In North America, the Métis, as defined under the Métis National Council, are descendants of mixed ancestry who self-identify themselves to be Métis, and are accepted into their current community as descedents of the Red River, Manitoba settlement. The métis (from Old French mestis, from Late Latin mixtīcius) indicates a person of mixed Aboriginal American and European ancestry – especially a person of Algonquian and Celtic and/or French ancestry. The term is French and is a cognate of Spanish mestizo and Portuguese mestiço, which have the same meaning but indicate European ancestry associated with the Iberian peninsula. The English word "mestee" is a corruption of the Middle French mestis (the letters 's' both pronounced at the start of the Middle French period, and both silent at the end of the Middle French period).
The term is also used outside of North America, mostly in countries that were historically part of the French Empire, such as Vietnam. As in North America,the term indicates a person of mixed European and non-European ancestry. Its use by Anglophones is generally restricted to the North American usage, with "Eurasian" preferred for people of mixed European and Asian ancestry.
The designation "mestee" was formerly widely used in the United States for mixed-race individuals, but after the Civil War the term gradually fell into disuse as an effect of the "one-drop rule", under which anyone with any known Sub-Saharan African ancestry was legally "Black". American Indian scholar Jack D. Forbes has attempted to revive "mestee" as a term for the old mixed-race groups. The term is currently not commonly used in the US or the UK.
The specific meaning of métis in Canada varies depending on context. In fact, The Canadian Encyclopedia states that there is no consensus on the definition of métis in Canada and uses the following definition in their article on the subject:
It is important to define specific meanings for the term as used in this discussion, while cautioning that writers past and present have not achieved consensus on the matter. Written with a small m, métis is an old French word meaning "mixed", and it is used here in a general sense for people of dual Indian-White ancestry. Capitalized, Métis is often used but not universally accepted as a generic term for all persons of this biracial descent. It may variously refer to a distinctive socio cultural heritage, a means of ethnic self-identification, and sometimes a political and legal category, more or less narrowly defined.
This article includes a list of related items that share the same name (or similar names). If an internal link incorrectly led you here, you may wish to change the link to point directly to the intended article.
Barkwell, Lawrence J.; Dorion, Leah; Hourie, Audreen (2006). "Métis legacy Michif culture, heritage, and folkways". Métis legacy series 2. Saskatoon: Gabriel Dumont Institute. ISBN0-920915-80-9.
Barkwell, Lawrence J.; Dorion, Leah; Prefontaine, Darren (2001). Métis Legacy: A Historiography and Annotated Bibliography. Winnipeg: Pemmican Publications Inc. and Saskatoon: Gabriel Dumont Institute. ISBN1-894717-03-1.