Métis

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Métis
Mitchif
Métis
A Métis man and his two wives, circa 1825-1826.jpg
Total population
587,545[1] (2016[2], census)
 Canada587,545[1]
 United Statesunknown
Languages
Michif, Nêhiyawêwin, Canadian French, North American English, Hand Talk, other Indigenous languages

The Métis (/meɪˈtiː/) are a polyethnic Indigenous group whose homeland is in Canada and parts of the United States between the Great Lakes region and the Rocky Mountains. The Métis trace their descent to both Indigenous North Americans and European settlers. Not all people of mixed Indigenous and Settler descent are Métis, as the Métis is a distinct group of people with a distinct culture and language. Since the late 20th century, the Métis in Canada have been recognized as a distinct aboriginal people under the Constitution Act of 1982; and have a population of 587,545 as of 2016.[1] Smaller communities self-identifying as Métis exist in the U.S .,[3] such as the Little Shell Tribe of Montana. The Métis ethnogenesis began in the fur trade, and they have been an important group in the history of Canada, as well as the foundation of the province of Manitoba.[4] The Métis have homelands and communities in the U.S., as well as in Canada, that have been separated by the drawing of the U.S.-Canada border at the 49th parallel North.

Etymology[edit]

Métis drivers and Red River carts

The word derives from the French adjective métis, also spelled metice, referring to a hybrid, or someone of mixed ancestry.[5][6]:1080 In the 16th century, French colonists used the term métis as a noun for people of mixed European and indigenous American parentage in New France (now Quebec), at the time, it applied generally to French-speaking people who were of partial ethnic French descent.[5][7] It later came to be used for people of mixed European and Indigenous backgrounds in other French colonies, including Guadeloupe in the Caribbean;[8] Senegal in West Africa;[9] Algeria in North Africa;[10] and the former French Indochina in Southeast Asia.[11] The spelling Métis with an uppercase M refers to the distinct Indigenous peoples in Canada and the U.S., while the spelling métis with a lowercase m refers to the adjective. There are many different spellings of the word Métis that have been used interchangeably, including métif, michif, currently the most agreed upon spelling is Métis, however some prefer to use Metis to be inclusive to persons of both English and French descent.[12] The definition of the word is often disputed, as governments and political organizations have been the parties to define the perception of Métis in legislation, rather than Métis defining the title themselves.

The Métis in Canada and the Metis in the United States adopted parts of their Indigenous and European cultures while creating customs and tradition of their own, as well as developing a common language.[13] Some argue that the ethnogenesis of the Métis began when the Métis organized politically at the Battle of Seven Oaks, while others argue that the ethnogenesis began prior to this politicized battle, before the Métis emigrated from the Great Lakes region to the Western plains.[14]

Métis people in Canada[edit]

History of Métis in Canada[edit]

The Métis Nation is considered to be rooted in what is known as the "Métis Homeland," an area ranging from northwestern Ontario and moving westward across the prairies. In this area, fur trappers married indigenous Cree and Saulteaux women. A distinct ethnicity developed, as mixed-race descendants married within this group and remained involved with fur trapping and trading. They also began to farm in the Red River of the North area.[15]

People of "mixed ancestry," although not of the Métis Nation, have a distinct history of their own. These unions began in the east, extending from the Atlantic coast to the Great Lakes. The fur trade and colonial development drew French voyageurs and coureurs des bois to the west, along with the later Hudson's Bay Company employees. Wintering partners of the fur trading companies typically took a wikt:country wife for their months away from the eastern cities.

After the fall of New France to the British 1763, many mixed-race populations continued to establish themselves, often specializing in the fur trade and related hunting. Some served as interpreters, as they often were fluent in both indigenous and European languages. English and Scottish traders married indigenous women, often the daughters of high-ranking chiefs, forming an elite mixed society. As the eighteenth century ended, the fur trade moved westward into the Plains.

The Métis Nation promoted their distinct and unique Indigenous identity in 1812, when Cuthbert Grant led a battle in the Pemmican War, flying the Métis flag. Many treaties throughout Canada were being negotiated in the nineteenth century, including in Ontario with the Robinson–Huron treaty. In 1870 the Métis at Red River, led by Louis Riel, resisted Canada's efforts to take over this area from the Hudson's Bay Company. They negotiated entry into Canada as the province of Manitoba, with promises to protect their land and rights. In 1885, the Métis resisted Canadian colonialism with the North-West Rebellion. The Métis were defeated and Riel was hanged as a traitor to Canada, but his role in history is controversial.

Métis in the Métis Nation homeland received scrip under Section 32 of the Manitoba Act,and in the Northwest Territory via a series of Scrip Commissions that accompanied the negotiators of the numbered treaties in the Northwest Territory. Because scrip could only be applied to surveyed land, many Metis could not use it to purchase the unsurveyed land on which they were already living.[16] They often moved onto the road allowances, where no roads had yet been built. The term "Road Allowance people" was used to describe these dispossessed Metis.[17] Racism toward Métis peoples in the west was prevalent during a large part of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

In 1982, Métis were included as a distinct indigenous people in the Canadian constitution. They are defined as an ethnic group with their own culture, distinct from First Nations and Inuit peoples. Métis peoples have formed a variety of political organizations to promote their interests, and lobby the federal government through their primary national political association, the Métis National Council (MNC).

In 2003, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in R v Powley that a family of Métis people in Ontario had the right to hunt moose as part of their Métis aboriginal rights. This case was funded by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), a provincial affiliate of the MNC. The case established that the Métis had a history in Ontario, which was long debated by many people. The case also established the "Powley test", which helps to define who is Métis, and therefore eligible to rights as an aboriginal person.[18][19] On April 14, 2016, the Supreme Court in Daniels v. Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development) reached a landmark decision, ruling that Métis and non-status Indians are "Indians" for the purpose of s 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867.[20][21]

The Medicine Line (Canada–U.S. Border)[edit]

The Métis homeland existed before the implementation of the Canada–U.S. border and continues to exist on both sides of this border today. The implementation of the border effected the Métis in a multitude of ways, with border enforcement growing from relaxed to increasingly stronger over time.[22] In the late 18th century, to early 19th century the Métis found that in times of conflict, they could cross the 49th parallel North in either direction and the trouble following them would stop, and so the border was known as the Medicine Line. This began to change toward the end of the 19th century when the border became more enforced, and the Canadian government saw an opportunity to put an end to the line hopping by using military force.[22] This effectively split some of the Métis population, and restricted the mobility of the People. The enforcement of the border was used as a means for governments on either side of the Medicine Line in the grand prairies to control the Métis population and to restrict their access to buffalo.[22] Because of the importance of kinship and mobility for Métis communities,[13] this had negative implications and resulted in different experiences and hardships for both groups.

Métis experience in the U.S. is largely coloured by unratified treaties and the lack of federal representation of Métis communities as a legitimate people, and this can be seen in the case of the Little Shell Tribe in Montana.[23] While experiences in Canada are also effected by the misrecognition of the Métis, many Métis were dispossessed of their lands when they were sold to settlers and some community set up Road Allowance villages. These small villages were squatter's villages along Crown land outside of established villages in the prairies of Canada.[24] These villages were often burned by local authorities and had to be rebuilt by surviving members of the communities that lived in them.

Political organizations and legislations[edit]

There are many political organizations formed to represent and advocate for different Métis communities. In Canada, there are local, provincial and federal organizations. There are limited Métis political organizations in the U.S., however, the Little Shell Tribe could be considered one.

Listed below are the most relevant Canadian Métis political organizations and some important bills and documents. To see a full list of Canadian Métis organizations, click here or see the link for the Métis Museum in the External Links section.

  • Métis National Council: a political organization that represents the Métis of Canada nationally and internationally. Started in 1983, it has the goal of creating space within the Canadian federation for the Métis nation.
  • Manitoba Métis Federation: created in 1967 during the annual meeting of the Indian and Métis Conference, during which the Métis present realised they would need their own governing body to have their demands heard at the table. The MMF represents several local level organizations (local councils).
  • Métis Nation of Alberta: an affiliate of the Métis national council that represents the Métis of Alberta.
  • Métis Nation of Ontario: formed in 1994, came about due to amendments made to the Indian Act from Bill C-31 which allowed Indigenous-identifying persons who had lost federal Indian status and the descendants of these individuals to reclaim status, creating a larger Métis population in Ontario.
  • Métis Nation - Saskatchewan: an affiliate of the Métis National Council, the MNS is a combination of the previous associations for Métis of northern Saskatchewan and of southern Saskatchewan. The MNS represents the Métis of Saskatchewan.
  • The Manitoba Act: the contentious sale of Rupert's Land by the Hudson's Bay Company to the Federation of Canada ignited a provisional government led by Louis Riel that challenged the agreement and resulted in the establishment of a Métis province: Manitoba. At the time a very small parcel of land, over what is today Winnipeg, many of the promises stated within the Act were short-lived or never delivered.[4]
  • Métis Act Saskatchewan: a 2002 proclamation that recognizes the Métis as a distinct people and credits their contributions to the province of Saskatchewan

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Andersen, C. (2011). Moya `Tipimsook (“The People Who Aren't Their Own Bosses”): Racialization and the Misrecognition of “Métis” in Upper Great Lakes Ethnohistory. Ethnohistory, 58(1), 37-63. doi:10.1215/00141801-2010-063
  • Andersen, C. (2014). More Than the Sum of Our Rebellions: Métis Histories Beyond Batoche. Ethnohistory, 61(4), 619-633. doi:10.1215/00141801-2717795
  • Barkwell, L. (n.d.). Metis Political Organizations. Retrieved from http://www.metismuseum.ca/media/db/11913
  • Flanagan, T. (1990). The History of Metis Aboriginal Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 5, 71-94. doi:10.1017/S0829320100001721
  • Hogue, M. (2002). Disputing the Medicine Line: The Plains Crees and the Canadian-American Border, 1876- 1885. Montana: The Magazine of Western History, 52(4), 2–17.
  • Sawchuck, J. (2001). Negotiating an Identity: Métis Political Organizations, the Canadian Government, and Competing Concepts of Aboriginality. American Indian Quarterly, 25(1), 73–92.
  • St-Onge, N., Macdougall, B., & Podruchny, C. (Eds.). (2012). Contours of a People: Metis   family, mobility, and history. Chapter 2, 22-58. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics (2013-05-08). "The Daily — 2011 National Household Survey: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit". www.statcan.gc.ca. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  2. ^ "The Daily — Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census". 2017-10-25.
  3. ^ Peterson, Jacqueline; Brown, Jennifer S. H. (2001) "Introduction". In The New Peoples: Being and Becoming Métis in North America, pp. 3–18. Minnesota Historical Society Press. ISBN 0873514084.
  4. ^ a b Rea, J.e., Scott, Jeff (April 6, 2017). "Manitoba Act". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Metis". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  6. ^ Robert, Paul (1973). Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française. Paris: Dictionnaire LE ROBERT. ISBN 978-2-321-00858-3.
  7. ^ "MÉTIS : Etymologie de MÉTIS" [Etymology of MÉTIS]. Ortolang (in French). Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  8. ^ James Alexander, Simone A. (2001). Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women. University of Missouri Press. pp. 14–5. ISBN 082626316X.
  9. ^ Jones, Hilary (2013). The Métis of Senegal: Urban Life and Politics in French West Africa. Indiana University Press. p. 296. ISBN 978-0253007056.
  10. ^ Lorcin, Patricia M. E. (2006). Algeria & France, 1800–2000: Identity, Memory, Nostalgia. Syracuse University Press. pp. 80–1. ISBN 0815630743.
  11. ^ Robson, Kathryn and Jennifer Yee (2005). France and "Indochina": Cultural Representations. Lexington Books. pp. 210–1. ISBN 0739108409.
  12. ^ Flanagan, Thomas E. (1990/ed). "The History of Metis* Aboriginal Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy". Canadian Journal of Law & Society / La Revue Canadienne Droit et Société. 5: 71–94. doi:10.1017/S0829320100001721. ISSN 1911-0227. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ a b Contours of a people : Metis family, mobility, and history. St-Onge, Nicole., Podruchny, Carolyn., Macdougall, Brenda, 1969-. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press. 2012. ISBN 978-0-8061-4279-1. OCLC 790269782.CS1 maint: others (link)
  14. ^ Andersen, Chris (2011-01-01). "Moya 'Tipimsook ("The People Who Aren't Their Own Bosses"): Racialization and the Misrecognition of "Métis" In Upper Great Lakes Ethnohistory". Ethnohistory. 58 (1): 37–63. doi:10.1215/00141801-2010-063. ISSN 0014-1801.
  15. ^ "Toward a Métis homeland". Canadian Geographic. Retrieved 16 October 2019.
  16. ^ Barkwell, Lawrence J. "Metis Rights and Land Claims in Canada": 45. Retrieved 5 November 2019 – via Scribd. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ Barkwell, Lawrence J. "Metis Scrip Images and Description": 8. Retrieved 5 November 2019 – via Scribd. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ R. v. Powley 2003 SCC 43
  19. ^ "Powley Case". The Canadian Encyclopedia. 3 December 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  20. ^ Lum, Fred (14 April 2016). "Métis, non-status Indians win Supreme Court battle over rights". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  21. ^ Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development) 2016 SCC 12
  22. ^ a b c Hogue, Michel (Winter 2002). "Disputing the Medicine Line: The Plains Crees and the Canadian-American Border, 1876- 1885". Montana: The Magazine of Western History. 52, 4 (4): 2–17. JSTOR 4520462.
  23. ^ Vrooman, Nicholas C. P. (Spring 2019). "The Persistence of the Little Shell People". Distinctly Montana Magazine: 67–69.
  24. ^ MacKinnon, Doris Jeanne (2018). Metis pioneers : Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed (First ed.). Edmonton, Alberta. ISBN 978-1-77212-271-8. OCLC 1023502659.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Andersen, C. (2011). Moya `Tipimsook (“The People Who Aren't Their Own Bosses”): Racialization and the Misrecognition of “Métis” in Upper Great Lakes Ethnohistory. Ethnohistory, 58(1), 37-63. doi:10.1215/00141801-2010-063
  • Barkwell, Lawrence. "Métis Rights and Land Claims in Canada" Accessed September 1, 2019, annotated Bibliography
  • Barkwell, Lawrence J.; Dorion, Leah; Hourie, Audreen (2006). "Métis Legacy Michif Culture, Heritage, and Folkways". Métis Legacy Series. 2. Saskatoon: Gabriel Dumont Institute. ISBN 0-920915-80-9.
  • Barkwell, Lawrence J.; Dorion, Leah; Prefontaine, Darren (2001). Métis Legacy: A Historiography and Annotated Bibliography. Winnipeg: Pemmican Publications Inc. and Saskatoon: Gabriel Dumont Institute. ISBN 1-894717-03-1.
  • Barkwell, L. (n.d.). Metis Political Organizations. Retrieved from http://www.metismuseum.ca/media/db/11913
  • Flanagan, T. (1990). The History of Metis Aboriginal Rights: Politics, Principle, and Policy. Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 5, 71-94. doi:10.1017/S0829320100001721
  • Hogue, M. (2002). Disputing the Medicine Line: The Plains Crees and the Canadian-American Border, 1876- 1885. Montana: The Magazine of Western History, 52(4), 2–17.
  • MacKinnon, D. J. (2018). Metis pioneers: Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed (First edition). Edmonton, Alberta: The University of Alberta Press.
  • Rea, J. e., & Scott, J. (2017, April 6). Manitoba Act. Retrieved November 29, 2019, from The Canadian Encyclopedia website: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/manitoba-act
  • Sawchuck, J. (2001). Negotiating an Identity: Métis Political Organizations, the Canadian Government, and Competing Concepts of Aboriginality. American Indian Quarterly, 25(1), 73–92.
  • St-Onge, N., Macdougall, B., & Podruchny, C. (Eds.). (2012). Contours of a People: Metis   family, mobility, and history. Chapter 2, 22-58. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com
  • Vrooman, N. (2019). There are a Range of Identities with Being Little Shell, Just As the Wider America. Distinctly Montana Magazine, pp 68-69. http://digital.distinctlymontana.com/i/1090885-distinctly-montana-spring-2019

External links[edit]

  • The Rupertsland Institute (Alberta) – A service dedicated to the research and development, education, and training and employment of Metis individuals. It is affiliated with the Metis Nations of Alberta. Along with providing financial aid, the Rupertsland Institute helps Metis individuals acquire essential skills for employment.
  • The Métis Museum - "Métis Political Organizations" compiled by Lawrence Barkwell.