Metis of Western Canada - Settlements

When warfare abated in the middle of the eighteenth century in the immediate region of the upper Great Lakes, several trading families left the trading posts to establish extendedfamily villages. Numbers in these villages are difficult to determine, but they would mirror those of neighboring Indian bands, reflecting hunting resources supplemented with subsistence horticulture. Besides settlements near the major forts at Michilimackimac, Sault Ste-Marie, Fort William, and Dearborn, other villages appeared at locations such as Chebougamon, Green Bay, and Prairie du Chien. With the advent of settlement, families dispersed westward, some to the valley of the Red River. By the late 1820s, the Red River Settlement contained the largest Metis community in the nineteenth century. By the 1840s, settlements had emerged at Pembina and St-Joseph in Dakota Territory. In the succeeding decade, settlement emerged farther west at Lac Ste-Anne, later moved to St-Albert near Fort Edmonton, and Lac la Biche. With the robe trade, wintering villages appeared in the Qu'Appelle River valley, at Turtle, Moose, and Wood mountains, and in the valley of the South Saskatchewan River and its principal tributaries. For brief periods, communities such as La Petite Ville, Round Plain, Buffalo Lake, and Tail Creek could number as many as several hundred inhabitants. At the time the bison herds collapsed in the early 1880s, wintering villages were found in the Cypress Hills, south of the Missouri River in the Judith Basin in Montana Territory, and westward in the foothills. The wintering villages disappeared with the bison. Settlements about the missions were absorbed into the communities of the settler society.

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