One of the most contentious issues in Canada’s history is that of the Metis. Some people feel this unique group of people does not deserve any sort of recognition, whereas others believe their unique history and culture is something to be recognized and cherished. The history of the Metis people is filled with struggle; not only struggles against other powers, but also a struggle for self-identification. Despite strong opposition, the Metis people of Canada have matured as a political force and have taken great strides towards being recognized as a unique people.
The word Metis is a French word that means: “mixed race”. Today it is often used for anyone who has European – Indian heritage, but when the colonies of Canada were being formed Metis had a specific meaning. The roots for this hybrid race came from French – Indian ancestry. It did not matter how much of each you had in you, as long as there was some of each. At the time, the Metis seemed to be superior in comparison to the individual Indian or Frenchman, because they appeared to possess certain marks of superiority over both parent types or strains . This meant they had all of the good characteristics from each group and left the bad ones behind.
The history of the Metis started with the European colonization of North America. With the arrival of the West European powers, fraternization and trade began between the European settlers and the many First Nations peoples throughout Canada. The French were the first foreign power to realize the potential benefits of allying with the First Nations peoples. Consequently, the French explorer, Samuel de Champlain, proposed a union of the French and First Nations . Champlain’s, and therefore France’s, goal was to create a mixed-blood race to populate the continent and form a new, thriving colony for France . The offspring of these unions did not live the life Champlain envisioned; instead they often lived exclusively with one group or another. It was not until the years when fur trading became a lucrative, thriving business that children of mixed descent began to realize their own unique place in the world.
When these times arose, these children were the envy of most because they were not only bilingual and bicultural , but they also knew the lifestyles of both the white man and the Indian. The...
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...n hundreds of years ago. The injustices of the past have left their mark, but just as in the past, the spirit of the people will enable them to prevail against difficult odds until they finally receive their due.
1) Adams, Howard. Prison Of Grass, (Saskatoon: Fifth house Publishers, 1975)
2) Corrigan, Samuel. The Struggle For Recognition, (Winnipeg: Pemican Publications, 412 McGregor St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 1991)
3) Daniels, Harry W. We Are The New Nation, (Ottawa: Native Council Of Canada, Ontario, K1P 5L6, 1979)
4) Eccles, W.J. Essays On New France, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)
5) Lussier, Antoine S. The Other Natives, (Winnipeg: Manitoba Metis Federation Press, 300-275 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 2B3, 1975)
6) MacEWAN, Grant. Metis Makers Of History, Saskatoon: Western Prarie Books, Saskatchewan, 1981)
7) Maguet, Elizabeth. Hold High Your Heads, (Winnipeg: Pemican Publications, 412 McGregor St., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 1992)
8) Sealey Bruce D. The Metis: Canada’s Forgotten People, (Winnipeg: Manitoba Metis Federation Press, 300-275 Portage Ave, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 2B3, 1975)
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