodologies compliments Longley’s expertise historical research and land use mapping. They have collaborated on projects since 2013, including TLU study reports and a recently co-authored academic article on the consultation process. Taken together, their combined experience, expertise, and history of collaborative work make us uniquely well positioned to successfully complete this project.
Tara Joly is an anthropology researcher and instructor. Joly holds a PhD in Social Anthropology (University of Aberdeen) and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan. She has expertise in socio-environmental and ethnohistorical research, community-based methodologies, and Indigenous land use studies. Joly has over 5 years of experience working as a research consultant with Indigenous communities in northeastern Alberta. Joly’s research broadly analyzes multiple perspectives and experiences of muskeg, land use, and land reclamation, with a specific emphasis on Métis responses to Alberta oil sands development. Her work is largely based on a reciprocal research partnership with the McMurray Métis community.
Hereward Longley is a PhD candidate in Environmental History at the University of Alberta, and an Indigenous land use and historical research specialist. Since 2014 Longley worked as a researcher for McMurray Métis and other Métis Communities and First Nations in central and northern Alberta. Longley’s academic research assesses the dynamics that have shaped the environmental history of the Athabasca oil sands industry focusing on the impacts and benefits of development for ecosystems and Indigenous peoples in the Athabasca region, and how these impacts, conflicts, and the resilience of Indigenous communities have influenced subsequent development.