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The Métis in Montana History


with Nicholas Vrooman

The indigenous North Americans known as Métis/Michif (and in Montana as “Landless Indians”) are part of those Aboriginal peoples who live along the Medicine Line of the Canada and United States border, between Lake of the Woods (MN) and the Rocky Mountains (MT), who did not fit as part of either national project in the reconfiguration of the North American West. During the last third of the 19th century, as these new nation-states exerted effective control over the northern Great Plains and those aboriginal societies within that geography, they made critically disastrous decisions concerning "who was who, who was whose, who was in, and who was out." Those choices gave form to the relationships between the First Peoples of the borderlands and the federal governments of the United States and Canada today. Some First Peoples, such as Montana’s Little Shell Tribe, were left out of the settling. This presentation tells that story.