The Canadian Métis Flag
History of the Flag
The Canadian Métis Flag is one of the oldest patriotic flags originating in Canada. As a symbol of nationhood, the Métis flag predates Canada’s Maple Leaf flag by about 150 years! The Métis actually have two flags. Both flags had the same design, an infinity sign, but were different colors, either red or blue. Blue was the color of the North West Company and was carried by the French ‘half-breeds’ with pride. Historically Red was the color of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The blue was flown before the red. In the Métis rebellion, Cuthbert Grant flew the blue flag at the battle of seven Oaks.
But the Métis way of life was established back in the 1600’s when the coureur des bois left the established colonies of France and forged a joining of the new and old worlds in North America. The beginning ostracizing of the coureur des bois out of new France for trading with the Indians in their own territory, sent these wandering men out into the new land; they cohabitated with the Indian nations and started families with small métis settlements, leading them to forge our own nation; a mixing of European and North American Indian, French and the new world.
The beginning of a new nation of people who were called at various times, les canadiennes, brois Brule, half-breed, the children of the fur trade, métis people, métis settlement, métis native, aboriginal métis and now the métis nation.
Infinity History and Meaning of the flag
The métis infinity flag bears a horizontal figure eight, infinity flag or infinity symbol. The infinity symbol represents the coming together of two distinct and vibrant cultures, those of European and indigenous North America Indian, to produce a distinctly new culture, the Métis. The flag symbolism or symbolizes the creation of a new society with roots in both Aboriginal and European cultures and traditions. The sky blue background of the flag emphasizes the infinity symbol and suggests that the Métis people will exist forever.
We give this symbolism to our flag, though it is not clear how ancient is this interpretation: the infinity symbol has two meanings, the joining of two cultures and the existence of a people forever. The infinity symbol has also emerged in the traditional dances of the Métis; the quadrille, reel of eight, Duck dance in which the dancers move in a figure eight pattern, and is a perfect example.
The figure in the centre of a blue field represents the joining of two cultures and as an infinity symbol, represents the immortality of a nation. As the Métis were strongly associated with the North West Company (NWC), a fur trading entity in competition with the Hudson Bay Company, they often fought for NWC causes. As part of a gift giving ceremony in 1814, NWC partner Alexander MacDonnell presented the Métis with this flag, which would soon become a trademark for the nation. Today, the Métis flag is still used and carried as a symbol of continuity and pride.
The red flag is the métis hunting flag,
The answer to the debate is very simple…
Blue Métis Flag: – Blue background represents the alliance of the Métis working for the North West Company whose main color was blue.
North West company employees called themselves les canadiennes or free traders French Métis. The free traders roamed the land and were unequalled hunters, guides and Voyageurs. The French Half-breeds supported the Catholic Church maintaining their French roots.
Red Métis Flag: – Red was the color of the Hudson Bay Company. Métis working for the Hudson Bay Company used the red flag. Also is recognized as the Métis hunting flag.
The mixed employees of the bay company were known as English Half-breeds. The English Half-breeds mainly settled around the Hudson Bay Forts and were farmers and small business owners. The English Half-breeds supported the Anglican Missionaries.
These were two rival companies. Think of it like two rival nations, like England and France in history, which English soldiers wore red uniforms, and French soldiers wore blue uniforms. It distinguishes the two rivals apart from each other.
Both colors are correct!
However, today, Métis do not work for North West Company or Hudson Bay Company, and the flag colors do not follow this rule anymore. Today, it is really a matter of choice for which one they want to use. I have found that the blue flag is used more, and prefer this one my-self as my French ancestors came from France in 1549 and worked in the fur trade for both company’s till the end in British Columbia about 1862.
So today the representative organizations, of the Métis fly one of the two flags. Both are equal as a representation of the Métis nation, with none of the past separation upon them.
If you need to mail a check or money order, send to;
Fraser Valley Métis Nation
Po Box 737 Stn A
Canada, V2T 7A1