Joseph the son,
had craved the life of a Frontiersman and had followed in his fathers footsteps, in pursuit of his dream of
the adventurous fur trade. And during his adolescences he had been influenced by the stories that his father Joseph
had told during family get togethers. And he too had dreamed of wearing the buckskins with the long knife
tucked into his belt, and the flintlock hung off his shoulder. He too had dreamt of being at the paddles of the
huge York boats, those huge cargo canoes that had been used to carry the fur back East.
He had moved into the Red River Valley, and there he had met and fell in love
with a lady of First Nations, in the missionary village of St.Paul-des-Saulteaux.
Joseph, born in 1754 in Contrecoeur
Quebec married in 1785 in St. Paul des Saulteaux, to a native lady named OKEMAKWE. Joseph had died in 1833 at Riviere-des-Cygne.
Following that marriage Joseph had becomea a real outdoorsman. No longer are the Desjarlais'
the fastidious hard working Sieurs that had worked the land, we are gone native and have adopted a much less ambitious, but
more adventurous lifestyle. We are not
Indian, yet we are not white, we are proud Métis. That is not a bad thing but we have to realise the racial significance,
not so much today, but back then. The Métis have never been truly accepted by the Treaty Indian or if you prefer First Nations.
And from my experience from living in Winnipeg during the sixties, the whites had not accepted the breeds, and that is what
a Métis is.
From Joseph Desjarlais' union
with OKEMAKWE are born four beautiful children, they are listed below.
B 1782, M Josephte Cardinal
2. *Jean Baptiste
B 1790, M Lizette-Charlotte Cardinal
B 1794, M Catherine Allary
B 1803 'Gwi-Wis-Ens' M ?
Joseph had ventured out west into what had been the NWT in 1803.
He returned later to The Red River Valley with his sons, with the exception
of his eldest son Joseph who had remained in Lac la Biche.
Our lineage continues with the son named Jean Baptiste.
And from within those humble trappings, the Metis population would grow
strong, strengthened by their blood ties within the First Nations. At their apogee the Metis had only one rival, the dreaded
Sioux Indian. And later, when the Metis had finally organised, they had flown their colours, a flag of blue with a white
figure eight laying on its side. When I first saw that artistic representation I had been struck by the poetic nature
of that symbol. I saw it as the symbol that depicts 'Eternity'.