The Métis (pronounced "MEH tee", SAMPA: [me'ti], in French : [me'tis] or, in many varieties of Canadian French, including those spoken by Métis, [mE'tIs]) are a Canadian ethnic group consisting of people whose ancestors were partly of the Cree, Ojibway or Saulteaux First Nations, and partly European fur traders (usually French or Scots). Their history dates to the mid-seventeenth century. Traditionally, the Métis spoke a mixed language called Michif or Mechif. Michif and Mechif are also used as the name of the Métis people.
The word Métis (the singular, plural and adjectival forms are the same) is French, and related to the Spanish word mestizo. It carries the same connotation of "mixed blood"; traced back far enough it stems from the Latin word mixtus, the past participle of the verb "to mix".
A well-known Métis event was the battle of Seven Oaks.
The most famous Métis was Louis Riel who led what are usually depicted as two failed rebellions, the Red River Rebellion in 1869 in the area now known as Manitoba, and the North-West Rebellion in 1885 in the area now known as Saskatchewan; reasonable doubts may be raised about whether either of these events was a rebellion. After these rebellions land speculators and other non-Métis effectively deprived the Métis of land by exploiting a government program for its purchase, with the government perhaps turning a blind eye. The province of Alberta distributed land to Métis in 1938 to correct what it believed to be an inequity, but Saskatchewan and Manitoba have not followed Alberta's lead.
The Métis are not recognized as a First Nation by the Canadian government and do not receive the benefits granted to other aboriginal groups. The new Canadian constitution of 1982, however, recognizes the Métis as an aboriginal group and has enabled individual Métis to sue successfully for recognition of their traditional rights, such as rights to hunt and trap. In 2003 a court ruling in Ontario, however, found that the Metis deserve the same rights as other Aboriginal communities in Canada.