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  • Writer's pictureOntario Métis Facts

Respect and Allyship in Sault Ste. Marie


For almost two centuries, the Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community utilized their own Métis governance, decision-making, and land tenure systems to manage their internal affairs.


By the nineteenth century, this distinct Métis community—with its unique way of life—was recognizable and respected by other peoples in the region, namely the Anishinaabek.


In 1830, for example, when the British began to exclude the Métis from receiving ‘Indian Presents’, Anishinaabek leader, Chief Shingwaukonse, advocated alongside the Métis for their re-inclusion, stating:


“The Half Breeds met in council and came to the determination of attaching themselves to me and placing themselves under my control. The half breeds after their council came to me and said. We give ourselves up to you and put ourselves under your control.”


Shingwaukonse’s language not only highlights a prevailing sense of solidarity between the Métis and Anishinaabek, but reveals a recognition of the distinct Anishinaabek and Métis political identities that existed at the time.


By rooting his advocacy for the Métis in their self-determined collective decision to ask him to speak for them, Chief Shingwaukonse also demonstrates respect for the Métis community’s self-governance and internal decision-making systems.


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