Métis journal co-founded by UM prof launches first issue

First Canadian journal to focus on specific nation will also feature poetry, stories

A new academic journal co-founded by a U of M professor and dedicated to showcasing Métis thought launched its first issue at the end of September.

The first journal in Canada to focus on work by members of a specific Indigenous nation, Pawaatamihk will feature sections devoted to poetry, visual culture and community stories in addition to academic papers and book reviews.

Lucy Fowler, one of the journal’s co-founders, co-editors and an assistant professor in the U of M faculty of education, acknowledged that there are journals that focus on Indigenous topics generally, “but some folks in our circles talked about how they didn’t always get to share their perspectives as Métis people in those spaces,” she said.

“There’s so much amazing Indigenous scholarship out there that there’s just not enough space.”

She also noted that many mainstream journals lack the network of Métis scholars needed to support reviews of books on Métis content, leading to articles not being published. To address this, the editors of Pawaatamihk are building up a community of reviewers, which Métis scholars and community members can sign up for through the journal’s website.

Fowler said about 46 people initially signed up to offer their expertise, with more contacting them since the journal launched.

“So, there’s plenty of people that do this work and want to share their expertise and want to share that load,” she said.

Fowler said she and other Métis women scholars “from across the homeland” came up with the idea for the journal in 2022 while planning Mawachihitotaak, a Métis studies symposium.

“We decided that we needed a place to be able to publish for our people, that would be centring Métis voices and prioritizing those experiences and so we decided, ‘we’ll just start it ourselves,’” she said.

Fowler serves on Pawaatamihk’s Circle of Editors as co-editor for all scholarly submissions, alongside other Métis women.

“Typical journal boards are kind of hierarchical with a senior editor and then editors beneath them, but we wanted to make this reflect our own worldviews and our own priorities as Métis women,” she said.

“We decided instead of having a hierarchical structure we would have a circle of editors, and so we all take on different roles within the backend of the journal to keep everything going and divide the workload that way.”

The name of the journal, a Michif and Cree word that approximately translates to “collective dreaming” or “a group of people dreaming,” was given to the Circle of Editors by Elder Verna DeMontigny following a meeting in November of 2022. The theme of the journal’s first issue celebrates dreaming.

The journal is open access and strives to include beginner scholars, thinkers who are 2SLGBTQIA+ or gender diverse and community members from outside academia.

The first issue will feature scholarly papers exploring research methodologies and theoretical approaches to analysis of Métis film. Pawaatamihk will also showcase a featured artist every issue.

“We started this edition with a feature on Jennine Krauchi who’s a really well-known Métis beader here in Winnipeg,” she said, adding that an image of Krauchi’s work serves as the cover for the journal’s first edition. Fowler acknowledged that an academic journal featuring art or poetry is “not very common.”

“We really wanted to include it and forefront it in the journal because we believe so strongly in the knowledge of our communities and recognizing it as on the same level as academic research,” she explained.

She described the community stories section of the journal as a way for Métis people to share family stories, profiles of people within their communities and ideas in a “less academically rigorous” form.

“Folks could share about activists in their community who are doing really important work that we don’t necessarily read about because it’s not deemed as academic, or it’s not written about in a research context,” Fowler said.

Pawaatamihk is open to all academic disciplines and may publish special themed issues in the future. Fowler hopes to eventually see an issue dedicated to Métis science.

Pawaatamihk is accepting submissions for its upcoming issue. The deadline to submit is Nov. 1.