The Metis

What aspects of Metis culture are important to our history?

Today the importance of understanding aspects of the Metis culture are more broadly known and adopted.

The Metis Nation emerged from within the Metis Nation homeland during the seventeenth century as a result of the French and English fur trade. At the time, Canada would not exist as a country and the provincial government we know today in western Canada would not exist for another two hundred years. On July 1st, 1867 Canada became a country governing the newly created provinces of Ontario. When the provinces of Ontario went into the negotiations with the Hudson's Bay Company , the Metis were not consulted in the negotiations and the land surveyors had begun moving into the Red River area to alter the land divisions. The development of a unique Metis culture began to unfold.The Métis were not consulted in the negotiations, and land surveyors had begun moving into the Red River area to alter the land divisions from long strips designed by the Métis for their use into an American developed system of square plots designed for new settlers. The new development strategy was seen as a threat to Métis cultural, political, linguistic and religious rights resulting in the formation of a provisional Métis government being established in 1869 to negotiate a List of Rights with the federal government.The Métis have been an important part of Canadian history standing for cultural, political, religious and linguistic rights, demonstrating ingenuity creating political and social structures, technology and trade systems, as well as developing a unique presence in art, music, dance and storytelling.Until most recent times, most Métis spoke multiple languages and many were literate in French or English.Métis history and culture is steeped in laws and ethics that are designed to overcome challenges and give strength to persevere in the face of enormous adversary. The Métis are one of the three aboriginal populations in Canada as defined by the Canadian Constitution. They developed out of the land and history of the Canadian West and have lived in Canada for well over two centuries. Unique in Canada, many feel that they are examples of the first Canadians.