Metis' Struggle for Self Identification Essay

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Metis' Struggle for Self Identification 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…show more content…
The most sought after reason for the envy was because of the jobs they were offered. If they were able to read and write, they were in huge demand at one of the trading companies. Some would follow in their fathers footsteps and become trappers and traders, a few Metis would even become chiefs of Indian tribes , because of their knowledge of the white man. The circumstances that existed at this time encouraged the Metis people to begin to formulate their own identity. In the early parts of the 17th century, France created the Voyageur system . Voyageurs were labourers who would transport trade goods between First Nations peoples and the French trading posts . They functioned under very strict French and Church law. Eventually, several European and Metis individuals and groups began to trade without the French state’s approval. These traders were called couriers de bois and were vilified by both France and the Church . Since the couriers de bois acted as free agents, France, and later England, could not profit from transactions made by the couriers. To counteract the loss in potential revenue, strict measures were created to prevent the couriers de bois from doing any business. These strict measures were called the “conge” system, this was a licensing system where by not more than seventy-five traders would go to the west each year . Many traders were arrested, and often, were saved only because of strong ties
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