The Metis, along with all Aboriginal people that live or once lived in Canada represent an important part of Canada's success as a nation. Therefore, the idea that Canada has only two founding nations is not only ignorant of the native contributions to this country but we see this remark as an insult to our people. I am a proud to be a part of the Metis society because our strong efforts and accomplishments over many years has resulted in the shaping of this country. In fact, if it had not been for the Metis kindness, knowledge, strength and courage in the coming of our nation, I'm afraid Canada would not be the country it is today.
The Metis are descendants of both Aboriginal and European ancestry because when the fur-trade moved west in the 1700's and 1800's, French-Canadian fur traders married Native women. This was often due to the fact that the Native people were eager for the Europeans and themselves to form strong relationships. So, they offered Native wives to the traders. Their children formed a new nation, called the "Metis". Therefore, their lifestyle included both cultures and belief systems equally. However, they were very distinct from both cultures. Many Metis families settled near the Great Lakes and western Canadian lakes since water was important for the fur trade. Throughout the years, the Metis have contributed greatly to North America's economic growth acting as fur trade entrepreneurs, hunters, trappers, guides, interpreters, cattlemen and artists.
When the Europeans arrived in Canada, they took advantage of the Metis skills of the outdoors. The Hudson Bay Company hired them as guides and interpreters but paid them very little in exchange. Since the Natives had survived in Canada's harsh environment for thousands of years, they were very knowledgeable of the land and this greatly aided the fur traders. Native women taught the European women how to prepare and preserve wild game and other foods needed to survive the long winters.