Use of the Term "Half Breed"

The terms "Métis" and "Half-Breed" are used synonymously throughout this database to refer to those people in western Canada who trace their roots to a shared Aboriginal and European ancestry - an ancestry which at some point would have been enumerated by a Commission with the authority to issue land or money scrip. The term "Half-Breed" was used almost exclusively by the federal government throughout the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries when referring to these people. The term completely pervades departmental memoranda, reports, registers, federal statutes, orders-in-council, and official publications. Indeed, it is possible for researchers to use the federal record of this period without ever encountering the term "Métis". Consequently, "Half-Breed" has been retained in this guide when referring to archival records where the term has been used exclusively. In keeping with the preferences of the Métis National Council, however, the term "Métis" is used when making a general reference to these people as a separate cultural group. 

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