The Métis (/meɪˈtiː/) are members of ethnic groups native to Canada and parts of the United States that trace their descent to both indigenous North Americans and European settlers. Originally the term applied to French-speaking mixed-race families, especially in the Red River area of what became Manitoba, Canada; in the late 19th century in Canada, those of mixed English descent were classified separately as Mixed Bloods.[2]

Since the late 20th century, the Métis in Canada have been recognized as a distinct aboriginal people under the Constitution Act of 1982; they number 451,795 as of 2011.[1] Smaller communities self-identifying as Métis exist in the U.S.[3]

A Métis man and his two wives, circa 1825-1826
Total population
451,795[1] (2011, census)
 United Statesunknown
Michif, Nêhiyawêwin, Canadian French, English, Hand Talk, other Indigenous languages
Metis Blue
Metis Red


The word derives from the French adjective métis, also spelled metice, referring to a hybrid, or someone of mixed ancestry.[4][5]: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 (Quebec) and La Louisiane in North America; at the time, it applied generally to French-speaking people who were of partial ethnic French descent. (It is related to the Spanish term "Mestizo", which has the same meaning.)[4][6] It later came to be used for people of mixed European and indigenous backgrounds in other French colonies, including Guadeloupe in the Caribbean;[7] Senegal in West Africa;[8] Algeria in North Africa;[9] and the former French Indochina in Southeast Asia.[10]

In Latin America, a similar word is mestizo in Spanish-speaking countries, and in Portuguese-speaking countries, mestiço is also used. 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).

It has also been used to refer to people of mixed race born generally to indigenous women and French men in New France. The Métis in Canada married within their own group, and over time, created a distinct culture and ethnicity of their own. In former French colonies where slavery was part of society, a group known as gens du couleur libre (free people of color) developed from unions between African or mixed-race women and French male colonists. In New Orleans, the system of plaçage was well developed in the eighteenth century, in which women in these relationships received some protection by contracts, often negotiated by their mothers. Often the men freed the women, if they were enslaved, and their mixed-race children, if born into slavery. Property settlements were also part of the relationship, and the men sometimes provided for education of sons, sometimes in France.

Métis and Red River carts
Métis drivers and Red River carts

The term mestee was widely used in the antebellum United States for mixed-race individuals, according to Jack D. Forbes. It was used for people of European and Native American ancestry, as well as European and African, and for those who were tri-racial. In the 19th century and up until 1930, United States census takers recorded people of color as mulatto, also meaning mixed race.

After the American Civil War, the term "mestee" gradually fell into disuse when millions of slaves were emancipated as freedmen. As conservative whites in the South worked to re-establish white supremacy, they imposed Jim Crow laws after regaining control of state legislatures. In the early 20th century, they passed more stringent laws establishing the "one-drop rule". By this anyone with any known Sub-Saharan African ancestry was legally "Black", a more restrictive definition than had previously operated in the South, especially on the frontier. Scholar Jack D. Forbes has attempted to revive "mestee" as a term for the mixed-race peoples who were established as free before the Civil War.[11]

Worldwide, since the early 20th century the term Metis has been applied in various ways. Metisaje was used from the 1920s to the 1960s in some Latin American countries to indicate cultural hybridity, and at times to invoke a nationalist sentiment.[12] Cultural "Hybridity" theorists have used the term "métissage" to examine postcolonial themes, including Françoise Lionnet.[13] Creolité is a cultural and literary movement that has common threads with "métis" identity, and has been a counterpoint to the Négritude movement, although it has also been used to indicate "race and gender specific" themes as well.[14]

Métis people in Canada

History of Métis in Canada

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.

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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17]

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.[18][19]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "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 Metis", Alberta Settlement, last updated 05 January 2001
  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 "Metis". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Robert, Paul (1973). Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française. Paris: Dictionnaire LE ROBERT. ISBN 978-2-321-00858-3.
  6. ^ "MÉTIS : Etymologie de MÉTIS" [Etymology of MÉTIS]. Ortolang (in French). Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  7. ^ James Alexander, Simone A. (2001). Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women. University of Missouri Press. pp. 14–5. ISBN 082626316X.
  8. ^ Jones, Hilary (2013). The Métis of Senegal: Urban Life and Politics in French West Africa. Indiana University Press. p. 296. ISBN 0253007054.
  9. ^ Lorcin, Patricia M. E. (2006). Algeria & France, 1800–2000: Identity, Memory, Nostalgia. Syracuse University Press. pp. 80–1. ISBN 0815630743.
  10. ^ Robson, Kathryn and Jennifer Yee (2005). France and "Indochina": Cultural Representations. Lexington Books. pp. 210–1. ISBN 0739108409.
  11. ^ Forbes, Jack (1993). Africans and Native Americans: The Language of Race and the Evolution of Red-Black Peoples. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-06321-3.
  12. ^ Acheraïou, A (2011). Questioning Hybridity, Postcolonialism and Globalization. Springer. pp. 139–40. ISBN 0230305245.
  13. ^ "Hybridity in Contemporary Postcolonial Theory" (PDF). State University of New York Press, Albany, 2007. Retrieved July 17, 2017.
  14. ^ James Alexander, Simone A. (2001). Mother Imagery in the Novels of Afro-Caribbean Women. University of Missouri Press. pp. 15–6. ISBN 082626316X.
  15. ^ https://www.scribd.com/doc/18197649/Metis-Rights-and-Land-Claims-in-Canada
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ R. v. Powley 2003 SCC 43
  18. ^ "Métis, non-status Indians win Supreme Court battle over rights". Retrieved 19 April 2018 – via The Globe and Mail.
  19. ^ Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development) 2016 SCC 12


  • Barkwell, Lawrence. "Metis Rights and Land Claims in Canada". https://www.scribd.com/doc/18197649/Metis-Rights-and-Land-Claims-in-Canada. Accessed October 13, 2018.
  • 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.

External links

  • 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.
Aboriginal English in Canada

Indigenous English, also known as First Nations English, refers to varieties of English used by the Indigenous peoples of Canada. They are outwardly similar to standard Canadian English from the perspective of a non-Canadian. However, they differ enough from mainstream Canadian speech that Indigenous peoples (the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) are often identifiable by their speech to non-Indigenous people. This is primarily the result of the influence of non-English accents derived from Indigenous languages combined with a history of geographical and social isolation, since many Aboriginal people live (or formerly lived) in remote communities, in the North, or on Indian reserves.

Some analyses have concluded that contemporary Indigenous Canadian English may represent the late stages of a decreolization process, among peoples who historically spoke more creolized or pidginized forms of English. Since the 1990s, Indigenous Englishes have also adopted many features of African American Vernacular English under the influence of hip-hop music which is very popular with urban Indigenous youth.

The use of these "non-standard" dialects is not well perceived by the non-Aboriginal majority, evidenced by mockery and discrimination. Some features of the dialects, for example, may have led aboriginal children to be wrongly diagnosed as having a speech impairment or a learning disability. Academics have begun to recommend that Canadian schools accept Indigenous varieties of English as valid English, and as a part of Indigenous culture.Few written works appear in Indigenous English dialects; an exception is Maria Campbell's Stories of the Road Allowance People, a collection of Métis folktales. An example from that work illustrates the type of speech used by Elders in rural Métis communities during her research (thought some stories were collected in Cree or other languages, and translated into dialectical English by Campbell):

Dere wasen very much he can steal from dah table anyways'cept da knives and forks.

An Margareet he knowed he wouldn dare take dem

cause dat woman you know

hees gots a hell of a repetation for being a hardheaded woman

when he gets mad.

Dat man he have to be a damn fool to steal from hees table. - Dah Teef

Bungi Creole

Bungi (also Bungee, Bungie, Bungay, or the Red River Dialect) is a creole language of Scottish English, the Orcadian dialect of Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Cree, and Ojibwe. It is spoken by the Red River Métis in present-day Manitoba, Canada.

Bungi has been categorized as a post-creole, with the distinctive features of the language gradually abandoned by successive generations of speakers in favour of standard Canadian English. Today, the creole mostly survives in the speech of a few elders, and the use of non-standard pronunciations and terminology by a wider population.


The Cree (Cree: Néhinaw, Néhiyaw, etc; French: Cri) are one of the largest groups of First Nations in North America.

In Canada, over 350,000 people are Cree or have Cree ancestry. The major proportion of Cree in Canada live north and west of Lake Superior, in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. About 27,000 live in Quebec.In the United States, Cree people historically lived from Lake Superior westward. Today, they live mostly in Montana, where they share the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation with Ojibwe (Chippewa) people.The documented westward migration over time has been strongly associated with their roles as traders and hunters in the North American fur trade.

First Nations

In Canada, the First Nations (French: Premières Nations) are the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit. The Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations primarily between First Nations people and Europeans. There are 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.Under the Employment Equity Act, First Nations are a "designated group", along with women, visible minorities, and people with physical or mental disabilities. First Nations are not defined as a visible minority under the Act or by the criteria of Statistics Canada.North American indigenous peoples have cultures spanning thousands of years. Some of their oral traditions accurately describe historical events, such as the Cascadia earthquake of 1700 and the 18th-century Tseax Cone eruption. Written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery, beginning in the late 15th century. European accounts by trappers, traders, explorers, and missionaries give important evidence of early contact culture. In addition, archeological and anthropological research, as well as linguistics, have helped scholars piece together an understanding of ancient cultures and historic peoples.

Although not without conflict, Euro-Canadians' early interactions with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit populations were less combative compared to the often violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States.

Gabriel Dumont Institute

The Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research Inc. (GDI) was formally incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1980, to serve the educational and cultural needs of the Saskatchewan Métis and Non-Status Indian community. The Institute is designated as the official education arm of the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan (MN-S). GDI offers a variety of accredited educational, vocational, and skills training opportunities for the province's Métis in partnership with the University of Regina, the University of Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology, the province's various regional colleges, and Service Canada.

Indigenous peoples in Canada

Indigenous peoples in Canada, also known as Aboriginal Canadians (French: Canadiens Autochtones), are the indigenous peoples within the boundaries of Canada. They comprise the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Although "Indian" is a term still commonly used in legal documents, the descriptors "Indian" and "Eskimo" have somewhat fallen into disuse in Canada and some consider them to be pejorative. Similarly, "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act, 1982, though in some circles that word is also falling into disfavour.Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are some of the earliest known sites of human habitation in Canada. The Paleo-Indian Clovis, Plano and Pre-Dorset cultures pre-date current indigenous peoples of the Americas. Projectile point tools, spears, pottery, bangles, chisels and scrapers mark archaeological sites, thus distinguishing cultural periods, traditions and lithic reduction styles.

The characteristics of Canadian Aboriginal culture included permanent settlements, agriculture, civic and ceremonial architecture, complex societal hierarchies and trading networks. The Métis culture of mixed blood originated in the mid-17th century when First Nation and Inuit people married Europeans. The Inuit had more limited interaction with European settlers during that early period. Various laws, treaties, and legislation have been enacted between European immigrants and First Nations across Canada. Aboriginal Right to Self-Government provides opportunity to manage historical, cultural, political, health care and economic control aspects within first people's communities.

As of the 2016 census, Aboriginal peoples in Canada totalled 1,673,785 people, or 4.9% of the national population, with 977,230 First Nations people, 587,545 Métis and 65,025 Inuit. 7.7% of the population under the age of 14 are of Aboriginal descent. There are over 600 recognized First Nations governments or bands with distinctive cultures, languages, art, and music. National Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes the cultures and contributions of Aboriginal peoples to the history of Canada. First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of all backgrounds have become prominent figures and have served as role models in the Aboriginal community and help to shape the Canadian cultural identity.

Louis Riel

Louis David Riel (; French: [lwi ʁjɛl]; 22 October 1844 – 16 November 1885) was a Canadian politician, a founder of the province of Manitoba, and a political leader of the Métis people of the Canadian Prairies. He led two rebellions against the government of Canada and its first post-Confederation prime minister, John A. Macdonald. Riel sought to preserve Métis rights and culture as their homelands in the Northwest came progressively under the Canadian sphere of influence. Over the decades, he has been made a folk hero by Francophones, Catholic nationalists, native rights activists, and the New Left student movement. Arguably, Riel has received more scholarly attention than any other figure in Canadian history.The first resistance led by Riel became known as the Red River Rebellion of 1869–1870. The provisional government established by Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which the modern province of Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation. Riel ordered the execution of Thomas Scott, and fled to the United States to escape prosecution. Despite this, he is frequently referred to as the "Father of Manitoba". While a fugitive, he was elected three times to the House of Commons of Canada, although he never assumed his seat. During these years, he was frustrated by having to remain in exile despite his growing belief that he was a divinely chosen leader and prophet, a belief which would later resurface and influence his actions. Because of this new religious conviction, Catholic leaders who had supported him before increasingly repudiated him. He married in 1881 while in exile in Montana in the United States; he fathered three children.

In 1884 Riel was called upon by the Métis leaders in Saskatchewan to articulate their grievances to the Canadian government. Instead he organized a military resistance that escalated into a military confrontation, the North-West Rebellion of 1885. Ottawa used the new rail lines to send in thousands of combat soldiers. It ended in his arrest and conviction for high treason. Despite protests and popular appeals, Prime Minister Macdonald rejected calls for clemency, and Riel was executed by hanging. Riel was seen as a heroic victim by French Canadians; his execution had a lasting negative impact on Canada, polarizing the new nation along ethno-religious lines. Although only a few hundred people were directly affected by the Rebellion in Saskatchewan, the long-term result was that the Prairie provinces would be controlled by the Anglophones, not the Francophones. An even more important long-term impact was the bitter alienation Francophones across Canada felt, and anger against the repression by their countrymen.Riel's historical reputation has long been polarized between portrayals as a dangerous half-insane religious fanatic and rebel against the Canadian nation, or by contrast a heroic rebel who fought to protect his Francophone people from the unfair encroachments of an Anglophone national government. He is increasingly celebrated as a proponent of multiculturalism, although that downplays his primary commitment to Métis nationalism and political independence.

Manitoba Act

The Manitoba Act (French: Loi sur le Manitoba), or simply the Act, is an act of the Parliament of Canada that is defined by the Constitution Act, 1982 as forming a part of the Constitution of Canada. The Manitoba Act received royal assent on May 12, 1870. It created the province of Manitoba and continued to enforce An Act for the Temporary Government of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territories when united with Canada upon the absorption of the British territories of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory into Canada on July 15, 1870. The Manitoba Act was created by the Parliament of Canada in response to the Métis' concerns about the provisional government. The Manitoba Act was created with hopes to decrease tension between the Canadian Parliament and the Red River Métis. Many negotiations and uprisings came with this Act, some of which are still not settled today.


Mestizo (; Spanish: [mesˈti(θ/s)o]) is a term traditionally used in Spain, Latin America and the Philippines that originally referred to a person of combined European and Indigenous American descent, regardless of where the person was born. The term was used as an ethnic/racial category in the casta system that was in use during the Spanish Empire's control of its American and Asian colonies. Nowadays though, particularly in Spanish America, mestizo has become more of a cultural term, with culturally mainstream Latin Americans regarded or termed as mestizos regardless of their actual ancestry and with the term Indian being reserved exclusively for people who have maintained a separate indigenous ethnic identity, language, tribal affiliation, etc. Consequently, today, the vast majority of Spanish-speaking Latin Americans are regarded as mestizos.The term mestizaje – taking as its root mestizo or mixed – is the Spanish word for miscegenation, the general process of mixing ancestries.

To avoid confusion with the original usage of the term mestizo, mixed people started to be referred to collectively as castas. In some Latin American countries, such as Mexico, the concept of the mestizo became central to the formation of a new independent identity that was neither wholly Spanish nor wholly indigenous, and the word mestizo acquired its current meaning, it being used by the government to refer to all Mexicans who do not speak indigenous languages, including people of complete European or indigenous descent as well as Asians and Africans.In colonial Venezuela, pardo was more commonly used instead of mestizo. Pardo means being mixed without specifying which mixture; it was used to describe anyone born in the Americas whose ancestry was a mixture of European, Amerindian and black African.In the Spanish system of racial hierarchy, the sistema de castas, mestizos/pardos, who formed the majority, had fewer rights than the minority elite European-born persons called peninsulares, and the minority white colonial-born whites criollo, but more rights than the now-minority indio, negro, mulato and zambo populations.

The Portuguese cognate, mestiço, historically referred to any mixture of Portuguese and local populations in the Portuguese colonies. In colonial Brazil most of the non-slave population was initially mestiço de indio, i.e. mixed white and native Brazilian. There was no descent-based casta system, and children of upper class white landlord males and female slaves would enjoy privileges higher than the ones given to the lower classes, such as formal education, though such cases were not so common and they tended to not inherit property, generally given to the children of free women, who tended to be legitimate offspring in cases of concubinage (also a common practice, inherited from Amerindian and African customs). In Portuguese India also, the mixed population was known as mestiços and the local Indian Christians as indiacatos.

In the Philippines, which was a colony of Spain, the term mestizo came to refer to a Filipino with any foreign ancestry, especially white, and usually shortened as Tisoy.

In Indonesia, the term mestizo refers to ethnicity which is a mixture of Europeans and native Indonesians. They are called as Indo people.

In Canada, the Métis people is a distinct community composed of the descendants of Europeans (usually French, sometimes Scottish or English) involved in the fur trade and North American Indigenous peoples of what is now Western Canada.

In Saint Barthélemy, the term mestizo refers to people of mixed European (usually French) and East Asian ancestry.

Metis in the United States

The Métis in the United States are a specific culture and community of people descended from unions between Native American and early European colonist parents - usually Indigenous women who married French (and later Scottish) men who worked as fur trappers and traders during the 18th and 19th centuries at the height of the fur trade. They developed as an ethnic and cultural group from the descendants of these unions. The women were usually Algonquian and Cree. Although some were Cherokee.

In the French colonies, people of mixed indigenous and French ancestry were referred to by those who spoke French as métis, as it means "mixture". Being bilingual, these people were able to trade European goods, such as muskets, for the furs and hides at a trading post. These métis were found from the Atlantic Coast, especially in the Southeast, through the Great Lakes area and to the Rocky Mountains. While the word in this usage originally had no ethnic designation (and was not capitalized in English), it grew to become an ethnicity in the nineteenth century. This use (of simply meaning "mixed") excludes mixed-race people born of unions in other settings or more recently than about 1870.

The Métis in the U.S. are fewer in number than the neighboring Métis in Canada. During the early colonial era, the border did not exist between Canada and the British colonies, and people moved easily moved back and forth through the area. While the two communities come from the same origins, the Canadian Métis have developed further as an ethnic group than in the U.S.

As of 2018, Métis people were living in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana.


Michif (also Mitchif, Mechif, Michif-Cree, Métif, Métchif, French Cree) is the language of the Métis people of Canada and the United States, who are the descendants of First Nations women (mainly Cree, Nakota, and Ojibwe) and fur trade workers of European ancestry (mainly French and Scottish Canadians). Currently, Michif is spoken in scattered Métis communities in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Canada and in North Dakota in the U.S., with about 50 speakers in Alberta, all over age 60. There are some 230 speakers of Michif in the United States (down from 390 at the 1990 census ), most of whom live in North Dakota, particularly in the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. There are around 300 Michif speakers in the Northwest Territories, northern Canada. Michif emerged in the early 19th century as a mixed language (not to be confused with a creole), and adopted a consistent character between about 1820 and 1840.

Michif combines Cree and Métis French (Rhodes 1977, Bakker 1997:85), a variety of Canadian French, with some additional borrowing from English and indigenous languages of the Americas such as Ojibwe and Assiniboine. In general, Michif noun phrase phonology, lexicon, morphology, and syntax are derived from Métis French, while verb phrase phonology, lexicon, morphology, and syntax are from a southern variety of Plains Cree. (Plains Cree is a western dialect of Cree.) Articles and adjectives are also of Métis French origin but demonstratives are from Plains Cree.

The Michif language was first brought to scholarly attention in 1976 by John Crawford at the University of North Dakota. Much of the subsequent research on Michif was also related to UND, including four more pieces by Crawford, plus work by Evans, Rhodes, and Weaver.

The Michif language is unusual (and possibly even unique) among mixed languages, in that rather than forming a simplified grammar, it developed by incorporating complex elements of the chief languages from which it was born. French-origin noun phrases retain lexical gender and adjective agreement; Cree-origin verbs retain much of their polysynthetic structure. This suggests that instead of haltingly using words from another's tongue, the people who gradually came to speak Michif were fully fluent in both French and Cree.

The number of speakers is estimated at fewer than 1,000; it was probably double or triple this number at the close of the 19th century, but never much higher.

Métis French

Métis French (French: français métis), along with Michif and Bungi, is one of the traditional languages of the Métis people, and the French-dialect source of Michif.

Métis in Alberta

Métis in Alberta are Métis people, descendants of mixed First Nations/native Indian and white/European families, who live in the Canadian province of Alberta. The Métis are considered an aboriginal group under Canada's Constitution Act 1982 and make up a separate and distinct from the First Nations (though they live in the same regions and have cultural similarities), and have different legal rights. In Alberta, unlike in the rest of Canada, Métis people have negotiated certain lands to be reserved for them, known today as the Eight Metis Settlements (Metis Betterment Act 1938). These Metis Settlements Federated in 1975 to protect existing Metis Settlement lands following the Alberta Governments dissolution, by Order-In-Council of four Metis Settlements from 1950-1960. Following legal challenges by the Federation of Metis Settlements in 1975 for the lose of natural resource against Alberta, the Crown in Right of Alberta settled out of court for a suite of legislation that would see self-government, land, and money transferred to the newly formed government of the Metis Settlements General Council (MSGC), Canada’s only Metis self-govenernment. The Metis Settlements General Council is the legislator of the Federation of Metis Settlements. MSGC is the second largest land owner in the Province of Alberta.

Métis in Canada

The Métis in Canada (; Canadian French: [meˈt͡sɪs]; European French: [meˈtis]; Michif: [mɪˈtʃɪf]) are specific cultural communities who trace their descent to First Nations and European settlers, primarily the French, in the early decades of colonisation. These Métis peoples are recognized as one of Canada's aboriginal peoples under the Constitution Act of 1982, along with First Nations and Inuit peoples. As of 2016, they number over 587,545 individuals. Canadian Métis represent the majority of people that identify as Métis, although there are a number of Métis in the United States.

While the Métis initially developed as the mixed-race descendants of early unions between First Nations and colonial-era European settlers (usually Indigenous women and French settler men), within generations (particularly in central and western Canada), a distinct Métis culture developed. The women in the unions in eastern Canada were usually Wabanaki, Algonquin, and Menominee; and in western Canada they were Saulteaux, Cree, Ojibwe, Nakoda, and Dakota/Lakota, or of mixed descent from these peoples. Their unions with European men engaged in the fur trade in the Old Northwest were often of the type known as Marriage à la façon du pays ("according to the custom of the country").After New France was ceded to Great Britain's control in 1763, there was an important distinction between French Métis born of francophone voyageur fathers, and the Anglo-Métis (known as "countryborn" or Mixed Bloods, for instance in the 1870 census of Manitoba) descended from English or Scottish fathers. Today these two cultures have essentially coalesced into location-specific Métis traditions. This does not preclude a range of other Métis cultural expressions across North America. Such polyethnic people were historically referred to by other terms, many of which are now considered to be offensive, such as Mixed-bloods, Half-breeds, Bois-Brûlés, Bungi, Black Scots, and Jackatars. The contemporary Métis in Canada are a specific Indigenous people; the term does not apply to every person of "mixed" heritage or ancestry.While people of Métis culture or heritage are found across Canada, the traditional Métis "homeland" (areas where Métis populations and culture developed as a distinct ethnicity historically) includes much of the Canadian Prairies. The most commonly known group are the "Red River Métis", centring on southern and central parts of Manitoba along the Red River of the North.

Closely related are the Métis in the United States, primarily those in border areas such as northern Michigan, the Red River Valley, and eastern Montana. These were areas in which there was considerable Aboriginal and European mixing due to the 19th-century fur trade. But they do not have a federally recognized status in the United States, except as enrolled members of federally recognized tribes. Although Métis existed further west than today's Manitoba, much less is known about the Métis of Northern Canada.

North-West Rebellion

The North-West Rebellion (or the North-West Resistance, Saskatchewan Rebellion, Northwest Uprising, or Second Riel Rebellion) of 1885 was a brief and unsuccessful uprising by the Métis people under Louis Riel and an associated uprising by First Nations Cree and Assiniboine of the District of Saskatchewan against the government of Canada. Many Métis felt Canada was not protecting their rights, their land and their survival as a distinct people. Riel had been invited to lead the movement of protest. He turned it into a military action with a heavily religious tone. This alienated Catholic clergy, whites, most Indigenous tribes and some Métis. But he had the allegiance of a couple hundred armed Métis, a smaller number of other Indigenous warriors and at least one white man at Batoche in May 1885, confronting 900 Canadian militia plus some armed local residents. About 91 people would die in the fighting that occurred that spring, before the rebellion's collapse.Despite some notable early victories at Duck Lake, Fish Creek and Cut Knife, the rebellion ended when the Métis were defeated at the Siege of Batoche. The remaining Aboriginal allies scattered. Riel was captured and put on trial. He was convicted of treason and despite many pleas across Canada for amnesty, he was hanged. Riel became a heroic martyr to Francophone Canada, and ethnic tensions escalated into a major national division whose repercussions continue to be felt. Due to the key role that the Canadian Pacific Railway played in transporting troops, Conservative political support for it increased and Parliament authorized funds to complete the country's first transcontinental railway. Although only a few hundred people were directly affected in Saskatchewan, the rebellion's lack of success contributed to the eventual assurance that the Prairie Provinces would be controlled by English speakers with a very limited francophone presence, and to the alienation French speakers across Canada who were embittered by the repression of their countrymen.

Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement

Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement is a Metis settlement in northern Alberta, Canada adjacent to the County of Northern Lights and Mackenzie County. It is located along the Mackenzie Highway (Highway 35), approximately 72 km (45 mi) south of the Town of High Level. Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement is 1 of 8 Metis Settlements in the Province of Alberta and is the largest of the 8. The community is rich in timber, natural resources and agricultural land. The community is also leading the way in the construction of solar power generating units to power several of its community buildings.

Red River Rebellion

The Red River Rebellion (or the Red River Resistance, Red River uprising, or First Riel Rebellion) was the sequence of events that led up to the 1869 establishment of a provisional government by the Métis leader Louis Riel and his followers at the Red River Colony, in what is now the Canadian province of Manitoba. For a period it had been a territory called Rupert's Land under control of the Hudson's Bay Company.

The Resistance was the first crisis the new federal government faced following Canadian Confederation in 1867. The Canadian government had bought Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1869 and appointed an English-speaking governor, William McDougall. He was opposed by the French-speaking, mostly Métis inhabitants of the settlement. Before the land was officially transferred to Canada, McDougall sent out surveyors to plot the land according to the square township system used in Ontario. The Métis, led by Riel, prevented McDougall from entering the territory. McDougall declared that the Hudson's Bay Company was no longer in control of the territory and that Canada had asked for the transfer of sovereignty to be postponed. The Métis created a provisional government, to which they invited an equal number of Anglophone representatives. Riel negotiated directly with the Canadian government to establish Manitoba as a province.

Meanwhile, Riel's men arrested members of a pro-Canadian faction who had resisted the provisional government. They included an Orangeman named Thomas Scott. Riel's government tried and convicted Scott, and executed him for threatening to murder Louis Riel. Canada and the Assiniboia provisional government soon negotiated an agreement. In 1870, the national legislature passed the Manitoba Act, allowing the Red River Colony to enter Confederation as the province of Manitoba. The Act also incorporated some of Riel's demands, such as the provision of separate French schools for Métis children and protection for the practice of Catholicism.

After reaching an agreement, Canada sent a military expedition to Manitoba to enforce federal authority. Now known as the Wolseley Expedition (or Red River Expedition), it consisted of Canadian militia and British regular soldiers led by Colonel Garnet Wolseley. Outrage grew in Ontario over Scott's execution, and many eastern folks demanded that Wolseley's expedition arrest Riel for murder and suppress what they considered to be rebellion. Riel peacefully withdrew from Fort Garry the day the troops arrived. Warned by many that the soldiers would harm him, and denied amnesty for his political leadership of the rebellion, Riel fled to the United States. The arrival of troops marked the end of the Rebellion.

St. Paul, Alberta

St. Paul, originally known as St-Paul-de-Métis or St-Paul-des-Métis, is a town in east-central Alberta, Canada, within the County of St. Paul No. 19. It was known as St. Paul de(s) Métis between 1912 and 1936.

See also
Towns and
War and peace

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