Is there an earliest date for Metis?

+9 votes
I have become accustomed to the documentation conventions of my colonial New England ancestry; but I am finding a different world as I trace some of my brick walls into Atlantic Canada.  My introduction was through coastal traders who appear to have lived aboard their ships traveling between a few major seaports where they obtained food and manufactured goods and smaller coastal outports where they obtained furs, fish, and wood products.  The outport end of this trade originated a century earlier than establishment of the permanent settlements emphasized in traditional history courses.  The earliest trade routes from these outports were to Europe until seaports like Port Royal and Boston became freight transfer points from larger ocean-crossing ships to the smaller ships crewed by people who knew how to navigate the dramatic tides and currents of these shallow outport bays and estuaries.

These outports were First Nations territories for a century before they were considered colonies of European monarchs and many functionally remained First Nations territory through the French and Indian wars.  Are the Europeans who lived in these outports prior to colonial designation considered Metis?  How about the Acadians who chose to live among their First Nations allies to avoid the Acadian expulsion?
WikiTree profile: Matthew LeTourneur
in Genealogy Help by AL Wellman G2G6 (8.5k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I don't know the answer to your question, but I thank you for your post because it was very interesting to read, and reminded me about the complexity of colonial/native history.  I am now interested to know more about the trade routes.

I've thought about this too, Al. I'm no expert, but I have explored similar questions for my own heritage, and I can offer a few thoughts to consider.

I understand that the Métis are an indigenous people. The nation includes individuals of mixed race, but a mixed race individual is not necessarily Métis. I understand that belonging to an indigenous community and being accepted as one of their people was and is an essential component - its not a government decision, or even a scientific one.

In my view, an Acadian who lived among the Mi'kmaq remained an Acadian.  If there were mixed-race children, then they were simply mixed-race.  Just like any other mixed-race child, one could identify with and integrate into one or the other of their parents' communities. Some may have been confused, in which case their children would have each made their own identity decisions. 

Please do not confuse the Métis Nation and métis, Métis Nation is much more recent and is political in nature.  Obviously, they group Métis people.

Interesting watching people decide for The Metis Nation (and Metis people) what is what (validation).

I can tell you, as a Metis person, that we have always had traditions, there are just many Canadians who never acknowledged such- even though they heard about the traditions. The Metis Nation is not a 'new thing', nor is it just political in nature... We have long standing history, and we knew our Metis history- not all, of course, because it was never taught in schools, and it there were many attempts to erase and dismiss that heritage.

Metis, when I was growing up, was what we were. We celebrated food, went to Batoche (Sask.) to see the shot up church (constantly!)/ Metis 'museum', we heard frightening things about what our ancestors went through (because of who they were, and the rights they tried to fight for), and we had large (I mean really large) family gatherings. I also have a photograph of my 3xG-Grandfather (sitting beside my 3xG-Grandmother) wearing his Metis sash... The photograph is from 1860-ish. 

Perhaps, the best thing to do would to be to ask someone (who grew up Metis) what it was like for them (especially in regards to what school taught us about 'The rebellion', whilst hearing, and seeing, different history from our families). Ask people about the "AIM" (Adopt Indian Métis) program, which was still going on in the 80's! (and how we were threatened with it)- this was not just Saskatchewan based. Go to the Glenbow Museum and ask to see the Metis files. There has been a lot of ignorance about The Metis, and, though it may seem 'new' to you- I can tell you that it is only [new to you] because The Metis have been dismissed for a very long time (though they always kept trying to educate people, while being treated most disrespectfully). It's only 'new' to people because the Government, and society, suppressed it for so very long.

*edited to add info about AIM

hi Anonymous, my point was that the term Métis is not restricted to those in the West.  Métis have been around long before Europeans went that far West, we can identify many in Acadie in the 1600s.  But Métis were not considered a ''nation'' until they took action to become recognized, Louis Riel being among the most prominent to do so.  One of my remote cousins who got the rawest deal.

Thank you for sharing M. I'm glad to hear your voice. 

It seems to me that this could be a good time to look for a way for WikiTree to reflect the Métis people as you know them, and as Danielle describes.  

Currently, the information on WikiTree is grouped together into one category, which seems to be contributing to uncertainty and disagreements.  I am wondering if there is a respectful way to make a distinction historically and/or geographically in the structure we are using that would leave space for the appropriate use of each definition of the term Métis.   

I intend to take this discussion offline within the Canada Project, but I welcome any constructive suggestions or solutions that others may like to share. 

Samuel de Champlain spent the winter of 1615–1616 among the Hurons, observing and recording the details of their everyday lives. Champlain’s attitude towards Aboriginal people was relatively enlightened for his time. Although forbiden, he proposed French-Native intermarriage so that the two races could become “one people.” The French Court agreed with Champlain and young French men were sent to live among the Natives. There term Métissage was used and the result was the beginning of a Métis population. This is well documented in history books as well as his journals. 

3 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
The Metis started to develop as families during fur-trader/trapper eras of the 17 & 1800's. According the National Metis (Council) Saskatchawan established the Metis in 1885, but the Revolt time period of Louis Riel and the Red-River Metis was before this with the Provincial Government of Riel and the Metis in 1869-1870.  The orginal Scip Records of these Metis of early times and their ancestors are found within their Scrip Records in Canada (Library and Archives Canada) many ways to search.

I've done a basic Scrip Search for you here

If you go to top to "Show Search Form" click on it, then type in last name and word Scrip... ie: Bourassa Scrip  no comma etc  add first name if you find too many results.  Another way is to search using   things like Bourassa Marriage  or  Francois Bourassa Indian or Bourassa Sauvages  or Fur-trader or Trapper etc  this will help to close in on the ones you are looking for   Click the massive link above hopefully it works if not let me know
by Arora Anonymous G2G6 Mach 8 (83k points)
selected by AL Wellman
I've search all kinds of spellings for Captain Mathieu Toney/Tony/Toni/Tonie/Tontie etc finding nothin in NS records for him or Catherine Mingo. Mingo was a "Mingo Village" of Algonquin which includes some Lamontagne so not sure if there maybe a connectable search that way.  I did do a search of Prince Edward Island because during explusion some managed to resettle at P.E.I. and I did find some "Mingo" Baptisms (12) 1 marrg and 1 death  here is link, maybe they will help you
I just found a really great photo, includes a few Toney family members in NS Museum Mi'Kmaq Archives- and has the names of most in the pic
you are referring to a specific group of people who call themselves the Métis Nation, some of them actually trace their lineage back to Acadie days and Nicolas Denys.  That doesn't really fall inside the question asked.  He is talking about events on the East coast, not the interior.
+3 votes
The first ( Canadian ) Métis were registered in the late 1500's and early 1600's by Priests. But the earliest that I know of was a result of the Viking settlement at Newfoundland. The settlement was short lived and the people (both male and female) assimilated into the Indigenous cultures in order to survive.

Metis, contrary to what is being pushed by the government does not mean Red River fur trader. It means mixed race period. Louis Real didn't invent the term and he didn't establish the first Metis settlement. That was done by the original French settlers that came to our east coast in 1604. Due to the failure of the first French settlement established in the mid 1500's due to Jacques Cartier's efforts (again they assimilated into the indigenous culture in order to survive), they decided to first bring only men to establish the colony. They mixed with the indigenous people and established their own settlement at Port Royal NS the land was granted to them by the Mi'Kmaq NOT the French. THAT was the first true Metis settlement in Canada! They were unique in that they adopted both cultures, but they were neither French nor Mi'Kmaq they were Metis. The ones that assimilated into the indigenous cultures were regarded as equals to the indigenous.
by Anonymous St Amand G2G1 (1.6k points)

Any Viking descendants would probably have disappeared long ago, unfortunately, so it is impossible to determine if they did indeed have métis children with the Beothuk.  Who are extinct, unfortunately.

The Beothuk weren't the only indigenous people who lived in NF, however you'd be amazed at what people do in order to survive. They probably mixed with the Mi'Kmaq also. Their culture is extinct, but I doubt the people are.
+2 votes

Métis is a French term originally, and means ''of mixed blood'', specifically one white and one native american parent.  So whether or not your traders were living in an area where natives held the territory is irrelevant, what is relevant is whether they had children together.

The earliest identifiable Métis on this continent are in Acadie.  There may have been earlier such, the Viking settlement in Newfoundland or various trips by fishermen from Europe to various locations on this continent could have engendered some, but there is no way to trace them and document them irrefutably.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (307k points)

The term metissage is derived from a Latin word. It means simply to mix cultures. It is not unique to the French or Indigenous peoples. The first documented Metissage in Canada was done by the missionaries in the 1500's that administered the Jacques Cartier settlements. But the first true Metis settlement was Acadian. They were a people that were distinctly different from both the French and aboriginal peoples. Although they called themselves Acadians, they were in the true sense of the word Metis people.

Je connais bien l'expression française, et cette réponse m'inquiète.  

From a WikiTree prespective, is it accurate to categorize each mixed race Indigenous-Eurpoean profile as Métis?  

Are their mixed marriags all over Canada and the US yes...BUT the question was "Is there an earliest date for Metis", so in my way of thinking answer was directed at the Actual Original Organization(s) of the Metis Cultures to come together and ALIGN as Actual METIS Nation(s),  which did infact occur with the RedRiver and Louis Riel & the Government of  Assiniboia & with Saskatchewan , If someone is Genealogically trying to Locate records of these Metis, the Scrips are listed as such for NWT(Northwest Territories & Prairies).  In Quebec and NS the Records are NOT listed as such(if they have a bunch of em hidden in boxes somewhere I've not found em in the BAnQ searches yet., so to say that they are there in Quebec & NC is true, but finding them is not as simple as searching for the: "Metis" in Quebec or PEI or NS or many other areas because they were not listed as "Metis" in the docs if they were...its is very rare-few-and-far between.

And one more thing about NS, I just came across an old pic in the NS Museum and Archives, that includes I think like 34 individuals all or almost all dressed in Traditional Mi'Kmaq Regalia.These people included some Pitre/Peters Family members, which are known to have french roots as well as n8v, but they aren't dressed as Metis, they are dressed as Mi'Kmaq.  This says to me that those or at least some of those that lived near thier n8v relatives were inclinded to be an actual part of their Native Nations acknowledging themselves as (like the ones in the pic-as Mi'Kmaq and being acknowledged as such by their counterpart "full-blood' family and friends.  Nowhere on this photo are they called Metis...just as in the records either their Nations are listed or some "ja" just called em "indien, sauvage, vagabond, bois-brule, malange, melungeons, and many other derogatory terms just wanted to clarify.

& My answer was based on the question.  Theres' a whole lot of history to how the original Metis Nation came about, but putting it all in here to answer this question certainly didn't seem to be the answer to the question. just sayin
Why does this worry you? It's the truth, the offspring of any 2 mixed cultures are in the true sense of the word Metis regardless of what they call themselves or are called by others. Because the French used the word does not mean that they invented it. They preferred to be called Metis in lieu of the former classification of half-breed that was placed upon them by our government. In other words it is the politically correct term for half-breed.

Unfortunately there is no category for Metis to put on profiles, but in my opinion there should be one.
Good point, Bud.  Maybe at some point we should review the categories for Canadian first peoples. Some Free-space pages and consensus on key points may help to address some of these persistent questions.

I think now we're focused on geography, but it might be a useful next step.
The METIS Like any other N8v Nation have qualify application process, each New Modern Metis Nation is Different from the the originally established ones, to LUMP SOME all MIXED BLOODS as METIS is to do a DIS-SERVICE to the heritages of these INDIVIDUALS.  Just because present time modern ppl choose to call themselves Metis because their find out 1 gramma or grampa was n8v doesn't make them truely METIS. the Metis Nations have cultural histories, stories, dances, and some even have managed to carry their michif language forward to their children.  Again.. if you find someone in docs listed as an indian, or halfbreed, mixed blood, sauvage/savage, squaw, or someother  derogatory or not so derogatory term, but the record makes no mention of a Nation, then I think making note that the person is Canada/NS/US N8v  is a better option, if they or their "modern" family is NOT accepted by a Metis Nation they are NOT Part of a Metis Nation.  Just like if they are NOt on the Cherokee Roll they are not part of the Cherokee Nation..BUT that doesn't have to stop family from listing what record they found that shows that they were N8v or mixed blood.  Listing ppl as part of an "Indigenous Nation" who are not listed in that Nations Records could lead to issues in the future with said "Nations".

As genealogists we must realize that by using these catagoriesand projects we are projecting a possibly widely accepted knowledge base with the documents we collect  (much different from other so-called genealogy sites)... placing someone in a Category or placing a label or sticker etc that says "Cherokee, or Chippewa or First Nations etc could lead to legal issues of "false identifying ppl" without documented evidence.  just again..just sayin  food for thought.

The word has nothing to do with nationhood unfortunately. By using such a broad term to identify themselves as a unique people or nation, they did themselves and their descendants a disservice. The "Metis Nation" should be called something else. Like the Red River Metis Nation perhaps. 

Legal implications? Sooo...all those profiles that classify the people as French without any kind of documentation to prove it are equally falsely identified.

I don't think WikiTree is in a position to rename the Métis Nation. I think we can to find ways to respect that it is.

Bud, I'm not against anyone here claiming their rightful ancestries, but over the last 22+ years I've seen a number of situations where Native Nations got upset over the use of their Nations name either by people claiming to be one of them or using their Nations name or emblem for monetary or advertising reasons.  the biggest concern I have is that wikitree and each of us adding tags/labels/categories be sure that what we are adding is accurate, and we have the documents or other proof to back it up, photographs, etc, in the long sceme of things, this actually helps those trying to find these connections, not only genealogically but by bringing those true documents that may have been unavailable to families for decades and centuries. that's all I'm trying to say.

Yeah I get it Arora, the National Metis Nation of Canada doesn't think we're worthy of being called what we truly are so they hijacked the term in order to exclude us.....nobody has that right.

I wasn't going to continue to intervene on G2G, but this is getting unnecessarily confrontational. Bud, I'd like to ask you to please adopt respectful language.  

I happen to agree with Arora and with M, and I agree with you too, Danielle.  There is no need to exclude anyone, and no need to choose between one view and the other. On WikiTree, there are ways to acknowledge that different definitions of the term exist, and to look for ways to respect that fact it can have different and very personal meaning for individuals.  

I'm going to suggest that we take Al's question offline, within the Canada Project, and consider some options.

Sorry Laurie if you think speaking the truth is confrontational. Metis are a people not a nation and no matter what spin someone tries to put on it, it's still a cold hard fact. We owe it to our ancestors and their descendants to speak the truth about their origins no matter who gets butt hurt over it.
LOL I'm not butt-hurt, afterall noone on wikitree knows anything about me, who I am, or what I do know or don't know, & its fine with me for anyone and everyone to disagree with me. I don't "spin" anything not even a 'top'.  I find it amusing that ones that don't agree have to search out verbal ways to call my "answers" completely off the mark thru picking out every little detail of an answer to deduct its a completely wrong answer..Fact is You will not find Genealogical Records in quebec or NS archives and most others on Eastern Side of Canada or the US as Labeled Metis...NOT the old genealogical anyway.  i'm not saying there aren't Any..I'm saying...good luck finding them searching that way.   Its fine, I'm just gunna go back to the way I was. I will answer ones I know how to help in private messages, then noone will have hurt feelings, or feel like I'm trying to "leave whole groups" of ppl out of anything.. BTW...I was "raised up in Traditional Teachings by full-bloods of Inupiaq, Pawnee, Souix, and Chippewa... But hey..what do I know... I'm just a ..... awwwh nevermind what I am... have fun, & Laurie, no need to pull question, I'm out, permanently from G2G... problem....SOLVED! peaceout
Good point Arora, there isn't much in the records about Acadian Metis people but we can still prove it and we can prove that the records have been falsified and that the British Crown has no jurisdiction in the eastern provinces at all. I have ties to both western and eastern indigenous peoples and I know where I came from. You're no different than me. Live long and prosper.

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