How We Got Our Name  

  

  

The paternal ancestors of the Métis were the former employees of the Hudson's Bay and Northwest Fur Companies, and their maternal ancestors were Indian women of various tribes. The French word, “Métis" is derived from the Latin participle mixtus, which means “mixed"; in French “mele"; it expresses well the idea that is sought to be conveyed. However appropriate the corresponding English expression “Halfbreed" might have been for the first generation of the mixture of blood, now that European blood and Indian blood are mixed in every degree, it is no longer general enough. The French word “Met" expresses the idea of this mixture in the most satisfactory manner possible, and thus becomes a proper race name. Why should we care to what degree exactly of mixture we possess European blood and Indian blood? If we feel ever so little gratitude and filial love toward one or the other, do they not constrain us to say: “We are Métis!"

~ Statement by Louis Riel

  

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