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  • Writer's pictureOntario Métis Facts

Métis Political Independence in Sault Ste. Marie

In the 1840s, ahead of the Robinson Treaty negotiations, the Crown sent a land surveyor to lay out a town plot in Sault Ste. Marie.

In response, Anishinaabek leader, Chief Shingwaukonse, held a meeting with the Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community.

Written accounts of this meeting, from those who were there, survive and shed light onto the relationship between the Métis and Anishinaabek. This includes the account of Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community member, Joshua Biron, who clearly recalled the meeting almost 50 years later:

“The Chief told us, that if we joined his band, became his men or soldiers – that he would work for us…only four of us agreed to join his band… all the other Half-Breeds said they were Indians enough without binding themselves to be under an Indian Chief.”

Biron’s account highlights that while the Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community’s deep relationship with the Anishinaabek was recognized, so too was its distinct identity and independent decision making—a fact so important that it remained a core memory for community members, like Biron, almost half a century later.

These statements, among many others, make clear that the Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community understood itself and was seen by others as its own self-determining political entity. This strong identity and belief continues today.

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