INGIIWE – I RETURN HOME
Descendants of the 'Drummond Island Voyageurs' are one of a small number of Métis communities in the Great Lakes. With roots and histories that challenge the settler-colonial border, this Métis community is intimately linked to both the Anishinaabeg communities of the Great Lakes, as well as to our Western Métis cousins from Red River.
Following the War of 1812, these Wiisaakodewininiwag – Anishinaabemowin for Métis – were forced to leave the Drummond Island, which was now in the United States, and migrate in jiimaanan (canoes) across Lake Huron. These Métis maintained their kinships and established a community in Penetanguishene and spread throughout the Georgian Bay. In 1840, 22 'halfbreeds' petitioned the Governor General for annuities, like their Métis relatives in Baawating (Sault Ste Marie).
As a way to honor our Indigenous ancestors, as well as in preparation of the two-hundredth anniversary of the 1828 forced relocation, Métis artist and professor Dr. Dylan AT Miner – himself a descendant of the L'Hirondelle, Brissette, and Miner families – has initiated what he is calling the Bootaagani-minis ∞ Drummond Island Land Reclamation Project (commonly called either Bootaagani-minis or DILRP). This project is a way to re-establish a Métis landbase on Bootaagani-minis and continue to assert Métis sovereignty on the southern side of the US-Canada border.
During summer 2017, Miner will commence a grassroots and crowd-funding campaign to acquire monetary support to reclaim land on Drummond Island that will be used for harvesting, gathering, and other traditional Métis activities. Eventually, he hope to create a center where Métis can learn on and with the land.