Film " The New Breed" - Banff to Montreal Canoe Journey

I wold like to thank all those who have donated to the "New Breed" (NB) film project or the climbing tools series. All donations go towards increasing productions values. The film realistically will run a whopping $350,000.00 CND. Your involvement means more to me then words can say. I don't take your trust lightly and promise to produce something that you will be proud to have been a part of. A donation of $50 or more gets you a copy of the film. 



★ Countries: What should every foreigner know about your country? Why?

I contribute every once in awhile to this site called . I dig this site because you can ask just about anything and some of the best minds in the world create a collective of information. It is beginning to rival wikipedia for its resource capabilities. So one day The question above came up. The Canadians flocked to the answer board telling how amazing Canada is. It’s beauty. It’s health care system. It’s people. All these things are true but truth is in the eye of the beholder. Everything that people wrote about Canada was true. My answer was a little darker but just as true because it comes from my perspective. 



Aboriginal children amoung the poorest in the country!


Countries: What should every foreigner know about your country? Why?


Mike Barter, Mountain GuideSuggest Bio

35 upvotes by Cristi Vlas, Anand Silodia, Phil Darnowsky, (more)



Canada: I live in a country that is ranked highly as one of the best places in the world to live in almost any way that you can think of. Health, safety, income, standard of living. That is as long as you or your ancestors immigrated into the country.

    However if you are native Canadian (indian) there is a very good chance that you live in poverty as bad as any developing country in the world. Your great grandparents if they wanted to survive where herded onto tracks of land nobody wanted and told you now must give up your semi-nomadic lifestyle and take up the European farm lifestyle. The Metis who were promised 1.7 million acres received 167 (acres the same as a Slavic settler who received this just for showing up.  Despite 200 years of occupation of the western interior.

      Your chances of finishing high school less then 20%. Your chance of experiencing domestic violence, substance abuse and having a criminal record over 50 times the national average. Experiencing all three quite likely.

      You'll never see this as most these people are tucked away in the less occupied parts of the country. That is of course your coming here to work in a nickel, gold, uranium, tar sand mine then you may fly over these locations as their land has been given with little compensation to large corperations.


Written 5 Feb.



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Making the Trailer for the Pitch is a Bitch

Today I wrote what I think is a script describing the movie. This is a required part of the whole process because I have to sell this idea. I have to convince people that I can actually make a feature film. I know that I can. I have been doing this video stuff since 95 when crappy hi-8 was all we had to work with. 

      There are certian film styles I like but they are hard to create. Loce teh Sherpa Cimima stuff. I hadn't really thought about a larger budget production. Jerry has kindly offered Mudzilla his monster truck for a camera vehicle support. Some helicopter footage would be cool especially out on the great lakes.

One thing I do know is that I may be made up of many things, but I am entirely Metis 


The Last Metis: Trailer Script

I choose this as a working title for my film project. At first I just liked the name sort of like “The Last of the Mohicans”. The title has taken on a new meaning however. It truly represents what will happen to my families native timeline if I do not do something. 

Let me explain what I mean first and the reason I am going to make this film. My name is Joe Mckay and I am Metis. I am 55 years of age and spent almost my entire adult life as a mountain guide, living in Banff Canada. I grew up one foot grounded in the modern urban world the other was firmly planted next to my grandparents whom raised me for half of my life. I personally have a very strong sense of my native identity. Living 25 years in Banff the tourist mecca of Canada has somewhat eroded my sense of peoplehood. Distance and time spent from my cultural roots has shaken the native foundation so to speak. If i who has such a firm grasp on my families historical past can feel a sense of loss then what of my children. The don’t have my grandparents to raise them. They have little idea of the the home country back in Saskatchewan. More than anything I honestly think that this urban jungle is going to denie them the true meaning of what it is to be Metis. To truly and honestly take pride in the contributions made by their ancestors to the creation of what now is Canada. 

I believe that the greatest loss by any culture is that of their children.It is they we are going to depend on tp preserve its future.

I could reestablish all of this without the creation of this film. I of course realize this. However it has occurred that if this is a issue for my children then it must be a issue for thousand of other urban natives youth. My desire with this film is to create a roadmap that the blind can follow. I will take the viewer through the process of my self discovery and that of my children. From applying with the Alberta Metis Association  to researching my family tree back to as far as my roots will take me. Wrap this up with a canoe trip on the lower fur trade route with my children visiting the historical home of our ancestors. Examining the contributions and cultural contributions their grandparents and great grandparents made to this great nation.

About the film and how can I possibly make such and ambitious project. For part of this film I have been preparing for several years. I took a break from full time mountain guiding in 2005 and acquired a position as a audio Visual Technician with Sharps Audio Visual at the band Springs hotel here in Banff. I started as many do in that business learning the trade from the bottom up. By bottom I mean in the basement soldering XLR cables. Then one day came the call to arms “Mckay you said you can run camera. Lets find out!” next thing I know I am sitting behind a broadcast camera with a director screaming in my ear to sell him something. It was trial by fire! 4 years later I have run pretty much every consumer to professional camera on the market. As a tech audio recording and lighting is also our major responsibility. I have a body of work on youtube that pretty much chronologically shows my development as a cameraman and editor. I encourage you to check this out. 

For those who are skeptical as to my ability to travel the distance from Banff Alberta to Montreal Quebec I assure you I have trained for this journey my entire adult life. raised in the wilds of the Yukon and Northwest Territories I have and had some of the most physically demanding jobs available in the western world. From nine years swinging tongs on a rig floor in the high Arctic Islands to working as a mountain guide packing loads that would kill a voyager at 20,000 feet. My primary winter work as a guide has been climbing frozen waterfalls. Worth mentioning back when I was 20 my brother and I canoed from Red Deer Alberta to Regina Beach Saskatchewan which is roughly 1/4 the distance of the proposed trip. A trip that very much defined my future and lead me to a life guiding in the great mountain ranges of the world.


The content of this film will have interviews with:

  • Metis Political leaders; What and who do they define as a Metis and what is the process af acquiring membership. 
  • Metis Parents living in a Urban Environment; What do they see in their children's future. How do they maintain the connection to their ancestral past. 
  • My family members; what was life like as a Metis 70 years in rural Saskatchewan. What do they see as the future of the Metis nation and its children.
  • Parks Canada Historians; An amazing resource that will explain the significance of some of the sites we visit on this journey. Such places as Batoche Saskatchewan and the Riel homestead on the Red River.

I very much like the film style and look of the Sherpa Cinema group. While those are basically ski adventure stories or music videos in the last film “Into the Mind” the transition from past to present  maintains the audiences attention. The journey is the catalyst for the film. I see mixing the the historical locations with the interviews as the canoe trip goes on a chronological trip backwards in time. The spectacular Canadian landscape in it’s self explains why peaceful farmers would take arms to to protect their heritage and secure a future for future generations. 

Cut to Metis music video and collage of photos.



Money for nothing and my chicks for free- Aboriginal peoples Television Network

The main focus of the last couple weeks is getting my story together so that I can pitch the idea in such a way that somebody will help fund this project. The canoe trip alone with new canoe, outrigger-sail kit and custom spray skirt runs about $4000. Then there is food and home expenses. In reality I can make the whole thing a go at $25K. To some out there this may seem like a lot but to anybody who knows anything about film making this is nothing. 

I am hoping to get funding from a number of sources. My first pitch will be at the Aboriginals Peoples Television Network. If this doesn’t fit into their programming mandate then nothing does. There is a mountain of paper that goes with this option but there is a mountain of paper that goes with any option. I will list below the criteria for funding in their program. I think I pretty much hit it right on the mark. 

I asked Tracy Jacobson (Namaste Films, Canmore ) a well known producer out of Canmore to have a look at my treatment. She is intrigued by the story enough to have a look at what I have written so far. I pronely am overly optimistic in taking this as a good sign. I could certainly use the help. I am starting to realize that in order to get this done it’s going to require that I let go of parts of the project. Writing, shooting, editing and the massive amount of logistics is just to much for me to do on my own. That's OK because this film really is about the youth of our nation. The one thing that I can’t compromise however is the final say before release. So no matter what I need that 51%. I certainly don’t see this as a problem. In order for people to get on board they will pretty much have to drink the kook-aid. 

There are of course a couple other sources that may have potential. The Gabriel Dumont Institute and the various Metis associations across Canada. I certainly can see them helping out with this film. There is a lot these people can do not just financially but help with historical backgrounds on the locations we will be visiting. is a another potential source. This is basically crowd sourcing and looking for angel investors. 

Well I would love to stay and chat about this further but I have a 3 day glacier trip that I have to guide. Heading up to the Wapta Icefields with four guests. Hasn’t rained all summer till the day that I am walking up to Bow Hut. Oh well those are the breaks. Gotta go it’s 6 am and i have to be on the road in a hour and a half.


Climbing with Fatboy Slim

Every once in awhile you run into somebody completely different. In guiding that is what keeps the job interesting. Like last winter I guided the dude who is in charge of all the acquisition of all Apple touch screens. Being a a proud apple fanboy since the mid 90’s it was a fun day out. Digging into the inside corporate culture I felt like I should have been paying this guy. Yesterday was a similar sort of day. However instead of a high end executive for the worlds greatest company I was hanging with a dude (John Mac) who had lost 115 pounds in the last 11 months. Seriously 115 pounds! He showed me a before and after photo. There is no way that you could tell that this was the same person. So anyhow he has set a goal for himself and that is to climb Mt Kilimanjaro in Kenya, Africa. He wanted to climb Mt Temple in Lake Louise but because of a late start we ended up climbing Mt Eiffel instead. We used this 10,000’ foot rubble pile as a training climb for the African rubble pile. 

Not at his heaviest. John on the left. It takes a fair bit of will power to decide to lose that much weight and actually do it. Anyhow buddy has done it and has set goals for himself. This year it is a rubble pile in Africa. Next year it is the Inca trail to Machu Pichu. He verbally agreed to join me on the lower fur trade route for a week or two as his 2017 objective. 

Which reminds me that I have to set a new short term goal. I have been in a post marathon depression since IMe and Fat Boy Slim ran that banff marathon 23rd of June this year. So thats a solid month of slacking off and doing summer vacation stuff. Aug is looking busy work wise so that will help with my personal weight control. They have a pill for pretty much everything except motivation. You know the short term kind. 

Sit ups, there I said it. That right now is my nemesis. Every morning I start thinking this is the day and I am going to start. This has been going on for months. Obviously I am losing because I think I have done two in 3 months. Which really means none.

Juicing is another thing I need to start up again. Buddy had watched the show “Fat, Sick and nearly dead” and was inspired by the transformation Joe Cross (guy who made the documentary) had. It really is a great motivational kick you in the butt kind of story. I’m glad I ran into buddy yesterday cause it reminded me that I have to take care of myself and continue to set goals. This canoe trip is a long term thing but till then I have to get funding together to get this film made. 

I am terrible at maintaining my focus on stuff. Even writing this I have been half way around the planet. So here are my short term goals.

  •  Start juicing again; have to get that healthy feeling back. I noticed I have been eating worse and worse. 
  • Do my sit ups and core exercises; I am going to put down my laptop for a second so don’t go away…… I’m back. Did 20 sit-ups just now. Not that I couldn’t do more I just needed to start. Often with me it is that first go that gets me motivated to keep going.
  • Get my paperwork done for the APTN channel. This seems like the perfect fit for my film and a major source of funding. I really have to pound this one out. Open a folder and just start filling out the forms.
  • Get my crap into the Alberta Metis Association so that I can once again become a card carrying blood.
  • Write a article about making training videos for gripped magazine; Been meaning to start writing commercial articles. I look at how bad some of these writers are. Lynn Martell? Really she claims to be a reporter but when she does have something to really report she hasn’t got the balls to put pen to paper. 
  • Get more work done on MMS program

Ok thats enough. Got the sit-ups done. Now to get to work on the MMSS. Found the perfect place for this course to start. The Casino out on the Trans-Canada hi-way. So have to get the MMSS proposal happening. Also want to contact the Stoney’s band and see about using the Castle Junction property to host the MMSS for a week or so.

 Ok so focus Joe. Get this thing done. It is great to have some long term goals now. Excited about getting the MMSS program going. It is a much needed resource for young adults. Plus we have to break the stranglehold that the ACMG has on the National Parks. One thing I have learnt is that you want to make big changes you certainly don’t do that here at a local level.  You take your lawyers to Ottawa. No kid should have start their working world by being forced into the Euro-Canadian club. Anybody out there have any experience creating a not-for-profit organization? I think that will be the next step


Letter to my Brothers


So realistically I think as far as I can go with the kids is to the mouth of the Winnipeg River. After that the journey takes on a more serious nature. I will make that decision when I get to Lake Winnipeg. Most likely be a whole new perspective after a couple months of river life. I don't kid myself that the Great Lakes is a serious endeavor. I drove along it three years ago. There are sections of that shoreline that is brutal and unforgiving. I also know I am a prairie boy with limited sailing experience. You know by the time that I get to the lakes I will be a different kind sailor. 20' war canoe loaded for bear is a stable craft. Add a custom spray skirt. Put in a sturdy sail rig and add outriggers. That's the plan anyhow.

Tyler (Little Blood) McKay and a borrowed dog

So I am considering getting a partner from Lake Winnipeg to Montreal. My first choice is my brothers. So I sent them the letter below. They both responded. Jaime said he would give it some serious thought. What ever that means. Jerry is most likely in at Craven, Sask. We canoed to Regina Beach which turns left over a small dam into Last Mountain Lake from Red Deer back in 1983. It was just a whim of a idea based on my rig being shut down and Jerry just getting out of Uof A for the summer. That trip molded my life. I just loved being out on the country for extended periods of time. It's only then that you really get a feel for the land. It takes a good two to three weeks to throw off the pox ridden blanket of civilisation.

By the way anybody wants to come on parts or all of this trip your welcome to join. So were leaving Banff around 15th of May. It's a long ways to Montreal so company would be welcome for portions of it.


So life kind of boring lately. Don’t have a goal? Want to do one more great thing before your to old to do anything. I have hit all those. Then some. So tell you what I’m going to do and your welcome to come or you can read about and catch the movie later. 

In the spring of 2017 I will be canoeing to Montreal from Banff. I plan on taking the family as far as Winnipeg and maybe as far as the outlet of the Winnipeg River on Lake Winnipeg. That's about as far as I am sure is safe for a 7 year old and a 9 year old (Tyler and Aven’s age at time of journey) to travel by canoe. 

Their portion of the trip is a history lesson mainly and a cultural journey. I want them to visit the the hood of their ancestors. Yes I know I could take the RV and do it in a long weekend but I also want them to see and feel the land that they come from. You don’t get that in a RV. In fact I think you really have to spend some time on the river to appreciate just how it was back in the day and why it was a land worth fighting for.

Full disclosure Canoeing the lower trade route to Montreal has been on my bucket list for about a decade. One thing or another has prevented me from doing it. Partly financial and partly having trouble getting my shit together. It seems however that the time has come and it is time to do it or it will never get done. I will be 57 years of age at the time of this trip and I don’t foresee myself doing anything greater then this again in my life. By the time the kids graduate from high school I will be close to 70 and most likely in no shape for such a journey.

The route basically is Banff to Calgary (Pick up family)

Bow till becomes South Saskatchewan into Definbaker Lake

Jump the Dam at Deifenbaker into Q’aupple River Follow this till it Joins the Assiniboine

Assiniboine to Red 

Red River to lake Winnipeg

Lake Winnipeg to Winnipeg River

Winnipeg River (26 portages) to boundary waters

Boundary over grand portage in Superior drainage

Sail great Lake in Canoe to Montreal



Sounds simple don’t it. So giving you the first right of refusal. Anybody can come for part or all the trip. Jerry’s kids can jump in a Buffalo Pound if they like. Anybody that wants to tag along can. They just need a Canoe or Kayak. 

Departure may 15 2017 The early start should get us to Lake Winnipeg before the prairie floods. Just means low water at start of the trip. Was roughly the time that Jerry and I did the Qu’apple last time when we were to stupid to know better. 

Think about it, you have some time


Mot once in two weeks did they ask for their iPad.That's what I'm talking about