Métis Nation History

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As far as I can judge of the Indian character, they are not, at all, an agricultural people--nor for a few generations are they likely to become such. Their habits are formed, their lives are directed in a certain line--like a sapling you can bend at will and when grown into a tree you can no longer change its shape-so with them. From time immemorial they have ranged the woods and it is not in the present nor even the next generation that you can uproot that inclination. Take the negro from the south and place him amongst the ice-bergs of the arctic circle and strive to make him accustomed to the hunting of the seal or harpooning of the walrus;--or else bring down an Esquimaux and put him into a sugar-cane plantation of the topics. In fact, take a thorough going farmer from the old-country and attempt to accustom him to hunt moose and trap beaver. He may get expert at it; but give him a chance and he will soon fling away the traps and pick up the spade, lay down the rifle and take hold of the plough. So it is with the Indians--they may get a taste for farming, but they prefer to hunt. Even the best amongst them had to have a month every spring and another month every fall to hunt. And they would count the weeks and look as anxiously forward to those few days of freedom, of unbridled liberty, as a school-boy looks forward to his mid-summer holidays.

Yet, in spite of this hankering after the woods and the freedom of the chase, they are a people easily instructed, quick to learn, (when they like to do so), and very submissive and grateful. But they are very, very improvident. So long as they have enough for to-day, let to- morrow look out for itself. Even upon great festivals such as Christmas, when my husband would give them a double allowance of rations, they would come before our house, fire off their guns as a token of joy and thanks, and then proceed with their feast and never stop until they had the double allowance all eaten up and not a scrap left for the next day.



--Two months in the camp of Big Bear by Theresa Gowanlock and Theresa Delaney (Primary source documents / Timeline)



Métis Nation History

Commemorating 2010 Year of the Métis Nation Anniversary

Related 1885 Métis Nation Newspaper links

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