As the fur trade moved into the
Western Great Lakes and Red River district in the early 1800s, the Métis
developed a distinct identity, language and
culture. By the 1870s, Métis lived throughout Canada, and
in parts of the United States and Mexico. Métis people in
different regions developed their own cultural features. Also
called half-breeds, michif
or bois-brulé, they contributed to North America's
economic growth as fur trade entrepreneurs,
trappers, guides, interpreters, cattlemen and artists.
many Métis people fled to
Western Canada and the United States. Some denied their heritage
to escape discrimination. Others carried on the Métis
language, culture and traditions. Today, Métis people
continue to contribute to all aspects of Canadian life. Since
the mid-twentieth century, Métis have been working to
revitalize their identity.
Canadian Museum of Civilization, LH996.65.17, D2002-013416, CD2002-346
Made by House of Flags, Edmonton, Alberta
Nylon, rope and wood
Canadian Museum of Civilization, V-Z-193, S2002-5013, CD2004-0105
Métis Flags - The Métis flew their
own flags as early as 1815. In 1869, the Métis formed a Provisional
Government of Assiniboia< (also called Red River,
Rupert's Land or Manitoba) to negotiate their rights with
Ottawa. The negotiations were unsuccessful. A contemporary
document describes the flag of the Provisional Government as
"white with a yellow fleur de lys, a shamrock and a bison."
The flag that most Métis organizations throughout Canada
and the United States fly today is the "infinity sign,"
which sits sideways on a blue or red background.