Appointed as the Chair of Métis Research at the University of Ottawa in 2010, Brenda Macdougall has worked with a number of Metis communities documenting their cultural history through the stories of families. She began her academic career in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan in 1999 while completing her doctorate. She has extensive research background in archival documents and has worked closely with Metis elders and teachers to learn about traditional historical knowledge. This dual approach to Metis history has informed her approach to teaching and so has worked to create courses that are based on a Metis perspective as informed by our worldview, history, experiences, and interpretation of the world around us.
Brenda grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and is a Scottish Half-breed (Metis) whose paternal family history stretches back to the founding of Fort Edmonton and eventually to the parishes of St. Clements and St. Charles in Red River. Deeply committed to the Metis community, she has approached her education and training as a platform to pursue scholarship that not only reflects our understanding of the world but also informs Canadians about Metis culture and society beyond the banks of the Red and Assinaboine Rivers.
She is the author of several articles and her first book, One of the Family: Metis Culture in Nineteenth-Century Northwestern Saskatchewan, was published in 2010 by the University of British Columbia Press. Recognized as one of the foremost scholars on the Metis, she is invited to speak at community, government, industry, and academic events, sits on a number of national and provincial committees, and oversees a number of significant research grants.
In her role at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Macdougall has been engaging in Ontario-based Metis historical and community research and is continuing previous research associated with Great Plains-based Metis societies.