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Key words
Canada, Métis, metisation, pemmican, identity.
About the Author
Tel.: + 7 (962) 735-92-41
58, Belinsky str., Yakutsk, 677000, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russian Federation
PhD in History, Head of the Department for International Studies, M. K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University.
тел.: +7 (962) 735-92-41; e-mail:
Date of publication

The article was carried out under a Russian Foundation Grant for Basic Research No. 17–02–00619.


The article discusses the process of formation of the ethnocultural community of Métis in the western provinces of Canada. The Métis developed from mixed marriages of Canadian “forest wanderers” and fur dealers with Indian women at the beginning of the 19th century. They came to represent a separate ethno-cultural community in the Prairies. They were well acquainted with the agricultural, hunting and fishing practices of both Indians and Europeans and were involved in both Indian and European culture to varying degrees. Pemmican, a dried and then specially prepared bison meat, was the one of the elements of Canadian Métis identity. The “Pemmican Proclamation” prohibiting the export of this product from the territory of the Red River Colony, enacted by colony’s authorities in 1814, served as a significant impetus to the formation of Métis identity and their self-awareness as a community. The product played an essential role in the Prairies and was a constant source of income and an integral part of Métis life until the bison disappeared in the 1880s. Today, their identity relies much more on collective historical memory than on language, origin, territory, or traditional cultural practices. Having no practical or special symbolic meaning in our day, pemmican has become one of the elements of the Métis’ collective representation of their past.


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