Metis Struggle for Self Identification

3741 words 15 pages
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 …show more content…

It granted the land to Thomas Scott, Fifth Earl of Scotland, and several hundred European settlers . The Hudson's Bay Company expected these settlers to help police the Metis population that had become involved with, and loyal to, the Northwest Company. As soon as the land transfer took place, the settlers immediately came into conflict with the First Nations and Metis people. They claimed One Hundred and Sixteen Thousand square miles of land that the Metis had used for hunting and trapping . Eventually, the conflict between the two companies was halted as the British government, tired of the lawless struggle, forced the companies to merge in 1821 .
In 1816, the Governor of the European Red River settlement, Semple, gathered a group of men together to enforce his rule and to prevent the Metis from supplying Pemmican to the surrounding forts. The sale of Pemmican had become a major economic tool for the Metis to earn a living . Semple, backed by the Hudson's Bay Company, made the Pemmican Proclamation in 1814 that outlawed the sale of Pemmican by the Metis . At the Seven Oaks ravine, Semple and his band of policemen, intercepted a group of Metis, led by Cuthbert Grant, transporting Pemmican for trade. Eventually, the conflict erupted into a physical confrontation and Semple and twenty other settlers were killed . In contrast, only one Metis man died as a result of the clash . After the skirmish, Grant surrendered himself to the British and an