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In the days of the fur traders, the Métis earned a special Cree nickname: “o-tee-paym-soo-wuk,” which means “their own boss.” They were known for being proud hunters and legendary trailblazers.

Métis History

The Métis were children born from relationships between Aboriginal mothers and European settler fathers. They earned their Cree nickname, “their own boss,” because of their independence and cultural pride, combining their Aboriginal and European backgrounds into a unique cultural identity. They became trailblazers in the fur trade, adapting European technology to the wilderness and innovating new trade routes. And because of their unique cultural background, they became central to the relationships between settlers and Aboriginal populations. The Métis are considered to be a unique culture on their own, not simply a mix of First Nations and European settler backgrounds. However, despite hundreds of years of history as a rich, complex culture, the Métis were not recognized as a distinct Aboriginal people until 1982.

Discussion Questions

What do you think it means to be your own boss?

How is Métis culture different from First Nations culture?


Our Legacy. “Métis Culture.” Yvonne Vizina. University of British Columbia: Indigenous Foundations. “Métis.” Métis Nation of Ontario. “Métis Historic Timeline.”–heritage/metis-timeline


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