Hi Suzanne and other family,
The discernment and acceptance of which families are or are not Metis has plagued the ease of research for decades. Adding in financial benefits through the government offerings confuses people even more. The fundamental question of who is or who is not a Metis is really only a question of who wants to belong to which families. We do, and have always, exist outside of the government parameters of who is family. Our tradition of who got to join in the mix was one of who they were descended from and who they were married to and from their desire to be with our collective families.
With the gap in the records due to the specific exclusion of recording the mixing of the European and indigenous races by the priests until after the 1600's has left the original mixing of many Metis lineages off the charts of recorded history. We can only assume, based on our own families stories, or through the use of DNA or other tools to bridge this gap, that the person wanted to self identify as Metis has some merit to their desire. If someone believes they are Metis and wants to join in the family our tradition was to give them space until they showed otherwise. The massive amount of research that has gone into attempting to fill some of these holes has helped tremendously, yet has still left many families with unproven connections.
If we take all of the families of known Bois Brule descent at around 1800 and include their familial trade alliances our connected families number in the thousands. If we take the government and papal records of who gets to claim status we end up with a lot smaller number. Combining DNA, research and willingness to be part of the family is really the only way to go. What began as a peaceful merger of our families desiring to be together can continue without the confusion of government meddling in our self identification. Establishing a massive, stand alone, database and registry is an idea put forward by many of our families over the years and is really the only option for the future.
Following from the scrip records of the 1800's has in itself a confusing element in that the genealogies were specified to go back to the first European settler - not the first indigenous settler. In this way these land grants were European grants that did not have anything to do with indigenous title. Expanding the genealogies of these families back to the indigenous families of origin has led many to unproven records and unanswerable questions. The laissez faire method of French adoption practices is where many of the known indigenous connections for families exist yet remain off the records until lucky records are located or obvious mistakes found and corrected. One link I managed to find was for Joseph and Jean Baptiste Sagourou who were adopted as Gauthiers (La Verendrye's great uncles) when their Algonquin parents Joseph Saguirou and Agnes Maxoumitimousens were killed by the Iroquois. These links were verified by DNA testing. What I really mean to say is that whether we find the records or not we must still follow our heart and embrace each other as family, otherwise our own traditions get lost in the fight for government money and conscripted identity.
Hope this helps with the general concept. If you feel a need to contact me further on this please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,