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Building Métis community through inclusion and identity

IBEP student on finding places of belonging, self-discovery at Asper and beyond

February 16, 2024 — 


“You’re coming here to be yourself—to be a visionary—that’s what Asper is for.”

Matthew Carriere is a BComm student at the Asper School of Business and member of Indigenous Business Education Partners (IBEP) who knows what it means to find himself through community.

He pursues and creates spaces of belonging, whether he is heading to Montpellier, France, through Asper’s International Exchange program, planning networking events with UM Indigenous Commerce Students (UMICS), or relaxing in the IBEP lounge.

IBEP offers a broad range of services to Indigenous students pursuing a degree at Asper, including tutoring, access to bursaries and scholarships and networking opportunities. Carriere is also grateful for the community IBEP has built for students. “IBEP is a place to feel safe. It’s our own little tight-knit community. I can sit down with an advisor who is there to help me while understanding my needs and background,” he says.

As VP of corporate relations for UMICS, Carriere plans events that get Indigenous business students face-to-face with potential employers and mentors, creating opportunities for students that they may not otherwise access on their own.

A Red River Métis citizen, Carriere’s life within and outside of Asper is characterized by the transformative power and place of community connection.

He was one of three youths selected to attend the Papal visit on the Maskwacis Reserve in 2022, caring for, supporting and connecting with Elders during the journey. The experience revealed the meaning of resilience and community that, rather than enforcing uniformity, holds space for difference.

“That was lifechanging,” he says. “I got to hear multiple perspectives and learn from the Elders—some forgave, some didn’t, some felt uneasy or uncertain. It shaped my view of how important community is because even with different responses, the most consistent thing was resilience. Witnessing that resilience drove me towards applying to be a provincial board member.”

In November 2023, he joined the Provincial Youth Advisory Committee of the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) after years of service as a Winnipeg Regional Youth Advisor. As a teenager, Carriere sought guidance in the Métis community of Manitoba and MMF, which became a place of belonging and reclamation.

“I never really knew my Métis background when I was younger because for my dad and my grandpa, back then, that identity and history was shameful. My family encouraged me to go out and be in the community to find my place. At my first meeting, I was gifted a Métis sash by Elders and leaders in the St. Norbert Local (MMF). Instantly, I felt welcomed.

“I felt like I had a place.”

Carriere’s willingness to embrace his history and actively take part in his community is something his family celebrates today, a reminder that more equitable futures are imagined through truthful reckonings of the past. Committed to empowering youth in the community, he shares the long-term goals that drive his work with the MMF and Métis youth.

“I want to help create an identity for youth to embrace and live through, and cultivate inclusiveness, because Métis people come from many diverse backgrounds.”

For Carriere, inclusivity recognizes that every individual—every generation—has wisdom to offer.

Whether he is heeding advice from his grandparents (encouraging him to go with his gut and pursue business), following a lead from IBEP to secure an internship at Deloitte this summer, connecting fellow Asper students to part-time work through his current role at TD, or engaging with the next generation of Indigenous business and Métis leaders, Carriere works to create spaces that value experience at every level—what he refers to as a “ladder of wisdom.”

“Everyone has their own story,” he explains. “Everyone is a visionary. Share your life experience and what you’ve seen of the world and seek that out in others. That exchange, that’s your leverage.”

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