The fur trade resulted in better relationship between the European settlers and aboriginal tribes. It was not easy for the settleres to live in the woods adjusting with the nature and rough weather. Aboriginal people taught them how to survive in the woods. Some white men liked the tribes' ways of life, and settled down in the woods. Eventually this lead to marital relationships between white men and aboriginal women. Métis people are the descendants from these marital relationships. Eventually the Métis began to be recognized as a separate aboriginal group. Marriages took place between Métis men and women, and Métis nations were set up. In Canada, thus there are three legally recognized aboriginal groups. First nations people which include the early tribes such as Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibway, Algonquin etc. Inuit is considered to be a distinguished group becuase they have a very unique culture, while all other First Nations tribes are related to each other in some ways. The third is the Métis. The word Métis means mixing which implicates the mixing between the tribes and the whites.
Métis children had a very unique advantage over others. Even though the settlers came here in 1600s, not many settlers knew the aboriginal languages and culture, and vice-versa even in 1900s. This caused several issues between the aboriginals and Europeans. Métis children, being brought up by parents from both cultures understood both cultures and knew the native language as well as French or English. This positioned them in between the Whites and Natives, allowing them to perform as effective mediators.
Métis people live throughout Canada, but constitute a distinct aboriginal nation in the Western Canada. According to the 2001 Canadian Census there are about 300,000 Métis people, and their population is increasing at an yearly rate of 9%. This indicates that there must be about 500,000 Métis people in Canada. Métis spoke a language called Michif, a combination of the Cree, Ojibwa, French, and English languages. People speaking these individual languages were not fair to Métis for speaking Michif, and Métis stopped teaching the language to their children. Eventually there were only a few people left who knew the language. Today, along with other tribes Métis is also in the process of educating their language to their children, and discovering pride in their culture.
Click on the following links to learn more about the Métis and their culture.