Mountain Metis Today
After the forced migration of the Mountain Métis from Jasper National Park, families settled in the Edson, Robb, Cadomin, Brule, Hinton, and Grande Cache areas, adopting the traditional lifestyle of hunting, trapping, guiding, and outfitting.
The Mountain Métis have a rich history of land management—trapping, guiding and outfitting. During the 1950s, many lobbied MLA Norman Willmore to protect the eastern slopes, which resulted in the Willmore Wilderness Act. This sophisticated mountain society has been successful in protecting this 4500 square kilometers of mountain wilderness because of foresight and activism. The Mountain Métis have over 200 years of wildlife and wilderness management skills.
The Mountain Métis have expanded and grown since the first voyageurs arrived in the Canadian Rockies in the 1790s. Despite the time passage, many traditions and a horseback culture has remained strong. There are many descendants of the fur trade who live and work on Alberta’s eastern slopes. New Métis families have come to join their ranks. What keeps the community vibrant is the strong bond of the mountain traditions. Horseback and Hunting, trapping, guiding, outfitting, and horsemanship skills are but a few of the Mountain Métis traditions. Gathering edible and medicinal plants is a family and often a community activity. Many still make traditional hides and beautiful beadwork.
The Mountain Métis were the first businessmen in the Rocky Mountain Region, and they continue to conduct traditional operations to this day. The Mountain Métis have several centuries of mountain management expertise. Their knowledge should be used in a government or industry consultation process.
It should be noted that Métis families continue to run traditional businesses in the region. Mountain Métis families run several of the mountain lodges and accommodations in the region. The business and entrepreneurial skills run deep in the veins of this community, who are “otipemisiwak,” or the Independent Ones.