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Halfbreed Maria Campbell Essay Examples

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FREE Essay on Maria Campbell and the Metis People

DirectEssays.com Maria Campbell and the Metis People

Maria Campbell is a Metis woman whose heart-rending autobiography demonstrates the "joys and sorrows, the oppressing poverty, the frustrations and the dreams" (Campbell, 2) that she experienced in her life. Maria and her family were poverty stricken and considered "half-breeds". Being poor and a minority led to having problems with health, housing, and low income issues. On Maria's side, native people were also living in poor conditions. This connection between the half breeds and the natives was a result of long standing problems over land titles with the Canadian Government.

In the 19th century, the Canadian government prohibited legal Metis land ownership, leaving them to become squatters. This is where the term Road Allowance People originates. The fight over land was the starting point for many of the hardships the Metis people would endure, and this evolved into not only the physical displacement of Maria, but also in socio-cultural and socio-economic areas of life. Gender relations top the list of challenges Maria faced as a woman, and especially as a Metis woman in the 1970's and 1980's. In this essay, I will focus on how the struggles she faced in the society she lived in were a result of the class, race, and gender roles and relationships between Metis and Native people, as well as between Metis and white people. These experiences will have impinge on Maria's development from a little innocent girl to a wise and strong woman.

In the nineteenth century, there were significant struggles between Metis people and white people. Metis culture was not recognized or respected by the Canadian Government. Metis and Natives were expected to integrate into white society if they wanted a chance to belong. The Metis were not permitted to own any land legally. They were considered squatters on the land. For Maria, it hurt to see her people suffering this way. They were called "Road Allowance People". The Canadian Government.

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Direct Essays. "Maria Campbell and the Metis People." DirectEssays.com. DirectEssays.com, (June 18, 2013). Web. 05 Aug. 2016.

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maria c bell halfbreed essay

Halfbreed by Maria Campbell


First, I'll say that my students love reading this book in class. As Aboriginal students, this book reminds them of their history and the acculturation that their people experienced. They find Campbell'w writing to be human, engaging, and triumphant.

Second, I also enjoy this book. Perhaps not as much as my students do, but I still like it. I think Campbell's memoir is moving, and is a perfect way to introduce someone to Aboriginal and Metis rights. It is also a perfect way to have Canadians learn a little bit more of their country's history that is rarely talked about. ( )

A deeply harrowing book. Campbell's direct, simple style conveys the intensity of her experiences without self-pity or drama.

I found this terribly difficult to read. I suspect it has permanently changed my understanding of native and Métis issues. I wouldn't say I was surprised by the life she relates, though I did learn many new things about our government's treatment of the first nations community, but everything was brought home to me viscerally, with a new intensity.

A revolting métis autobiographic story told with nerve, graciousness, patience, dignity and commitment. ( )

▾ Book descriptions

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0887801161. Paperback)

Maria Cambpell's biography is a classic, vital account of a young Métis woman's struggle to come to terms with the joys, sorrows, loves and tragedies of her northern Saskatchewan childhood.

Maria was a strong and sensitive child who lived in a community robbed of its pride and dignity by the dominant culture. At 15 she tried in vain to escape by marrying a white man, only to find herself trapped in the slums of Vancouver--addicted to drugs, tempted by suicide, close to death. But the inspiration of her Cree great-grandmother, Cheechum, gives her confidence in herself and in her people, confidence she needs to survive and to thrive.

Half-Breed offers an unparalleled understanding of the Métis people and of the racism and hatred they face. Maria Campbell's story cannot be denied and it cannot be forgotten: it stands as a challenge to all Canadians who believe in human rights and human dignity

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:19 -0400)

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Half-Breed by Maria Campbell


Maria Campbell's biography is a classic, vital account of a young Métis woman's struggle to come to terms with the joys, sorrows, loves and tragedies of her northern Saskatchewan childhood.
Maria was a strong and sensitive child who lived in aMore Maria Campbell's biography is a classic, vital account of a young Métis woman's struggle to come to terms with the joys, sorrows, loves and tragedies of her northern Saskatchewan childhood.
Maria was a strong and sensitive child who lived in a community robbed of its pride and dignity by the dominant culture. At 15 she tried in vain to escape by marrying a white man, only to find herself trapped in the slums of Vancouver -- addicted to drugs, tempted by suicide, close to death. But the inspiration of her Cree great-grandmother, Cheechum, gives her confidence in herself and in her people, confidence she needs to survive and to thrive.
"Half-Breed" offers an unparalleled understanding of the Métis people and of the racism and hatred they face. Maria Campbell's story cannot be denied and it cannot be forgotten: it stands as a challenge to all Canadians who believe in human rights and human dignity. Less

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Community Reviews

Brian rated it really liked it

Just when you think things can't get any worse for a mixed race Native/Caucasian woman, they do. Campbell's memoir is simply brutal - a series of cascading heartbreaks one after another. Growing up in a world where neither the whites nor the Indians want you around, the h. Read full review

Lucinda rated it it was amazing

over 1 year ago

This is an unflinching look at the injustices faced by the Mètis people of Western Canada, and one woman's struggle to escape the traps of poverty within that context. It can be hard to read because Maria Campbell really faced one difficulty after another after another. Read full review

Lester rated it really liked it

about 3 years ago

This book does the 'speaks volumes'. A book to be read in school as 'The Outsiders' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird' are. This book is non fiction though..no mistaking that!
Written in (rather, published in..) 1973..the world has changed greatly..yet..not at all. Living in the. Read full review

Deodand rated it it was amazing

almost 8 years ago

Recommends it for: canadians

This book was taught in every high school in Western Canada when I was a kid, and I have a dim memory of Campbell herself coming to give readings at my school. Somehow I missed reading it, in spite of my own parents having a copy. I think part of it was that my parents fe. Read full review

Kat rated it liked it

I loved the descriptions of her childhood. She was a very resourceful girl. I would have loved to learn some of the skills she had as a young girl. I feel bad for her in a way. Not so much for her life but for her feelings about it. There is a lot of anger and most of it. Read full review

Sydney rated it really liked it

over 1 year ago

"Halfbreed" is brief in its pages, but heavy in its heart. It's an autobiography I can and will champion for its revelation of Canada's systemic racism against Indigenous peoples, both in the past and in the present.

Maria Campbell was born to a Métis family on the Canadi. Read full review

Christy rated it liked it

over 8 years ago

Wow. Anyone who can read this book and not feel incredibly lucky themselves is either heartless and soulless or living a truly terrible life. In Half-Breed Maria Campbell, a Halfbreed who grew up in Saskatchewan, describes her childhood and early adulthood, living in pove. Read full review

McKenzie rated it liked it

almost 2 years ago

Half Breed is an unaffected memoir of a young female Metis, her childhood and coming of age in Canada, and encountering incredible hardships and seemingly impenetrable barriers. It briefly outlines Metis history and explains how and where they lived as “Road Allowance,” P. Read full review

mica-micare rated it it was amazing

about 1 month ago

This is a short but powerful autobiography by a Metis woman who grew up in rural Saskatchewan. I don't really have much to say about it, beyond the fact that while it isn't the most recent book, I think that what she has to say is still relevant to Canadian politics today. Read full review

Linnea rated it it was amazing

almost 7 years ago

A really incredible story of strength, and an inclusive and welcoming look at Metis and Road Allowance histories. I appreciate that Campbell steers clear of sentimentality, and that she is honest about the terseness she was forced to take up as a survival tactic. I feel s. Read full review

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Book Details

Paperback. 184 pages

Published January 1st 1983 by Goodread Biographies (first published January 28th 1973

ISBN 0887801161 (ISBN13: 9780887801167 ) Edition Language English Original Title Half-Breed

About this Author

Maria Campbell (born 6 of 26 Apr 1940 near Athlone, Edmonton) is a Métis author, playwright, broadcaster, filmmaker, and Elder. Campbell is a fluent speaker of four languages: Cree, Michif, Saulteaux, and English. Park Valley is located 80 miles northwest of Prince Albert.

Her first book was the memoir Halfbreed (1973), which continues to be taught in schools across Canada, and which continues.


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Chasing freedom, in the novels, Halfbreed, and Wild Geese - University Social studies - Marked by

Chasing freedom, in the novels, Halfbreed, and Wild Geese

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CHASING FREEDOM It has been said that whatever does not kill a person makes one stronger. This old clich� rings with new truth when read as the central theme in the autobiographical Halfbreed by Saskatchewan Metis writer Maria Campbell. This is her own story, and illustrates a life lived by the author in circumstances that demand a conscious choice between survival and defeat. Likewise, the novel Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso features a central character beset with extreme hardship and faced with the death of her dreams - as real a loss for any heart as the passing of a loved one. Prairie women have exhibited great personal strength throughout the development of our province; many of us need only look as far as our own family trees for examples of this. The key female characters in Maria Campbell's Halfbreed and Martha Ostenso's Wild Geese managed to maintain a sense of dignity, pride and self-worth despite the unrelenting efforts of either their families or their community to undermine these characteristics. Campbell's story is autobiographical and while Ostenso's book is classified as fiction, the character of Judith exemplifies a personal arc that many women can relate to. Both books were written during times of great turmoil. In Campbell's book the struggle of the Metis people to maintain a sense of culture while undergoing assimilation sets the tone for Maria's own battle. . read more.

A war was taking place not only between the Metis and the white's but also within the Metis culture. Maria and many other young Metis women were torn between loyalty to their community and a strong desire to be more than the new stereotype of a Metis woman allowed. This new stereotype taught that Metis women had little to no worth or value to a primarily white community. They certainly could and would not be acknowledged as peers nor would they be given opportunity for improvement. Maria had to run the gambit of emotion before she could come to terms with the ignorance of society. She first fought then conformed to, then completely disregarded this stereotype and in finally doing so, found freedom and purpose. Campbell explains that her book Halfbreed accomplished what it needed to for the time. She wanted to write Halfbreed to communicate a message to herself and document a reality that she had lived. In Halfbreed, Campbell states, "I am not bitter. I have passed that stage. I only want to say: this is what it was like; this is what it is still like" ( 9). She was speaking out to herself and at the same time to the happiness of others. The character of Judith in Wild Geese is similar to Maria in that both women demanded more from themselves and their lives than society would have otherwise allowed them. . read more.

The women chased after their own definition of freedom and had to work hard to create it for themselves. Halfbreed and Wild Geese, though written decades apart, show the reader the vein of strength running through these prairie women and how they learned to honor it within themselves. Both Judith and Maria had to face the possibility of sacrificing not only their freedom but their sanity to their community or family. One major difference in their journey is that happiness for Maria meant embracing her heritage and its culture and working to eliminate its downfalls, while happiness for Judith meant rejecting her family's definition of heritage and duty. With its wide-open spaces and endless sky, the concept of the prairies brings the word freedom to mind readily. Unfortunately, this is not always the consensus among prairie people. Many feel bound to their lifestyle, whether it be agriculture based as in Judith's case, or bound to the community, as in Maria's case. Appreciation does not come easily under such circumstances and neither does value. Judith and Maria finally found appreciation for life after allowing themselves the freedom to choose how to live this life. Freedom of mind, body and soul is often taken for granted but for many people it is a hard earned reward at the end of a challenging journey. Many have done with out this fundamental right for far too long. The battle continues to wage both within the community and the individual to create assurance that one day everyone will be able to take freedom for granted. . read more.

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