Monday, 22 December 2014

Not So Silent Night: The History of Christmas Carols

Carol book from 1950s, Snow Golem eats kids later.

Christmas carols can mean the tender tones of choirs of angels singing, or the local punk band screaming Rudolph the Red Nose Cowboy. It's really your choice. I prefer the more traditional ones, despite my lack of personal interest in a supreme being. But I am interested in all things historical, including why we warble carols at this time of year.

I love etymology as much as I love history. The Oxford Dictionary states that carol or carole is a medieval word of French and Anglo-Norman origin. It was believed to mean a dance song or a circle dance accompanied by singing. They were first just hymns sung in a christian church. When the Catholic church first started using hymns in the 300s, the songs were pretty boring. The introduction of rhyme, along with the cultivation of pagan lore created the first carol sometime in the 1100s: “Veni, redemptor gentium," or “Savior of the Nations, Come,” attributed to Milanese Bishop St. Ambrose. But they were sung in Latin, and not the local languages, which was about as exciting as drinking fat free eggnog.

The awesome patron saint of Animals and decent music, St. Francis of Assisi, recognized the unpopularity of Christmas hymns, and set out to change it by transforming the holiday through theatrics, music, and for the first time, carols sung in audiences’ native languages. The abandonment of Latin in the thirteenth century was popularized in nativity scenes and productions across Europe. And there was much rejoicing.

Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 book by a chaplain named John Awdlay, who lists twenty five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of wassailers. Wassailing comes from the Old English term "waes hale, meaning "be well". It was a Saxon custom that, at the start of each year, the lord of the manor would shout 'waes hael'. The assembled crowd would reply 'drink and be healthy'.

Carol singers in the mid 1800s still looking for some Christmas beer, I mean cheer.
The tradition was carried on by people going from door to door, bearing good wishes and a wassail bowl of hot, spiced ale. In return people in the houses gave them drink, money and Christmas special foods like mince pies, and they believed they would receive good luck for the year to come. Carols then are really booze songs.
When Oliver Cromwell and the Puritans came to power in England in 1647, the celebration of Christmas and singing carols was stopped. However, the carols survived as people still sang them in secret. Carols remained mainly unsung until Victorian times, when two men called William Sandys and Davis Gilbert collected lots of old Christmas music from villages in England. People revitalized the practice so much that popular books like Dickens' A Christmas Carol with the carolers being scared off by old Scrooge.

Bring on the tunes, the cheer, and the malnourishment of 1860s Christmas. At least they had a tree.
How about the origins of my favorite carols sung today, Silent Night? In 1818 the carol "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht" was performed in the village church in Oberndorf, Austria at Midnight Mass. It was written by the assistant pastor, Father Joseph Mohr, and the choir director, Franz Xaver Gruber, to be accompanied on the guitar, an usual decision. On each of the six verses, the choir repeated the last two lines in four-part harmony. It was meant to be a nice song for the local folks to sing, but it's popularity grew as folk singers started performing it elsewhere. Too bad no one believed them that they wrote it until proof int eh form of an original surfaced in 1994. Good thing they had day jobs.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Oh Christmas Bush, Oh Christmas Bush: The History of Christmas Trees

Way back when I was small, my father brought home a fresh pine Christmas tree. However, it was small and sort of bushy. My brother Dave decided it needed its own song, so taking a nod from Oh Christmas Tree, it became Christmas Bush. And it was, despite the decorating and the old 50s angel on top.

Similar to the one we had - that dead look was popular.

That began to make me think: Why? When did humans start cutting down trees and putting them up to shed all over in their house? 

Since we figured out how nice they were to have around! Evergreen trees have been associated with seasonal celebrations since ancient times, especially during the winter solstice. People would put boughs, trees and rings of plants that remained green in the winter remind people that spring will return and that once again the land would be lush and abundant. Where our Western traditions originate, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient peoples believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Egyptians, Romans, Druids, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Spaniards and Slovaks are some of the people that used evergreen trees to decorate their homes.

The Christians took over the trees!

In the 7th century a monk named Boniface from Devonshire, went to Germany to convert them to Christianity. Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the pagans. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God's Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity. The first documented decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

Modern Trees: thank Royalty! 

In 1846, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, put up a Christmas tree as he did when he lived at home. They were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Her British subjects - who actually liked her- thought that this was very cool and fashionable and started to do the same.

Fashionable but seriously somber here.

By the 1890s Christmas ornaments were arriving from Germany and Christmas tree popularity was on the rise around the Western world. It was noted that Europeans used small trees about four feet in height, while Americans liked their Christmas trees to reach from floor to ceiling. Canadians don't really care as long as there is nothing living in it. People mostly made their own ornaments, while the German and their descendants use apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. Popcorn joined in after being dyed bright colours and interlaced with berries and nuts. Electricity brought about Christmas lights, making it possible for Christmas trees to glow for days on end. With this, Christmas trees began to appear in town squares across the country and having a Christmas tree everywhere took hold.

One of the largest public Christmas trees ever was put up last year in Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho. It is 162 feet (49.5 m), with the star on top adding another 10 feet (3 m) high. These people are serious about Christmas in Idaho.

Biggest Christmas Tree
But not the fullest.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Yule VS Christmas: Origins

Tis' the season for stuffing your body into your special suit and fancy dress, eating way too much, and howling Silent Night over the church choir. Or at least that's what I recall as a child. The festival of Christmas has changed over the years for me. Now it means family and friends, good food, and making crochet gifts for nieces and nephews. (Watch out guys for that tea cozy you always wanted)

Historyminion wise, I'm going to celebrate by posting a lot on the history of Christmas, traditions, and terrors.

Let's start with Yule versus Christmas. Is it really the same thing?

The Scandinavians in the 1500s getting ready to burn the Yule log and get wasted! Imp included.

Yule goes back, way back, to the 700s. The word is from the Old English geol, geola "Christmas Day, Christmastide," from Old Norse jol (plural), a heathen feast, later taken over by Christianity, as a lot of things were. The priests wanted to con everyone into falling for their new fangled religion by adopting already know traditions. They were assholes like that.

The Old English giuli was the Anglo-Saxons' name for a two-month midwinter season corresponding to Roman December and January, a time of important feasts but not itself a festival. After conversion to Christianity it narrowed to mean "the 12-day feast of the Nativity" (which began Dec. 25), but was replaced by Christmas by the11th century. However, the northern areas of Danish settlement it remained the usual word and festival. Across Scandinavia, great yule logs were burned, and people drank mead around the bonfires listening to minstrel-poets singing ancient legends. It was believed that the yule log had the magical effect of helping the sun to shine more brightly.
Yule was revived in the 19th century by bored writers to mean "the Christmas of Merrie England." probably because it sounds sort of old and cool. Now neo-pagans like followers of Wicca, who I think like to pretend to be spell casters and like to run nude in the woods, celebrate Yule. For them, it's part of the Winter Solstice. 

Very few people today would shout out "Happy Yule Tidings" or "Merry Yule" though.

Christmas, on the other hand, is not as old as Yule, but is up there. It's Middle English for Christemasse, which is from Old English Cristes mæsse, literally, Christ's mass. It was used before 12th century.

Early Roman texts and calenders (about 360 CE) mentions the celebration on December 25 of a Christian liturgical feast of the birth of Jesus. In Eastern Christianity, the birth of Jesus was celebrated, and still is on January 6th at the Epiphany. (When they figured out Jesus was god born as man). The Donatists of North Africa celebrated Christmas may indicate that the feast was established by the time that church was created in 311.

Roman carving of celebrating the God of Light, which the Christian god stole a lot of ideas from. Check out the halo.
And was Jesus actually born in the winter? Most scholars agree that the presence of shepherds and their sheep suggest a spring birth. When church officials settled on December 25 at the end of the third century, they likely wanted the date to coincide with existing pagan festivals honoring Saturn (the Roman god of agriculture) and Mithra (the Persian god of light). Again, the Christians knew how to piggy back on someone elses good time. And because of that religion's ability to change and adapt everything around it like the borg, (geek reference), it beats out Yule. How do we know? I don't hear Have Yourself a Merry Little Yule, do you?

Next Time: How did they celebrate Christmas in Medieval Times? If you're expecting any gifts, you're going to be disappointed.

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Imperialist: Grey and the Canadian Football League

This weekend my home town team won a spot in the Grey Cup - Go Stamps!
The Stampeders originally were the Bronks, glad they changed the name. Sounds like a horse snorting.

I type this as a sad and dejected Eskimo fan with a toque on sits down across from me in the coffee shop. Next time guys!

It will be the 102st Grey Cup, the Canadian Football League's Superbowl, filled with history and pageantry in Vancouver. I really didn't pay much attention to the history of the game in Canada until the game's centennial in 2010. And while I learned a lot, I noticed the media had only a few words on the imperialist father of the Grey Cup, Albert Grey.

Whose this Grey guy anyways?
Lord Albert Grey, wearing fur because he is in Canada. Picture:LAC

Lord Albert Grey was your quintessential Victorian imperialist elite gentleman. Like most of the elite class in Canada. he was born in England in 1851 to rich parents and had a career in politics. His tireless promotion of the Crown and the supremacy of imperialism underlined every action he ever took. He remained in England until the call of money and power came from Africa, where he became an administrator in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). Rhodesia was controlled by the British South African Company, and therefore controlled the people and the land. However, the government called Grey back to serve as Governor General (the King's representative) to Canada in 1904. He also needed a job as his investments in the region failed.

At this time, Canada was trying to forge itself as an independent nation, but also keep their British overloads happy. Canada was a dominion, meaning we still had to look to mother Britain for the okay to all our laws. This was alright to Grey, who liked to impose his ideas on others, be it in South Africa or in Canada. Funny enough his hard core temperance ideas and pro church stance did not go down well in Canada. He had to be reigned in a lot by Prime Minster Laurier, because even back then Canadians really just liked life without too much interruption. His idea that Canada should be the crowning jewel in British imperialism meant he pushed hard for a navy and a larger military as a tool for expansionism.

Grey's ability to cock up diplomatically was of epic legend. One failure was trying to get Newfoundland into confederation with Canada in 1905: he acted more like a bully than a appeaser and so the newfies told him to bugger off. The biggest failure was the Plains of Abraham in 1908: he wanted to purchase the Plains of Abraham and turn them into a national park under a battlefield commission for Quebec's 300 year birthday.

His endeavours to elevate the project into a grand imperial enterprise fell short but nevertheless made it difficult to sell in Quebec. In the end Laurier was persuaded only by the intervention of Quebec mayor Georges Garneau to pass the potentially controversial legislation in March 1908 creating the National Battlefields Commission. During this campaign Grey had discovered a citizens’ committee making modest plans to mark the tercentenary of Samuel de Champlain’s founding of Quebec. Fresh from his battlefield victory, he decided to transform the event into an international celebration of Franco-Anglo-American friendship. The visit of the Prince of Wales, the Atlantic fleet, American and French warships, and a host of official representatives required coordination, diplomatically, by the governor general’s office and took arrangements well out of the hands of the local committee. In addition, the elaborate historical pageants promoted by Grey and staged in July threatened, despite their interpretative accommodations, to turn the event into a celebration of the arrival of British general James Wolfe in 1759 rather than Champlain. The criticism voiced  was understandable, but not to Grey, who blamed the reaction on an unenlightened element in the Catholic church.
One thing that he was successful at was smoothing over the rough waters between Canada and American after the latter purchased Alaska from the Russians. He also promoted, supported and loved sports and the arts, assisting a ton of organizations in Ontario and Quebec during his tenure.

Why did he like football so much?

Grey believed that cultural institutions were an excellent vehicle to promote imperialism. One of these paths was through sports.His interest in physical well-being came from his work in social reform and imperial wholesomeness, as well as from his own attachment to sport and the outdoors. He promoted overseas clubs backed the Boy Scout and cadet movements, and persuaded Lord Strathcona to amend the terms of his trust fund (set up in 1909 to promote physical and military training in Canadian public schools) to permit the remuneration of women cadet instructors.

He donated various cups to all sorts of sports, but the biggest was to the new amateur rugby football league in 1909. Originally he wanted to donate a cup to the newly formed Canadian hockey club but was beaten to it by Sir Allen.

The first winners of the Grey Cup was the University of Toronto who trounced Toronto Parkdale 26-6.

But Grey soon forgot about his promise. There was no trophy to present when the University of Toronto won but they did receive it in time for their photo. Weeks before the game, organizers sent a letter to the governor general reminding him of his promise, according to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame and Museum. A hurried order was sent to silversmiths to create the sterling silver cup with a wooden base. The total bill: $48.

Having researched so much on Albert Grey now, I wonder what he'd think of modern Canada, our looking more to America for our policies, and our attitudes towards our colonial past that gives us so much shame and trouble now? More importantly, what would he think of our CFL now, with multi-ethnic players and owners, and a lack of imperialistic fevour?

Monday, 17 November 2014

History Bytes: History on Twitter


I'm short on time this week, and wanted to get my history fix quickly. I' so tired of facebook except for keeping up with friends and the occasional cat video.

So I wondered: is twitter the answer for my history fix?

In keeping with the short and useful theme, he's my short assessment after reading about 50 tweets from each source. I rate them based on quantity and quality, plus any issues.  I rate them using the following old school lingo, from the best being an A to an F for crap.

 And remember if you like something better or have questions go ahead and ask me in the comments section.

Reddit History A-

Their tagline: Your connection to the past! Read discussions on historical topics.

These are always short post done almost daily. Reddit is a listserve in reality, and all their links drive you to their page, with the discussion board and links. All of the links lead to good, solid and credible articles online, like However, if you're looking for visuals, you'll have to dig into the original articles that they link to. More work but the history is solid with good references.

Outstanding tweet: WWI Starts - a youtube channel that goes into the war in depth everyday.

HistoryPics -also called ClassicPics B+

The world's biggest dead people condo - over booked and over sold.

This twitter feed is devoted to the awesome and the strange in history, from a kid in an alligator cart to Johnny Cash in the 1960s to pictures of the Clintons in the 1970s. The problem is that the context is missing, like looking at old photo albums of people you don't know. But, they do fulfil your history snacking needs.

Outstanding tweet: The world's biggest cemetery in Iraq

History Chanel  B

Easy to read, good links to their website where all of the links lead to. They never put up any links that don't feed to their blog/site History Lists and Ask History. Fun if you have some time to kill and are interested in a lot of general world and American history. They also tweet at least ten times a day and have the always favourite but silly this day in history themes.

Their biggest problem is its delivery - whoever they have hired has an idea of what to deliver that will be interesting to the broadest demographic, If you're a history buff or looking for stories that are not the norm, this tweet feed is not for you.

Outstanding tweet: Are the Great Lakes Connected?

Medievalist  A+

These guys go to the head of the class. I like history and it's clear that they do too. They update a lot, they link to other people's work and pages, they try to find new and interesting historical developments...what's not to love? They are short on tweeting pics but that can be forgiven by the solid content and great information you get from them.

Outstanding tweet : Sex and scandal in Medieval Ireland! You tube video as well

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Going Home: World War I Solidiers Identified

First off, much thanks to you all for reading my little blog. I finally have about ten of you reading it on a daily basis, and that's really nice. I just love history so I'm glad to share some of this love with you.

Now, enough of the mushy stuff...oh actually there is more. Get your Kleenex out.

Sidney Halliday
Sidney Halliday

Good news from the field of muck. No, not the much-embattled CBC, but their report on the identification of soldiers from WWI from the mud of France. The remains of a unknown soldier have now been identified as Canadian Pte. Sidney Halliday. The Department of National Defence (DND)announced today that they had identified Halliday's remains. His remains was one of eight discovered together in France in 2006. DND revealed the identities of four others September 27.

The feel good part is how he was identified.  His sweetheart Lizzie gave him a locket with her hair. He carried that all though the war and it remained on his body when he was killed by a bullet to the head in 1918. When they found the locket, they could see her name etched on it.  Thanks to meticulously written war records, Sidney's records indicate that he had left most of his meagre wealth to his mother but at some point had asked for a change to be made. He asked that $10 go to Lizzie Walmsley of Winnipeg. The researches put all of it together and realized that these were the remains of Sidney.

How'd he get there?


Tim Cook write in Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-1918 about the Battle of Amiens, where Haillday died. It began before dawn on Aug. 8, 1918.That offensive included four Canadian divisions and the Canadian Cavalry Brigade. Canadian troops would be the spearhead of the attack.There were 300,000 Allied troops in total, a third of them Canadian. The Allies also had "the largest tank force ever assembled to that point in history," he writes. Cook also says that on Aug. 11, near the eastern edge of the battle, infantrymen in Canada's 78th Battalion found themselves surrounded as they tried to hold on to the village of Hallu. 100 men were killed or went missing that day. These men were unknown and were buried there where they fell. 
Hallu, France today. Yeah war has a funny way of destroying everything

How did they do this after he and his fellow soldiers were in the dirt for 96 years?


First thing is someone has to find them. France is littered with the bits and bones of the dead from two world wars. A teenager in this case, Fabien Demeusere, was poking around in his backyard which use to be the town of  Hallu for military belts and other items. Surprise: He found their bodies instead. I imagine he pooped his pants at finding some dead guy's skull in his yard.

He did the right thing and called the police and government, They realized these were probably Canadians and called the Department of National Defence. The task of identifying the remains fell to Casualty Identification Coordinator, Laurel Clegg. Using official war records that contained ages and heights of the missing, Laurel was able to narrow down the possibilities. Genealogist Janet Roy helped find descendants of the missing men from the 78th. DNA was used to positively identify five of the eight: Lieutenant Clifford Neelands and Privates Lachlan McKinnon, William Simms, Sgt. John Lindell, and now Halliday.

 For more on the men of his regiment, I suggest the documentary Forgotten No More, The Lost Men of the 78th, which will be broadcast on CBC on November 7th.

Why you should give a toss?


I always like to give a reason why you should give a shit about a 96 year old dead guy. For one, the amazing work of the team at DND should be recognized and celebrated. No way was this easy to do as they crawled through documents and details for the last six years.

Also he's just not a name - Halliday was a human being who died from a gun shot to the head in a stupid war. He had dreams, friends, a girlfriend, family who missed him and never got to bury a body. His surviving nephew Jim Halliday said to the CBC:
"I guess it makes you feel as if he just passed away, instead of all those many years's a strange feeling. It's one you can't really explain all that well, brought some sense of closure, as they say."
And maybe when we honour all our dead, we find maybe we think long and hard if we want to add to the list of our war dead with our modern wars and military actions.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Carve that Rutabaga! The History of Halloween Symbols

Halloween is a mixture of imagery and imagination. The living dress as the dead, squash takes on a menacing role, and witches go door to door begging for candy. This seemingly hodgepodge of images and symbols actually have a great deal of meaning and history behind them. Here are just a few to get you thinking about the meanings of the decorations on your front lawn.

The two main colors of Halloween are orange and black. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance. It also is linked to the harvest and autumn. Black is a symbol of death and darkness, traditional themes of Halloween.These two colours play into the origins of halloween. The holiday was derived from the Celtic festival of Samhain, where the boundaries between life and death were blurred, with autumn being the natural blurring of summer ending and the winter beginning.
The Rutabagas of the dammed!
Pumpkins were not the first veg to be used as decorations for Halloween. In the British Isles, a rutabaga or turnip were usually carved as they were common and easy to get out of anyone's garden. When the holiday was brought over to North America, pumpkin were available, much larger and easier to carve. In 1837 the Jack-o'-lantern in North America appeared for the first time, and was any carved vegetable lantern. For some weird reason a Jack-o'-lantern was what a night watchman was called, hence the name. Despite what vegetable is chosen to carve, the original purpose was to scare off evil spirits, because everyone is terrified of root vegetables.

Black cats have a long history of being associated with the occult and death outside of Halloween. In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred and black cats possessed magic powers. During the festival of Samhain, worshipers believed that by using evil powers, humans could turn themselves into cats. According to legend, many cats were thrown into the fires to get of rid the evil. Black cats in medieval Europe were also believed to be witches' companions or familiars. Now we know better: cats are just cats and being black has no significance. It's unfortunate that some people still believe such nonsense so black cats are seen as un-adoptable by many. Here's a video to prove them wrong:

There are two other animals that are associated with Halloween in Europe: owls and bats.Owls were common symbols of wisdom and hidden knowledge, and that included the occult. Traditionally, large Halloween bonfires were built and would encourage a large amount of bugs to gather, causing owls and bats to swoop above the bonfires. Superstitions also suggest that owls ate the souls of the dying, their screeches and their glassy stare are an omen of death and disaster. The nocturnal nature of these animals played well into the festival of the night. Bats have become a more popular image in North America, partially due to their association with vampires and witches, which are said to turn into bats at will.

I'm coming for your soul!

Finally, why are witches associated so strongly with Halloween? In the Celtic pre-christian world, it was believed Witches gathering twice a year when the seasons changed, on April 30 and the eve of October 31. Their magic was supposed to be very powerful on these two days. The fear of witches continued to be part of Christianity, as wise women were seen to be in league with the devil. Multiple witch hunts in the western world resulted in hundreds of men and women being murdered. The hunting down of witches then was misogynistic and anti-pagan, and by accusing people of being witches the historic Christians earn a special spot on my shit list. I'm not sure what the people of the past would think of our new interpretations: sexist yes, scary no.

I don't think she has a license for those...brooms.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Cundill Prize: Serious Money for Serious History

This year's nominees for The Cundill Prize in History was announced this month on October 2. This is serious money at $75,000. It is the richest prize for historical writing in the world, and issued annually. Two 'Recognition of Excellence' Prize of US$10,000 are also given. The award is:

...coordinated by the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) on behalf of the Dean of Arts, was established in 2008 to be offered each year by McGill University (Montreal, Canada) to an individual, of any nationality and from any country, who has published a book determined to have had (or likely to have) a profound literary, social and academic impact in the area of history.

Gary Bass for The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide. Ugh. Well written but crap on a cracker I'm done with Nixon and how he and the 1960s changed the world blah blah blah.

David Brion Davis for The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation. Awesome, asked hard questions like how it kept happening. Not for the faint of heart.

Andrew O’Shaughnessy for The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire. Never read it. Good luck.

Richard Overy for The Bombing War: Europe 1939-45 . ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...oh sorry. Ummm you say this is a new take on an old topic. Ok. Sure.

David Van Reybrouck for Congo: The Epic History of a People. Read this with King Leopold's Ghost and you will understand why that region is so fucked up now. Hope this wins.

Geoffrey Wawro for A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire. LOVED IT!!! A must read. Why? Because it rounds up in a well written and actually understandable narrative the truly screwed up mess of pre-war Europe and the severely dysfunctional Empire leading to a war that never should have happened.

The three finalists for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature be announced in mid-October. The grand prize winner will be announced at a Toronto awards ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 20.
The prize is named after F. Peter Cundill, a very wealthy investor, who decided that it was time to recognize and promote literary and academic achievement in history. In 2008, he created the Cundill Prize. He unfortunately died in 2011, but his estate keeps it going. I wish I could ask him why did they name it after him, and not some famous historian? I'd suggest the awesome Marie Therese Veronica "Terry" Goulet, a Metis historian, but maybe I am living in a fantasy world where we acknowledge publicly there's brilliant First Nations/Metis in our country. (Just sayin') 

Mini rant over...for now.