Walking In The Woods
book: Walking in the Woods: A Metis Memoir written by Herb Belcourt
The eldest of ten children, Belcourt grew up in a small log home near the Métis settlement of Lac Ste. Anne during the Depression. His father purchased furs from local First Nations and Métis trappers and, with arduous work, began a family fur trading business that survives to this day. When Belcourt left home at 15 to become a labourer in coal mines and sawmills, his father told him to save his money so he could work for himself. Over the next three decades, Belcourt began a number of small Alberta businesses that prospered and eventually enabled him to make significant contributions to the Métis community in Alberta.
Belcourt has devoted over 30 years of his life to improving access to affordable housing and further education for Aboriginal Albertans. In 1971, he co-founded CanNative Housing Corporation, a nonprofit agency charged with providing homes for urban Aboriginal people who confronted housing discrimination in Edmonton and Calgary. In 2004, Belcourt and his colleagues established the Belcourt Brosseau Métis Awards Fund, a $13-million endowment with a mandate to support the educational dreams of Métis youth and mature students in Alberta and to make a permanent difference in the lives of Métis Albertans