Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia





[This text was originally published in 1907 by the Bureau of American Ethnology as part of its Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. It was later reproduced, in 1913, by the Geographic Board of Canada. The work done by the American Bureau was monumental, well informed and incorporated the most advanced scholarship available at the time. In many respects, the information is still useful today, although prudence should be exercised and the reader should consult some of the contemporary texts on the history and the anthropology of the North American Indians suggested in the bibliographic introduction to this section. The articles were not completely devoid of the paternalism and the prejudices prevalent at the time. While some of the terminology used would not pass the test of our "politically correct" era, most terms have been left unchanged by the editor. If a change in the original text has been effected it will be found between brackets [.] The original work contained long bibliographies that have not been reproduced for this web edition. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]



Métis ('Mixed,' from French métis, a derivative of Latin miscere, ' to mix'), or metif. A term used by the French-speaking population of the N. W. to designate persona of mixed white and Indian blood. Among the Spanish-speaking population of the S. W. the word mestizo, of the same derivation, is used, but is applied more especially to those of half-white and half-Indian blood. The term mustee, a corruption of mestizo, was formerly in use in the Gulf states. In the W. the term "half-breed" is loosely applied to all persons of mixed white and Indian blood, without regard to the proportion of each.


[Note from C. Bélanger: in the various texts where it appeared, the term "half-breed" - which is a particularly derogatory description of people of mixed heritage - has been systematically replaced by the word Métis. Such substitutions always appear between brackets [Métis].


Source: James WHITE, ed., Handbook of Indians of Canada, Published as an Appendix to the Tenth Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1913, 632p., p. 288.


© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College