Métis have had a close cultural connection to the water systems across much of Canada, using lakes and river systems for such things as transportation routes for commerce, sustenance, and connecting with friends and relatives. Water was recognized as essential to survival and a powerful ally for Métis during the fur trade era. Over time, Métis often chose to live in a river lot system, represented by long narrow tracks of land perpendicular to waterways, to maximize and share waterfront access. It would have been unthinkable for someone to restrict access to waterways. Water was essential to life not only for travel or sustenance, but in all parts of life. In the same way, Métis often speak about land, but imply much more in the statement than a reference to dirt. For example, in interviews with Métis traditional land users “The concept of land was not necessarily restricted to land per se. When participants began talking about land they also included discussion about water, sun, moon, clouds, rain and fire.” (Michell, Vizina, Augustus, & Sawyer, 2008, p. 94) In the same regard, when one speaks about water, it is not only a reference to the oxygen and hydrogen molecules that make up water, but all the facets of water from a holistic Métis perspective.
Michell, D. H., Vizina, Y., Augustus, C., & Sawyer, J. (2008). Learning Indigenous Science from Place. First Nations University of Canada and the Aboriginal Education Research Centre, University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon: Aboriginal Education Research Centre, University of Saskatchewan.