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Brady, James Patrick (1908–67?)

Métis leader and prospector James Brady was born on March 11, 1908, at Lac St. Vincent, Alberta. He was the son of James Brady Sr., a well-respected non-Aboriginal storekeeper, and Philomena Archange, a nurse. At an early age, Brady was influenced by family members—particularly his maternal grandfather, Laurent Garneau—who were strong social advocates for Métis identity and social equality. During the 1920s Brady worked as a labourer, and through reading and life experience began to understand the inner workings of politics, socialism, and the Labour movement. In response to the adverse social conditions facing Alberta’s Métis, Brady became a social and political activist; and in 1939, with the help of Malcolm Norris and Joseph Dion, he founded L’Association des Métis de l’Alberta. When World War II broke out, Brady enlisted, but was at first refused because of his Communist affiliations. In 1943, he was admitted into the Royal Canadian Artillery. Brady’s war experience greatly impacted his world view, making him further aware of the Métis’ oppression in western Canada. In 1947 he moved to northern Saskatchewan, where he worked as a prospector and, for a time, for the Department of Natural Resources under the new socialist CCF government. In the north, Brady and Norris were reunited and began organizing the northern Métis and Non-Status Indians through the Métis Association of Saskatchewan. In June 1967, Brady and fellow prospector Abbie Halkett disappeared while on a prospecting expedition in the Foster Lakes area. An extensive RCMP search ensued, but they were never found. Many believe that the two men were murdered for political reasons.

Cheryl Troupe

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