Sunday, December 14, 2008
'We shall be one people'
'Our young men will marry your daughters, and henceforth we shall be one people.'
-- Champlain's prophecy to the Montagnais, 1633
David Hackett Fischer: In the year 2001, the Canadian Census reported that 292,310 people in Canada identified themselves as Métis, and there are many more in the United States. These self-identified Métis have founded associations in every Canadian province and five American states. And yet they are only a fraction of North Americans who have both Indian and European ancestors. Demographers have reckoned that more than 750,000 Canadians are descended from Métis. Even those estimates do not come close to the full extent of intermixing. In 1970, a Canadian biologist reckoned that 40 percent of Canadian families had both Indians and Europeans in their family trees, which would yield eight million people of mixed ancestry in 1970, and twelve million in 2005.