THE METIS T-Shirt
The Métis also historically known as Bois Brule, mixed-bloods, Countryborn (or Anglo-Metis), are one of three recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Their homeland consists of the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario, as well as the Northwest Territories. The Métis Homeland also includes parts of the northern United States (ie. North Dakota, and Montana). The Métis Nation consists of descendants of marriages of Woodland Cree, Ojibway, Saulteaux, and Menominee aboriginals to French Canadian and/or British/Celtic settlers. Their history dates to the mid-seventeenth century. Historically, many (but not all) Métis spoke a mixed language called Michif. Michif is a phonetic spelling of the Métis pronunciation of Métif, a variant of Métis. The Métis today predominantly speak English with French as a strong second language, as well as numerous aboriginal tongues. The encouragement and use of Michif is growing due to outreach within the provincial Métis councils after at least a generation of decline. The word Métis (the singular, plural and adjectival forms are the same) is French, and a cognate of the Spanish word mestizo. It carries the same connotation of "mixed blood"; traced back far enough it stems from the Latin word mixtus, the past participle of the verb "to mix".********Métis culture is an amalgamation of cultures of the First Nations, French, English, and Orkney/Scottish. The Métis are known for their love of fiddle playing, but traditional instruments also included the concertina, the harmonica, and the hand drum. This affection for the fiddle has been accompanied by a form of dancing referred to as jigging. Traditionally, dancing included such moves as the Waltz Quadrille, the Square dance, Drops of Brandy, the Duck, La Double Gigue and the Red River Jig. Metis people were famous for their horsemanship and breeding of horses. They were the first people to use saddles and to have horse races. The RCMP Musical Ride horses dance the Quadrille as begun by the Metis and their horses. The Red River Cart was the forerunner to the covered wagon. The Metis were known as the Buffalo Hunters on the plains ... today they call themselves the "Forgotten People". As the Métis culture matured, a new language called Michif emerged. This language was a result of the combining of French nouns and Cree verbs. Though a distinct language, it is spoken by few people. Some estimates put the number of Michif speakers at about 1,000. Of the clothing worn by Métis in the 19th century, the sash or ceinture flechée is probably the most common. It is traditionally roughly three metres in length and is made by weaving yarn together with one's fingers. The sash is worn around the waist, tied in the middle, with the fringed ends hanging.Vests with characteristic Métis figurative beadwork are also popular. The Red River Coat is historically recognized as coming from the Metis culture.**********************The most famous Métis was Louis Riel who led what are usually depicted as two rebellions, the Red River Rebellion in 1869 in the area now known as Manitoba, and the North-West Rebellion in 1885 in the area now known as Saskatchewan. Reasonable doubts may be raised about whether either of these events was a rebellion. For example, the actions considered rebellious in 1869 were undertaken by Riel as the leader of a government recognized by Canada as in legitimate control of territory that did not belong to Canada; Canada negotiated the Manitoba Act with this government. After these "rebellions", land speculators and other non-Métis effectively deprived the Métis of land by exploiting a government program for its purchase, with the government perhaps turning a blind eye. The province of Alberta distributed land to Métis in 1938 to correct what it believed to be an inequity, but Saskatchewan and Manitoba have not followed Alberta's lead. Two other famous Métis leaders were Cuthbert Grant and Gabriel Dumont. On May 7, 2004, Métis Todd Ducharme was appointed as a judge of the Ontario Supreme Court of Justice. Other well known Métis are Sharon Bruneau, a Canadian female bodybuilder and fitness model, and Kevin O'Toole, 1996 North American Lightheavyweight bodybuilding champion. British Columbia New Democratic Party Leader Carole James is of partial Métis ancestry. NHL star defenceman Sheldon Souray is of Métis ancestry. Former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin is of partial Métis ancestry. Architect Douglas Cardinal is of Métis and Blackfoot ancestry. Novelist Sandra Birdsell is the daughter of a Métis man and a Russian Mennonite woman and based her award-winning novel Children of the Day in part on her parents' experiences in Manitoba in the 1920s.