Métis Nation of Ontario Resources

Who Are the Métis?

According to the Métis Nation of Ontario, "Métis" means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of Historic Métis Nation ancestry, and is accepted by the Métis Nation. Métis National Council November 2002

The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique history, culture, language and territory that includes the waterways of Ontario, surrounds the Great Lakes and spans what was known as the historic Northwest.

Symbols and Tradition

The Métis National Flag

The Métis national flag predates the Canadian flag by 150 years. It symbolizes both the dawn and destiny of a new Indigenous group and symbolizes the arising from the coming together of two distinct cultures, European and First Nations. The unbroken circles arrayed upon the flag represent that the Métis people will endure forever.

The Sash

The sash is a symbol of Métis heritage for more than 300 years. It originated during the fur trade period and is based on First Nations finger weaving techniques and of European design and raw materials. The sash is shared by many cultures: Eastern Woodlands, French Canadian, Acadian and Métis.

The Fiddle

The fiddle is one of the most commonly used instruments among the Métis. It is most recognizable in traditional Métis jigging music.

Music played by the Métis is traditionally a blend of Celtic and French-Canadian folk music. Métis fiddling incorporates unique rhythms and harmonies of existing European music to create a distinct style of its own. The fiddle's bottom string is tuned up from G to A. The rhythm of extra beats creates a "bounce."

Most social gatherings had a common feature - the fiddle. Wedding, Christmas, New Years and other celebrations would involve hours of dancing to Métis fiddling. These celebrations and social gatherings brought strength to the Métis through difficult times of discrimination and mistreatment. The fiddle brought families and communities together through music, song, and dance. Today, these traditions continue.