Contact and Exchange Between Peoples and Cultures

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Occupation is not a victory, yet, discrimination and oppression evoke acrimony among the native people, which impedes European imperialists from conquering the native people. The Metis are a native group originally scattered across Canada as well as parts of the northern United States such as Montana, North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota. However, the Metis and other aboriginal groups suffered injustice in European colonialism, which is the main focus of this paper.

The Fur Trade

Canada expanded in a unique manner whereby it traded fur with other countries. Fur trade played a significant role in creating boundaries, which still exist today, because borders are grounded on its dissimilar resilience in North America. As a matter of fact, the importance of the fur trade lies in its commitment of the geographic platform. Through this trade, the development of the Metis emerged with their own language and culture. Indeed, the trade depended on the productive skill and the organizational capabilities in the Metis people. Therefore, the Metis and the Indians regulated the fur trade and only traded when it was convenient for them to do so. Moreover, the Metis were sought to travel through canoes into the interior to carry out trade with the Indian community. The fur trade helped the European to penetrate to Canada, and as a result, they started assimilating the Metis community. They disregarded their culture, beliefs and norms and waged to change their culture as well as their behavior. The Metis were culturally undistinguished from other Canadians.

Louis Riel and the Manitoba

The Relationship of the Metis To their Land and the Manitoba Treaty

Drawing from Louis Riel who was the founder of Manitoba and a Metis leader, it is clear that the Metis were harassed unjustly. Riel was murdered by the government for treason. He had united the Metis community and led a famous Metis government that was central in taking Manitoba into confederation, but his aim was to preserve the Metis community from the Canadian authority. Riel also led the Metis at the Red River whereby the Canadian government had appointed McDougall as the governor whose mission was to re-stake the Metis land. The Metis opposed him through Riel so as to preserve their cultural, social and political status of the Metis in the Red River as well as the Northwest. As a matter of fact, intermarriages between the Europeans and the Metis or the aboriginals were prohibited. Riel was considered a hero because he defended the Catholic faith and the French culture in Manitoba. It is for this reason that he went back to North America after being in exile for four months in the United States. The British and the Canadian government did not support the Metis beliefs and wanted to establish the Protestant beliefs. Nevertheless, the opposition from the Metis through the influence of Riel did not last long when he was captured and executed. Riel was executed without any trial with British or Canadian law for his section in the Red River resistance.

The European presented the capital structure, which embroiled racial segregation. This was opposite to what the Metis and other Aboriginal groups practiced. As a result, this concept led legitimacy to the undertaking of the dominant power whereby the European dominated the Metis. Through racial segregation, the Europeans were able to push the Metis out of their land, and exert control over all the aboriginal groups in North America. Indeed, race became a social norm and an unquestioned reason to privilege. It was one employed with great insight against the Metis people in Canada. Thus, although most of the treaties had different positive effects in the aboriginals, most of them caused these communities a devastating effect. The treaties cost the Aboriginals a lot, including their land. Besides being forced to give up their culture, they ended up with a much smaller tract of land as a result of improper negotiations. Also, though the provision of education and health care has been crucial in maintaining the Aboriginal cultures, other benefits such as farm implements and the right to utilize land were much smaller compared to the tracts of lands given in their exchange. Furthermore, the implications resulting in the signing of treaties caused a large number of deaths among them. According to Miller (2000), prior to 1870, the Aboriginal population decreased by about 75percent under the hands of the European settlers. The Aboriginal peoples were the original residents of Canada. It is a collective word for the diversity of the indigenous people.

Aboriginal governments and power sharing in Canada

The word was incorporated in the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982 and concerns the Inuit and the Metis people. The term aboriginal has provided a sense of unity among the indigenous peoples and also served the role of erasing the different historical, cultural practice, sovereignty and languages of over fifty countries that lived in Canada preceding to European colonization. It is believed that the Metis fatherly ancestry originated from different nationalities; Irish, French, English and Scottish while the mothers came from the Native Indian. So the Merits are of mixed blood. Nevertheless, the Metis were able to adopt both the European and the Indian culture through utilizing what was suitable to their necessities. However, the European colonization led to their suffering and injustice. During this time the Metis suffered prejudice, racism and injustice.

The Metis practiced the concept of communism, meaning personal ownership of land was prohibited. They resisted external pressures to abandon this concept. However, with the European colonization, the Metis was denied the freedom to live the way they wanted, thus, they were forced to abandon the communism concept. As a matter of fact, the Metis who had occupied the lands in North America for decades before the European colonization were deprived during the European colonization, which in turn is still today, whereby the political and legal approach deprive Metis societies of fundamental human rights.

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The Land Scrip

During the 18th century in Canada, the government gave out scrip certificates giving the right holder either a certain acreage of land or an amount of money that could be used to buy land. These certificates were given out to individual Metis to fulfill their claim to land ownership. However, most people who eventually were the original inhabitants of the land, did not get the scrip, meaning that the entire Metis communities who had stayed on the land for decades were sidelined of their rightful heritage. Moreover, it was not only the manner in which the Metis was deprived of their original land. Likewise, the Juvenile Act of Manitoba was modified to permit Metis minors to sell or dispose of their scrip, thus creating an opportunity for abuse. The government also opposed a powerful Metis constituency and enterprise interests desiring to gather vast tracts of land colluded to ensure that the Metis of the West of forlorn become landless people. The Metis was not included, frightened, swindled or made to kill off the land consisting of the rudimentary way that consecutive Canadians would follow to open up Canada. As a result, the Metis were forced to live on unutilized parts of the land, which is the reason that they were referred to as the “Road Allowance People'', meaning that they were bound to make their geographical area on the government land on either side of the road.

The Residential Schools

The European solidified their attitudes towards race in their experience with the Metis. The clash between England and Ireland went beyond rivalries between the two developing nations. This was a clash between the semi-nomadic pastoralists and those who were settled on the land as farmers and grew a sedentary culture. The treatment of the Metis people in Canada was extremely similar to the treatment of the other Aboriginal peoples. As a matter of fact, the European established a hierarchical view of the earth where the value of other communities was judged against the image of their own, whereby human beings were viewed as continuing through different regular and specific stages of growth ranging from savagery to civilization. Furthermore, it was not only a social philosophy, but a moral Christian obligation placed on the European to guide the Metis who were regarded as uncivilized beings to the pinnacle of civilization.

Just like other Aboriginal peoples, the Metis were placed in residential schools over the course of a hundred years. These schools stripped children of their languages and culture so as to eliminate the Metis problem and assimilate them into the society. The Metis in residential schools survived sexual as well as physical abuses, loss of identity as well as language. As a result, many of the Metis children as well as other Aboriginal people did not survive at all. Indeed, there are still unrequited questions about how some kids vanished. Nevertheless, the current dispute resolution program in North America, especially Canada does not address the fundamentals harms suffered by Aboriginal peoples as a result of the Indian Residential Schools system that was expressly introduced to remove Aboriginal languages and culture, and to murder the Indian in the child. The government’s strategy for accomplishing its policy aim concerned removing children from their families, punishing them for speaking their aboriginal language and denying them the right to follow their spiritual teachings and traditional celebrations and failing to give them adequate education.

In conclusion, from the above discussion, it is clear that the Metis as well as other Aboriginal communities in North America suffered injustices. They were killed because of their language and beliefs, disregarded because of their culture and mixed blood, they were racially segregated and denied their right to own land. As a result, they ended up in the Manitoba reserve with small parts of land and some none. Neither were they appreciated in residential schools whereby their kids were physically and sexually abused. And though all these things are known by the government, nothing much has improved in Canada for the Metis as well as other aboriginals.


Rambaut, T. (1987). The Hudson’s Bay Half-Breeds and Louis Riel’s Rebellions. Political Science Quarterly, 135-135.

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