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The term "Métis" is used broadly to describe people with mixed First Nation and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis, distinct from Indian, Inuit or non-Aboriginal people. (Many Canadians have mixed Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal ancestry, but not all identify themselves as Métis). (More information)
The term "half-breed" was used almost exclusively by the federal government throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when referring to Métis people. Therefore, when doing research in Canadian government records databases and when consulting original documents from this period you will obtain better results if you use the term "half-breed".
Research at Library and Archives Canada
Métis Land Claims
A complex series of legislation, beginning with the Manitoba Act of 1870, provided for the settlement of claims arising from Aboriginal rights to land in western Canada. The Manitoba claims cover the period from 1870 to 1885. Those for the Northwest Territories, which included present-day Saskatchewan and Alberta, cover the period from 1885 to 1906.
Many of the records generated by the Department of the Interior (RG 15) and the Claims Commissions contain genealogical information about the claimants, such as date and place of birth, and the names of parents, spouse and children.
The collection includes:
Most of the records are available on microfilm and can be searched using the Métis Scrip Records portion of the Government of Canada Files database. Many of the applications and affidavits have been digitized.
The Department of the Interior fonds (RG 15) also includes additional material relating to Métis Peoples in Manitoba such as:
Some are contained on microfiche "aperture cards", some are paper originals and some are on microfilm. Only the microfilm copies are available for loan, while the others must be consulted onsite. These registers are not indexed in a database. Consult the Dominion Lands Branch inventory description for more details.
Some references to Métis People can be found in non-government collections. Records can be searched using the ARCHIVED - General Inventory database. Select Private Records.
A comprehensive explanation of the claims process and detailed descriptions of all the records can be found in the Aboriginal Peoples Guide to the Records of the Government of Canada: Métis Scrip Records.
There were no records created by the Government of Canada relating to Métis People in other provinces and territories.
Census returns indicate each person's ethnic origin, e.g., Irish, Indian, French and Swedish. The 1901 Census also includes a "Race" column. The use of "breed" and "half-breed" indicated a person of mixed Native and other background. Abbreviations were used.
Research in Other Institutions
Many Institutions hold microfilm copies of our Métis scrip records.
The Glenbow Archives [www.glenbow.org/archhtm/metis.htm] holds the Charles Denney Métis Genealogical Collection and other Métis sources.
The Heritage Centre [www.shsb.mb.ca/englishindex.htm] holds other records and databases relating to Métis in the western provinces, in particular for Manitoba.
Métis National Council Historical Online Database [http://metisnationdatabase.ualberta.ca/MNC/]
Use AVITUS to find other Web sites about Métis.
Research in Published Sources
Search for books on Métis in AMICUS, using authors, titles or subject terms such as:
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