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The Michif Language Project ~ Cowichan Valley Metis
An educational concept which began in the fall of 2012 has now turned into reality and with its launch an imaginative learning tool for young Michif learners. The Michif Language Learning Project began with the concept that the younger you are the easier it is to learn language. Repetition is required and access to Michif speakers can be problematic in many communities. It was this lack of early learning resource that prompted Marilyn Bean and Jan Ovans of the Cowichan Valley Métis Association, to apply for a Canadian Heritage grant, to develop an early childhood Michif immersion project. This website has multiple animated tutorial videos and games.











This website is the most comprehensive attempt to chronicle traditional Métis history and culture on the World Wide Web and contains a wealth of primary documents – oral history interviews, photographs and various archival documents – in visual, audio and video files. In addition, many of our proven resources such as Steps in Time and Gabriel Dumont: Métis Legend have also been added to this site. Finally, new material, suitable for general information and for educators, has also been commissioned for The Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture.



In many of our cultures, before the arrival of Europeans to North America, “Two-Spirit” referred to the ancient teachings. Our Elders tell us of people who were gifted among all beings because they carried two spirits: that of male and female. These individuals were looked upon as a third gender in many cases and in almost all cultures they were honoured and revered. Two-Spirit people were often the visionaries, the healers and medicine people. They were respected as fundamental components of our ancient culture and societies. This is our guiding force as well as our source of strength. This is the ancient heart of Two-Spirit People. To gain more knowledge on this refer to these links

In late 1884, Riel -along with the help of a European farmer- wrote the Metis Bill of Rights. This listed the Metis' demands, grievances, etc. When they sent it to the Secretary State in Canada it was refused. The government rejected it because it was, "too much like the American Declaration of Independence."  This was important because it outrightly said that the government didn't care for the Metis people. It didn't see them as human beings. This further increased the pressure on the Metis people to rebel. 

1870 Metis List of Rights adopted February 3, 1870

1. That in view of the present exceptional position of the Northwest, duties up goods imported into the country shall continue as at present (except in the case of spirituous liquors) for three years, and for such further time as may elapse, until there be uninterrupted railroad communication between Red River settlement and St. Paul, and also steam communications between Red River settlement and Lake Superior.

2. As long as this country remains a territory in the Dominion of Canada, there shall be no direct taxation, except such as may be imposed by the local legislature, for municipal or other local purposes.

3. That during the time this country shall remain in the position of a territory, in the Dominion of Canada, all military, civil and other public expenses, in connection with the general government of the country, or that have hitherto been borne by the public funds of the settlement, beyond the receipt of the above


mentioned duties, shall be met by the Dominion of Canada.

4. That while the burden of public expense in this territory is borne by Canada, the country be governed by a Lieutenant-Governor from Canada, and a Legislature, three members of whom being heads of departments of the Government, shall be nominated by the Governor General of Canada.

5. That after the expiration of this exceptional period, the country shall be governed, as regards its local affairs, as the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec are now governed, by a Legislature by the people, and a Ministry responsible to it under a Lieutenant- Governor, appointed by the Governor General of Canada.

6. That there shall be no interference by the Dominion Parliament in the local affairs of this territory, other than is allowed in the provinces, and that this territory shall have and enjoy in all respects, the same privileges, advantages and aids in meeting the public expenses of this territory as the provinces have and enjoy.

7. That, while the Northwest remains a territory, the Legislature have a right to pass all laws local to the territory, over the veto of the Lieutenant-Governor by a two-third vote.

8. A homestead and pre-emption law.

9. That, while the Northwest remains a territory, the sum of $25,000 a year be appropriated for schools, roads and bridges.

10. That all the public buildings be at the expense of the Dominion treasury.

11. That there shall be guaranteed uninterrupted steam communication to Lake Superior, within five years; and also the establishment, by rail, of a connection with the American railway as soon as it reaches the international line.

12. That the military force required in this country be composed of natives of the country during four years. [Withdrawn after a vote of 16 yeas to 23 nays.]

13. That the English and French languages be common in the Legislature and Courts, and that all public documents and acts of the Legislature be published in both languages.

14. That the Judge of the Supreme Court speak the French and English languages.

15. That treaties be concluded between the Dominion and the several Indian tribes of the country as soon as possible.

16. That, until the population of the country entitles us to more, we have three representatives in the Canadian Parliament, one in the Senate, and two in the Legislative Assembly.

17. That all the properties, rights and privileges as hitherto enjoyed by us be respected, and that the recognition and arrangement of local customs, usages and privileges be made under the control of the Local Legislature.

18. That the Local Legislature of this territory have full control of all the lands inside a circumference having upper Fort Garry as a centre, and that the radius of this circumference be the number of miles that the American line is distant from Fort Garry.

19. That every man in the country (except uncivilized and unsettled Indians) who has attained the age of 21 years, and every British subject, a stranger to this country who has resided three years in this country and is a householder, shall have a right to vote at the election of a member to serve in the Legislature of the country, and in the Dominion Parliament; and every foreign subject, other than a British subject, who has resided the same length of time in the country, and is a householder, shall have the same right to vote on condition of his taking the oath of allegiance, it being understood that this article be subject to amendment exclusively by the Local Legislature.

20. That the Northwest territory shall never be held liable for any portion of the L- 300,000 paid to the Hudson's Bay Company or for any portion of the public debt of Canada, as it stands at the time of our entering the confederation; and if, thereafter, we be called upon to assume our share of said public debt, we consent only, on condition that we first be allowed the amount for which we shall be held liable.

North-West Rebellion


The North-West Rebellion of 1885 was a brief and unsuccessful uprising

by the Métis people underLouis Riel, and an associated uprising by

First Nations Cree and Assiniboine, of the District of Saskatchewan 

against the government of Canada. The Métis believed that Canada had

failed to protect their rights, their land and their survival as a distinct


Despite some notable early victories at Duck Lake, Fish Creek and Cut

Knife, the rebellion ended when the Métis were defeated at the siege of

Batoche. The remaining Indian allies scattered. Riel was captured and

put on trial. He was convicted of treason and despite many pleas across

Canada for amnesty, he was hanged. Riel became the heroic martyr to

Francophone Canada and ethnic tensions escalated into a major

national division that was never resolved. This was the last civil war within Canadian borders.

Link to more info:


Battles included in the North-West Rebellion:


Battle of Duck Lake

On March 26, 1885, the 150 to 200 Métis and Aboriginal warriors under the command of Gabriel Dumont defeated a combined group of 90 Prince Albert Volunteers and North-West Mounted Police led by their superintendent Leif Newry Fitzroy Crozier at Duck Lake, outside Batoche.

In response, the federal government sent Major General Frederick Middleton in command of 3,000 troops to the area, where Middleton incorporated another 2,000, mostly English-Canadian, volunteers and 500 North-West Mounted Police into his force.


Looting of Battleford

On March 30, 1885, a raiding party of Cree people, short of food due to declining bison populations, approached Battleford. The inhabitants fled to the nearby North-West Mounted Police post, Fort Battleford. The Cree then took food and supplies from the empty stores and houses. As well, Cree insurgents looted Hudson's Bay Company posts at Lac la Biche and Green Lake on April 26.


Frog Lake Massacre

On April 2, 1885, near Frog Lake, Saskatchewan (now in Alberta) a Cree raiding party led by Wandering Spirit attacked a small town. Angered by what seemed to be unfair treaties and the withholding of vital provisions by the Canadian government, and also by the dwindling buffalo population, their main source of food, Big Bear and his Cree decided to rebel after the successful Métis victory at Duck Lake. They gathered all the white settlers in the area into the local church. They killed Thomas Quinn, the town's Indian Agent, after a disagreement broke out. The Cree then attacked the settlers, killing eight more and taking three captive.

The massacre prompted the Canadian government to take notice of the growing unrest in the North-West Territories. When the rebellion was put down, the government hanged Wandering Spirit, the war chief responsible for the Frog Lake Massacre.


Battle of Fort Pitt

On April 15, 1885, 200 Cree warriors descended on Fort Pitt. They intercepted a police scouting party, killing a constable, wounding another, and captured a third. Surrounded and outnumbered, garrison commander Francis Dickens capitulated and agreed to negotiate with the attackers. Big Bear released the remaining police officers but kept the townspeople as hostages and destroyed the fort. Six days later, Inspector Dickens and his men reached safety at Battleford.


Battle of Fish Creek

On April 24, 1885, at Fish Creek, Saskatchewan, 200 Métis achieved a remarkable victory over a superior government force numbering 900 soldiers who were sent to quell the rebellion. The reversal, though not decisive enough to alter the outcome of the war, temporarily halted Major General Frederick Middleton's column's advance on Batoche. That was where the Métis would later make their final stand.


Battle of Cut Knife

On May 2, 1885, the Cree war chief Fine-Day defeated Lieutenant Colonel William Otter at the Battle of Cut Knife near Battleford. Despite their use of a Gatling gun, a flying column of Canadian militia and army regulars, government forces were defeated. Fine-Day was affiliated with the chief Poundmaker. Big Bear would not get involved.


Battle of Batoche

On May 9, 1885, Middleton attacked Batoche itself. The greatly outnumbered Métis ran out of ammunition after three days of battle and siege. The Métis resorted to firing sharp objects and small rocks from their guns, until they were killed or dispersed when Middleton's soldiers advanced in strength and overran their rifle pits. Riel surrendered on May 15. Gabriel Dumont and other participants escaped across the border to the Montana Territoryof the United States.


Battle of Frenchman's Butte

On May 28, 1885, Major General Thomas Bland Strange brought an NWMP detachment from Calgary, Alberta, but they were unable to defeat a Cree force under Big Bear who carried the day at Frenchman's Butte at the end of May.


Battle of Loon Lake

On June 3, 1885, a small detachment of North-West Mounted Police under the command of Major Sam Steele caught up to a band of Cree led by Big Bear who were moving northward after their victory at Frenchman's Butte. The Cree were almost out of ammunition, and were forced to flee after a short exchange of fire and the release of their hostages.

Big John McNeil - Sierra Noble
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