Canadian Multiculturalism Day

Canadian Multiculturalism Day
April 27, 2020

June 27, 2020 is Canadian Multiculturalism day. This is a day to discover the various cultures that bring Canadian society to life by participating in the many activities happening across the country. Métis Crossing encourages everyone to take advantage of this day as an opportunity to discover and appreciate the wealth and diversity of Canadian society.

Métis Crossing is the first major Métis cultural interpretive centre in Alberta offering visitors an immersive Métis cultural experience through interpretation, education, gatherings, and business development.

Métis people are proud to be one of the many cultures celebrated in Canada. While the Métis carry a distinct Indigenous story, we celebrate the diversity of all Canadians. Keep reading to learn a little bit about the Metis people and our heritage.

What does it mean to be Métis?

Of course being Métis means something different to anyone, but from a technical perspective it means a person who self-identifies as Metis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.

The Métis are one of three distinct Aboriginal peoples of Canada recognized under the 1982 Canadian Constitution. During the Fur Trade (1670-1870), the Métis were known to be fiercely independent and instrumental in the development of western Canada.

What does the word Métis mean?

The word Métis comes from the Latin term “miscere” (to mix) and was used initially to describe the children of Native women and French men. Over time, the word “Métis” became the accepted term attributed to all children born to Native women and European men.

What is Rupert’s Land?

Rupert’s Land is a vast territory named after Prince Rupert of Rhine, a cousin of Charles II, and the first appointed Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Métis quickly became the intermediaries between European and Indian cultures; working as guides, interpreters, fur traders and provisioners to the new forts and trading companies. Métis villages sprang up along the riverways from the Great Lakes to the Mackenzie Delta. The Rupert’s Land territory included all or parts of present-day Northwest-Nunavut Territory, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, and became known to the Métis as the “Métis Homeland.”

What are some distinct Métis cultural elements?

Métis culture is a fusion of French, English, Scottish and Indian influences, and took root and flourished in the late 1800s. The Métis developed a unique language called Michif, using both Indian nouns, and English or French verbs. Métis fiddlers combined jigs and reels into their unique forms of dance and music. Métis women created intricately decorated attire included woven sashes, embroidered gun sheaths, deer hide caps, quilled and beaded pipe bags, and the capote, a European-style coat made from Hudson Bay point blankets. The sale of these items often contributed to the income earned by the Métis family.

For more information regarding the history of the Métis people visit:

https://www.rupertsland.org/metis-homeland/