Métis of Canada Bio

Métis of Canada Bio
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Metis Nation of Canada

Métis Nation of Canada Teacher Guide

By Liane Hicks

In Canada, the Métis Nation refers to people of both European and Indigenous ancestry. They are descendants of First Nations mothers and European fur trappers and traders who arrived in the 1700s. The Métis are one of the three Aboriginal Nations in Canada, along with the First Nations and Inuit that are recognized in the Canadian constitution. Métis communities exist throughout Canada, however, the Plains region is considered the physical, cultural, and political home of the Métis people. The Métis have their own unique customs, vibrant culture, language, and storied history. There are over 587,000 Métis living in Canada today.

Métis Nation of Canada

Storyboard Description

The Metis of Canada are famous politicians, artists, activists, writers, and more! Students can research a person of Metis heritage and create a biography poster highlighting their accomplishments. This poster is about famous Metis freedom fighter, Gabriel Dumont!

Storyboard Text

  • North-West ResistanceDespite repeated petitions from Dumont that the Canadian government recognize the Métis as a self-governing people, the government refused. In 1874, the North-West Mounted Police (NWMP) were sent out. Dumont led the Metis alongside Louis Riel, who became the leader of the Métis in western Canada, during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. Dumont's small army was far less equipped than the NWMP. On March 26, 1885, a battle near Duck Lake resulted in the deaths of both Mounties and Métis, although the Métis maintained that they fought in self-defense. Dumont was shot in the head during this battle but survived. In April and May of 1885 more battles occurred at Fish Creek and the Métis settlement of Batoche. The Métis were defeated and Riel surrendered. Dumont helped move the women and children to safety before fleeing to the United States.
  • Early LifeMétis leader Gabriel Dumont was born in December 1837 in Red River Settlement (now called Manitoba, Canada) to Isidore Dumont and Louise Lafromboise. He had a limited education and could not read, but could speak seven languages: Michif, Blackfoot, Sioux, Cree, Crow, French, and some English. Gabriel's family was a respected Métis buffalo hunting family. They taught him to hunt and trap. They traded pemmican and hides with the Hudson's Bay Company. Gabriel grew to be an accomplished marksman and horseman. He learned diplomacy at an early age as he accompanied his father to sign treaties between the Métis and the Dakota and with the Blackfoot.
  • Gabriel Dumont
  • (1837-1906)"Buffalo hunter, diplomat, humanitarian, Métis Leader"
  • Political ProminenceDumont was elected chief of the hunt for the Saskatchewan Metis in 1863 - 1881. During this time, the buffalo herds were in decline. Dumont saw that the increased settlers would have a permanent effect on the prairies. He formed a government for the Metis settlement of St. Laurent on the South Saskatchewan River with a formal, written constitution. As president, he mediated disputes and sought to keep Metis land from being overtaken by Sir John Macdonald's Canadian government.
  • Later Life Dumont was a wanted man in Canada so he remained in the United States for a while. He even briefly joined Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show. Dumont returned to Batoche in 1893. He dictated his memoirs of the North-West Resistance to friends. but they were not published until 2009. They are titled Gabriel Dumont Speaks.Dumont died in May 1906 of heart failure.
  • Dumont is remembered as a hunter, warrior, and leader who fought valiantly to maintain the rights, land and autonomy of the Métis people. He is a popular folk hero remembered in many songs, poems, books, and works of art, as well as named in many Métis institutions.
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