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Vocation and Cultural Practices

This inter-connected Métis population shared a number of customs, traditions, and common vocations, including:

Fur Trade: Several Métis families participated in the fur trade prior to moving from Drummond Island to Penetanguishene in the early 1800s. The fur trade continued to be a key source of employment for Métis people into the 1860s.

Guides and Interpreters: Métis were employed as interpreters and guides for hunting expeditions and numerous government survey expeditions throughout Georgian Bay.

Surveying (Axemen and Chain-Bearers):Métis were employed by provincial surveyors throughout the Penetanguishene and Parry Sound regions.

Naval and Military Establishments: Métis were included on military paylists in Penetanguishene in various roles and positions.

Hunting and Fishing: Métis fishermen (including commercial fishermen) worked throughout the Georgian Bay region from early 1800s. Métis received fishing licenses in Georgian Bay through the 1920s and 1930s.

Dress: Outsiders visiting the area in 1830 described the “prevalent costume” of the “Canadian halfbreeds” as “ahandkerchief twisted around the head, a shirt and pair of trousers, with a gay sash...”

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