Extrait d'une entrevue avec Lena Fleury (en anglais)

Extrait du livre : Zeilig, Ken and Zeilig, Victoria. Ste. Madeleine : Community without a town : Métis elders in interview Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican Publications inc., 1987.

Lena Fleury est une femme métisse qui est née à Sainte-Madeleine en 1915. L'école était en anglais, mais elle parlait le français à la maison. Elle a fui Sainte-Madeleine pour la Saskatchewan après la dissolution de la communauté.
Dans l'entrevue il y a aussi quelques commentaires de Joe Venne, un des autres Métis interviewé pour le livre de Ken et Victoria Zeilig.
Les entrevues dans le livre sont en anglais. Voici quelques extraits qui parlent des événements entourant le déplacement des Métis de Sainte-Madeleine.

Page 157

Did you get any kind of help to move to Saskatchewan?

L: No. We had a little car, so we moved with the car.


What kind of car did you have?

L: It was a Ford, a 1926 Ford.


Really. And your home you had there, what happened to it?

L: They burned it down.


Who were they?

L: People from St. Lazare. I don’t know. Fouillard, I think. Or else, Selby. I don’t know who exactly did it.*


Did you see it being burned?

L: No. They burned it after we left.


Did you want to leave Ste. Madeleine?

L: No. I didn’t like to leave but my husband had to go out to work. I had to stay home by myself. I didn’t like to stay there all by myself.


Page 163

Why do you think the Metis people were told to leave Ste. Madeleine?

L: I don’t know. Because they didn’t want those people there, I guess. Metis people were not allowed to stay anyplace. [Laughs]


So when you moved, what were your feelings?

L: Oh, I didn’t like to leave that place, you know. We were born there, so we didn’t like to leave the church and everything there. Didn’t like that, but we had to.


How did you behave? Did you cry? Did you get upset?

L: I never cried. But I didn’t like it.


Did you say anything to anybody? Did you tell anyone that you didn’t like it?

L: Oh yes, lots of them.


Who? Who did you talk to?

L: I talked to some of them…


From the community?

L: Yes.


Did anyone from the government, or from the municipality come to you and tell you why you had to go?

L: No, they never said anything. They just told us, the people in that place, we’re supposed to leave. It was going to become a pasture. They were going to put cattle in there.


And did you get money to move out?

L: No, we never got anything.


Did you know some people got money? Did you know that?

L: After that, yes. Not right away. I heard that later.


Before I started these interviews, I did a bit of reading. And I found out a bit about what was happening.

L: Yes?


From what I read, the federal government passed the PFRA [Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration], which meant that they would make pasturelands, on the prairies. So that it wasn’t only Metis in Ste. Madeleine who lost their land, but it was people in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It was done because the land wasn’t good for agriculture.

L: Oh, I see.


But what I also found out was that the government had to give an equivalent amount of land. So if you lived on 80 acres of land, they had to give you 80 acres of land somewhere else. But only if you paid your taxes. Did you pay taxes on the land you were on?

L: No, no, no, no.


So is it true to say you were squatting on the land?

L: Yes.


And nobody ever told this to you or your father or your husband?

L: No, no, no. We never talked about it.


What do you think about it now, 48 years later?

L: Well, I don’t know. I think they should give something to the Metis people.



L: A place. I don’t know. They should give a place for us to stay, at least now. After we moved all over the place. It’s trouble to move all over. Rent a house…


A community?

L: Yes. They should.


Should they give the Metis people Ste. Madeleine back again?

L: I hope… I wouldn’t mind it, would you?


If they do, would you go back?

L: Sure. If… if everyone else went. [Laughs]


Page 172

And Beliveau School, I walked over the foundations of it yesterday. But there was nothing there. What happened to it?

L: People from St. Lazare, I guess, they came and hauled it away huh?

Joe Venne: Well, Leclerc bought it. One of the Leclercs bought it.

L: From Lazare.

Joe Venne: No, not from Lazare. Down near the corner there.

L: Oh yeah. It was a shame what they were doing. They burned all the houses; shot all the doggies, see.


Did you see them shoot the dogs?

L: Yes. Yes, at my place.


Who actually did the shooting? Do you remember the man?

L: I don’t know. A Frenchman from St. Lazare, anyway.


And he took his gun and he shot your dog?

L: Not my dog. My neighbour’s dog.


And were the neighbours around?

L: Yes, but they didn’t know what they were doing, eh.


Why did they shoot the dogs?

L: I don’t know why. Just to make the people mad, I suppose.


Did any of the people fight back? Did any of the people do anything?

L: No. No, they never did anything. Except my dad. He had his gun. He went out and said, “Don’t ever touch my dog. If you touch it, you’ll be sorry. I’ll shoot you.” So they never shot our dog. He went away. He went and shot another dog.


This was in 1939?

L: Yes. The people from St. Lazare were mean to those people. They burned everything. Shot their dogs.

Joe Venne: They were paid so much a dog, see.

L: Oh, I never heard anything like that.

Joe Venne: Oh, I heard that.



* En 1937, John Selby et Ben Fouillard, deux représentants de la Municipalité de Saint-Lazare se sont rendus a Sainte-Madeleine pour dire aux personnes qu'elles devraient toutes partir (Heriot, 68).

Herriot, Trevor. Towards a Prairie Atonement. Regina, MB: University of Regina Press, 2016.
Zeilig, Ken and Zeilig, Victoria. Ste. Madeleine : Community without a town : Métis elders in interview. Winnipeg, MB: Pemmican Publications inc., 1987.


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