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Metis History

The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique history, culture, language and territory that includes the waterways of Ontario, surrounds the Great Lakes and spans what was known as the historic Northwest.

The Métis Nation is comprised of descendants of people born of relations between Indian women and European men. The initial offspring of these unions were of mixed ancestry. The genesis of a new Aboriginal people called the Métis resulted from the subsequent intermarriage of these mixed ancestry individuals.

Distinct Métis settlements emerged as an outgrowth of the fur trade, along freighting waterways and watersheds. In Ontario, these settlements were part of larger regional communities, interconnected by the highly mobile lifestyle of the Métis, the fur trade network, seasonal rounds, extensive kinship connections and a shared collective history and identity.

Historical Timeline


Fur trade begins in earnest leading to the introduction of Europeans into what is now Canada.


Royal Charter by the King of England establishes the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC).


Male employees and former employees without contract (freeman) of the fur trade companies begin to establish families with “Indian” women. Ethnogenesis of distinct Métis communities The Coat of Arms of the Hudson's Bay Company along the waterway and around the Great Lakes region of present day Ontario. Métis in these areas are no longer seen as and do not see themselves as extensions of their maternal (First Nations) or paternal (European) relations, and begin to identify as a separate group.


Battle of the Plains of Abraham established control by the British Crown to what becomes Canada, thus ending France’s claim to its territory.


Royal Proclamation formally sets out Crown's policy towards dealing with "Indian tribes" and approaches to land settlement.

1812 - The Coat of Arms of the Northwest Company

War primarily fought in the Great Lakes region sets in place what becomes the Canada-United States border. The Métis population forms the core foundation that establishes the site of present day Winnipeg. The HBC land grant to Lord Selkirk raises concern among the Métis and they are forced from their lands.

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