After the inaugural Métis Nation of Alberta Youth Camp in 2019, Bailey Oster got into her car and cried tears of joy. The camp was a milestone in Oster’s life and work, advocating for Métis culture and history across generations.
Oster’s family helped establish St-Paul-de-Métis (the town of St. Paul), and she recalls listening to her aunt Doreen tell stories of her childhood. “Understanding my family’s history and the way they helped build the province made me realize these seemingly small stories were important to pass on,” she says.
Through the 2021 anthology, Stories of Métis Women: Tales My Kookum Told Me, Oster was able to share stories from relatives and other Métis women across Alberta she’s met through her position as vice-president of New Dawn, Métis Women’s Society. It’s a position she’s held since the age of 19. “I’ve known most of these women for years, and being able to see their stories out in the mainstream, brings me joy. They were so excited to see their stories represented.”
Oster continues to pass on stories to the next generation through the youth camp. “It’s a chance to spend time with the children who are our future leaders,” she says. “Seeing them have fun, meet new friends, learn about who they are and who their family is, and connect to Métis culture and history is so fulfilling.”
She keeps Métis and Indigenous stories alive
This article appears in the November 2022 issue of Edify