Métis communities in Ontario have existed since the early fur trade era in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s. The French word, “Métis” is derived from the Latin ‘participle mixtus’, which means “mixed”; in French “mele”; which represents a mixture of European blood and Indian blood. The Métis are one of Canada’s three Aboriginal Peoples (Indian, Inuit and Métis).
The Métis communities emerged and grew side by side with First Nation communities.
In the early 1820’s, the Métis established a community in the Penetanguishene area. Fishing, fur trade, farming and the lumber industry were their main occupations during this time. Many Métis settlements grew along the shores of the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay, including the Moon River / Sans Souci areas. The Moon River represents one of the main rivers running through the traditional territory of the Métis of Georgian Bay and connects Métis citizens of the islands and shores of Georgian Bay to those on the mainland. It would have been a river that their ancestors used as a one of their highways.
The Métis that settled in the Moon River / Woods Bay area of Georgian Bay have been an important part of the MacTier community since the 1800’s. To this day, descendants of these Métis families continue to reside in the area. Some of the family names that you may recognize are Grisdale, Goulding, McCron, Trudeau, and Arnold among others. Many families continue to honour their ancestral traditions by continuing to hunt, fish and trap. Some Métis worked for the railway in MacTier. Judson Arnold was a mail carrier, carrying mail in the earlier days from MacTier to the residents at Moon River / Woods Bay.
The Métis Nation continues today to be the embodiment of their past, present and hopes and aspirations for the future. We look forward to learning more about the history and traditions of the Métis in our community.