Returning to Ceremony
Spirituality in Manitoba Métis Communities
Returning to Ceremony is the follow-up to Chantal Fiola’s award-winning Rekindling the Sacred Fire and continues her ground-breaking examination of Métis spirituality, debunking stereotypes such as “all Métis people are Catholic,” and “Métis people do not go to ceremonies.” Fiola finds that, among the Métis, spirituality exists on a continuum of Indigenous and Christian traditions, and that Métis spirituality includes ceremonies. For some Métis, it is a historical continuation of the relationships their ancestral communities have had with ceremonies since time immemorial, and for others, it is a homecoming—a return to ceremony after some time away.
Fiola employs a Métis-specific and community-centred methodology to gather evidence from archives, priests’ correspondence, oral history, storytelling, and literature. With assistance from six Métis community researchers, Fiola listened to stories and experiences shared by thirty-two Métis from six Manitoba Métis communities that are at the heart of this book. They offer insight into their families’ relationships with land, community, culture, and religion, including factors that inhibit or nurture connection to ceremonies such as sweat lodge, Sundance, and the Midewiwin. Valuable profiles emerge for six historic Red River Métis communities (Duck Bay, Camperville, St Laurent, St François-Xavier, Ste Anne, and Lorette), providing a clearer understanding of identity, culture, and spirituality that uphold Métis Nation sovereignty.
“Grounded in the communities of her home territory, Chantal Fiola brings critical insider knowledge, insight and analysis to the topic of Metis spirituality. The combination of historical background with contemporary voice offers an understanding of the Metis spirit that will nurture the nation and enlighten the broader public.”
– Kim Anderson, author of Life Stages and Native Women: Memory, Teachings and Story Medicine
“Returning to Ceremony is a courageous book given the tensions surrounding religious affiliation in the Metis community. It is a challenging topic that has been dealt with sensitively, with balance and candour.”
– Blair Stonechild, author of The New Buffalo
About the Author
Chantal Fiola is Michif (Red River Métis) with family from St. Laurent and Ste. Geneviève, Manitoba. She is the author of Rekindling the Sacred Fire: Métis Ancestry and Anishinaabe Spirituality and Returning to Ceremony: Spirituality in Manitoba Métis Communities . Dr. Fiola is an Associate Professor in the Urban and Inner-City Studies Department at the University of Winnipeg, where she was named Distinguished Indigenous Scholars Chair (2021-2024) Chantal is Two-Spirit, Midewiwin, a Sundancer, and lives with her wife and daughter in Winnipeg.