How discovering his Métis heritage opened doors for a BC entrepreneur

Dec 8 2021, 6:47 pm

Discovering, or connecting, with your roots can be illuminating. Whether it’s learning more about your family tree and ancestors or delving into cultural traditions, it can be a portal to enriching your sense of self and lead to a community of people with shared history and values.

For Métis Nation, which is working towards self-governance, being in touch with your heritage is a necessary means of safeguarding a longstanding culture that has been faced with oppression and other colonial forces.

As Métis Nation continues to experience unprecedented growth, as well as access to an influx of resources and opportunities, there are more reasons than ever for self-identifying Métis people to become citizens.

UFV Speaking (Longhouse Media)

Métis Nation BC (MNBC) helps those who identify as Métis, or who suspect they may be, become Métis citizens, through which people can strengthen their cultural ties and gain access to key benefits.

For Keenan Beavis, the path towards Métis citizenship started in high school when he discovered his ancestry through a class genealogy project. It was then he began to uncover the richness of Métis culture and identity.

“Becoming a Métis citizen has been amazing,” he tells us. “I was very fortunate to have received funding for the last two years of my undergraduate finance degree as part of the MNBC Employment and Training Program.”

Keenan Beavis (Longhouse Media)

The funding allowed them to focus on his studies and begin building his dream business: Longhouse Media. From a young age, Beavis was a natural entrepreneur. At the age of four, this (adorably) involved going door to door, trying to sell bugs he’d trapped in a pop bottle.

Today, his flourishing business is doing so well, it’s made giving back a priority. Through its Longhouse Media Indigenous Youth Membership Award, the company provides recipients with a $1,000 scholarship, as well as training in business skills — like web development, digital marketing, SEO, and graphic design — that are relevant to today’s digital marketplace.

As a federally recognized Nation representing Métis people in BC, citizenship means gaining access to many benefits and programs, including education funding, business grants, childcare subsidies, housing opportunities, and lots more.

But becoming a Métis citizen is about community, too. ”Registering as a Métis citizen has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made,” says Beavis. ”The depth of the culture is great to be a part of and I feel like I’ve joined a family of people with shared values, experiences, and a desire to see each other succeed.”

When we asked Beavis for advice he’d give to other Métis people who are not yet MNBC Citizens, he’s quick to recommend picking up the phone and giving them a call. “The team and the programs are there to help you.”

To learn more about becoming a Métis citizen and the benefits that come along with this, go to mnbc.ca.

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