Metis Culture

In "Beyond Culture" (1976), Edward T. Hall developed the "Iceberg" analogy for Culture where the external trappings of culture are represented as above the water, and the internal or subconscious parts of the culture lie below the water.

The external portions of culture are much more accessible, but Hall suggests that the only way to learn the internal culture is to actively participate in it.

The 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples stated:

Many Canadians have mixed Aboriginal/non-Aboriginal ancestry, but that does not make them Métis or even Aboriginal … What distinguishes Métis people from everyone else is that they associate themselves with a culture that is distinctly Métis.

Traditional external markers of (Prairie) Métis culture include:

  • use of the Michif Language
  • distinctive clothing, such as:
    • the Metis sash
    • Floral Beadwork,
  • a rich repertoire of fiddle music,
  • jigs and square dances,
  • a traditional economy based on hunting, trapping, and gathering.

But, there is increasing recognition that not all Métis hunted, or wore the sash, or spoke Michif. Métis is a French term meaning "mixed" and in its larger sense applies to all persons of mixed ancestry.