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The French word Metis means "mixed blood" and originally referred to persons with both Indigenous and European bloodlines. Today it has taken on various meanings, depending on the politics of identity.
The first North American unions between Indigenous and European people happened in the east coast after the arrival of the Vikings in the north, the Spanish in the south, the French in the northeast, the British in New England (USA), the Scottish via Hudson's Bay, and others. Today Metis people can have any number of nationalities in their bloodlines -- from various continents.
The fur trade increased the numbers of unions of Indigenous women with European men, mainly French men from Quebec, since the Northwest Company hired these men to travel west to get furs and encouraged them to have Indigenous wives, thereby cementing trade relationships with her family, community, and those of her relatives. Today we see most Metis people and many First Nations people have French surnames, even though many do not know that their surname's origin is French from Quebec.
Hudson's Bay Company hired mainly Scottish men for their fur trade posts, but they discouraged unions with Indigenous women, and their numbers were small compared to the employees of the Northwest and other rival companies. Today there are some Metis descendants with Scottish surnames.
Today Metis can mean someone that is part First Nations, or someone that is from a specific cultural group from fur trade, or someone that is from other Metis cultural groups and communities, or someone that is culturally White but has Indigenous ancestry. Some Metis have harvesting rights, others don't.
We've helped many people by finding documents to prove their ancestry or family is Metis.