Traditionally, the Métis were hunters. Every aspect of their lifestyle was dependent on the buffalo hunt. They needed buffalo to survive.The lifestyle of the Métis revolved around the Plains buffalo. However, when the skilled Métis hunters were not on a buffalo hunt, they spent time hunting other animals for food. They hunted:
Prairie bush rabbit
Wild birds - prairie chicken, sage grouse, duck, geese
Métis communities were established along the major fur trade routes, mostly near the important freighting waterways.
The Métis lived in:
The first Métis communities appeared in Ontario, particularly around the Great Lakes, and Eastern Canada. As the fur trade moved west, so did the French-Canadian fur traders. Métis settlements were located as far west as British Columbia, and as far north as the Mackenzie River in the Northwest Territories.Rivers were important for transportation during the fur trade. The French-Canadian voyageurs who traveled along the rivers, set up settlements, got married and had children, giving rise to new Métis communities. The Hayes River in Manitoba was used a principle fur trade route. Lakes were also used as important routes for the fur trade. Therefore, many Métis communities were established near the Great Lakes, and many Western Canadian lakes. The Red River in Manitoba was used as a principal route during the western fur trade. Therefore, it played a critical role in the establishment of the Métis Nation. Many French-Canadian voyageurs made camp along the banks of the Red River. It was there that many voyageurs fell in love with local Native women and had children: the Métis. Winters were cold and deep snow fell in the Red River area. Métis communities along the Red River became known as the ‘Red River Settlement. Most Métis communities were located in two Canadian Prairie Provinces: Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Southern portions of Manitoba and Saskatchewan were completely flat, but rich soil made the area conducive to farming. The fairies were known as ‘Big Sky’ country, because of the flat landscape and appearance of an endless horizon. Winters in the Canadian Prairies were harsh. The temperatures were regularly below freezing and deep snow blanketed the area. The Métis were forced to adapt to the shorter growing season and the cold weather during the winter months.