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Historical Relations Between the Metis Nation Canada The origin of the Metis Nation is rooted in the historical fabric of Canada It was in the Canadian Northwest that they evolved into a new and distinct Aboriginal Nation The mixed-blood offspring of French fur traders from the North West Company or Scottish and English fur traders from the Hudsons Bay Company and Cree Ojibway or Saulteaux women formed an ever-increasing proportion of the fur trade population This cultural evolution commenced in the mid 1600s and reached its height in the late 1800s With their mixed traditions and command of both European and Indian languages the Metis were logical intermediaries in the commercial relationship between two civilizations They adapted European technology to the wilderness through innovations such as the Red River Cart and York Boat making it possible to transport large volumes of goods and supplies to and from the far flung outposts of the fur trade As people of mixed ancestry increased in number and married amongst themselves they developed a new culture neither European nor Indian but a fusion of the two and a new identity as Metis By the mid 19th century Metis villages had appeared in and around fur trade posts from the Great Lakes to the Mackenzie Delta Then as now Metis communities shared a common outlook shaped by their historical circumstances As provisioners to the North West Company the Metis of the prairies organized the commercial buffalo hunt They left their permanent settlements periodically electing a provisional government for each expedition to make and enforce the law of the hunt This activity increased the political consciousness of the Metis and was further heightened by the rivalry between the fur trade companies In 1811 the Hudsons Bay company made a land grant to Lord Selkirk of 116000 square miles of land in the Red River Valley southern Manitoba for an agricultural settlement and source of provisions
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