Contours of a People
Metis Family, Mobility, and History
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
Geography, mobility, and family have always defined Metis culture and society. The Metis world spanned the better part of a continent, and a major theme of Contours of a People is the Metis conception of geography—not only how Metis people used their environments but how they gave meaning to place and developed connections to multiple landscapes. Their geographic familiarity, physical and social mobility, and maintenance of family ties across time and space appear to have evolved in connection with the fur trade and other commercial endeavors. These efforts, and the cultural practices that emerged from them, have contributed to a sense of community and the nationalist sentiment felt by many Metis today.
“This book both enriches and amplifies the range of Metis studies and historiography. The contributors provide new and diverse perspectives on Metis communities and identities, exploring the complex dynamics of those communities in light of fresh research and insights. Metis history is thriving, and—as Contours of a People demonstrates—it is history in motion, still being made.” Jennifer S. H. Brown, author of Strangers in Blood: Fur Trade Company Families in Indian Country
“This deeply researched, beautifully structured volume not only synthesizes earlier work on the Metis, but charts an agenda for future scholarship. The essays offer a new way of thinking about Metis identity, forcing readers out of comfortable Western notions of identity as the solitary self and of political territoriality as bounded. This is Canadian history that American scholars will have to pay attention to, because it is their history, too. A pathbreaking book.”—Susan E. Gray, author of The Yankee West: Community Life on the Michigan Frontier and co-editor of The American Midwest: Essays on Regional History