The Metis people and culture
The Metis are an Abooriginal cultural group in Canada who have strived to establish their own language, dressing and economic status during the late eighteenth century. They traced their kinship from Indian and European families and comprised of the Cree, Chipewyan and Anishinabwe. They were originally settle along the Red river before being pushed away during the colonial rule. Their culture was based on their way of life as buffalo hunter and their involvement in fur trade. The social interaction among the metis were ranked with families such as Dumont’s being respected and elected as leaders.
After the first rebellion and mediation efforts between the native and non-natives, an agreement was reached to divide 1.4 million acres of land among the metis people. However, they did not wait for the actualization of the promise which would have taken more than 10 years. In addition, the defeated army troops would trample over their lands and attack any unprotected metis whom they found. Life become hard for the metis as the Easterners were not pleased with the outcome of the mediation (Kulchyski, (2007). Therefore, the metis people moved away in search of more game and peace for their families.
The negotiations between the metis and the colonials were stalled by MacDonald who did not pay much attention to their petitions. The railway was being built which could open transportation and make it easy for troops with their horses to reach their destination. Macdonald stalled the promises of land while secretly preparing for an armed response. He thought ahead that his cold responses would lead to a rebellion which in turn would be leverage for more government funding on the railway project. The metis in Batoche were organizing a provisional government with the support of the Indians and thus Macdonalds sought to prepare an attack on them by utilizing the railway.
In Canada, the education system teaches that progress and civilization was brought by the Europeans and Euro-Canadians to the Aborginal people. However, given that the native people had their own culture, social and economic structure, there was no ‘progress’ that was gained but rather chaos. Many families were forced to flee their residence during the rebellion and the disruption affected their life. It is thus a myth to state that the non-native brought progress and civilization. This is supported by the idea that the Europeans and Euro-Canadians saw anything that did not conform with their style as uncivilized. There was also the need to commercialize the land ownership that was tagged ‘civilization’ although it was a disregard to the native’s rights of land ownership.
The Metis people faced many challenges and unequal treatment from the government. Looking at their land ownership rights, it is clear how colonization and western expansion affected the life of the First Nations. The constitution failed to recognized their rights and the cases are still ongoing. The ‘forgotten people’-the Metis should be recognized as an organized people group with unique cultural way of life from their language to their leadership. The Metis had already established a system of governance before the Europeans came, with traders involved in fur business, hunting groups seeking buffalo game and women and children tending households. The Metis are strong willed and ready to push for their rights and thus respecting their determination is crucial. The government should thus recognize them and accord them their rightful share and benefits.
Kulchyski, P. K. (2007). Red Indians. In The Red Indians: An Episodic, Informal Collection of Tales from the History of Aboriginal People’s Struggles in Canada (pp. 80-97). Arbeiter Ring Publisher.