- Mar 2017
Commonly referred to throughout history as “metis”, “mixed-bloods”, or “michif”, this group of individuals represented a population thought to be half- European and half- First Nation Peoples. More specifically, “Metis” is used to refer to the population that has mixed French Canadian and Cree ancestry living in Canada. Within the context of our studies, however, the term is commonly used in the Mackenzie District to mean mixed blood of European and First Nations ancestry. They have been plagued by lack of opportunity given to them by the Canadian government, or lack of representation. However, before the turn of the 19th century they famously fought for their recognition in the “North West Rebellion”, a stand for their community that took place in 1885. Their struggle to gain proper recognition as a people under the Canadian government is one that represents a common theme in the topics relevant in this article. Much of Metis identity comes from identifying as those who were “dispossessed by Canadian government actions from 1870 on”. The number of Metis in Canada has been estimated to be around 750,000. The 1970s saw groups of Metis from the Dakotas, Canada, Idaho and Montana gather to commemorate their shared heritage and pride. The Metis have been referred to as the “Forgotten People”. The history of these people actually started when male members of the Hudson’s Bay Company married and had Children with Cree women. These children were the first to be identified as Metis. Their history is a long and powerful one, dating back to the 1670s.
If you select the link to the Manitoba Metis Federation website in the reference section below, you can view the Metis Flag.
Jacqueline Peterson and Jennifer S.H. Brown, The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Metis in North America (Winnipeg: The University of Manitoba Press, 1985) https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=q8qervZ6nakC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=metis&ots=eb9wxWIATY&sig=ejlZFKH4ZkQVeLLk1hd9fCwdvtY#v=onepage&q=metis&f=false
Manitoba Metis Federation. “History of the Metis Flag.” Last modified 2017. http://www.mmf.mb.ca/history_of_the_metis_flag.php