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Métissage in New France and Canada 1508 to 1886


Devrim Karahasan

This book deals with métissage in New France and Canada in the period 1508 to 1886. Métissage is understood as a syncretistic process of cultural, social and political encounter and mixture of ethnic groups that resulted from mixed marriages and relationships. Those led to the rise of the Métis people in North America, which were distinguished as French-speaking Métis and English-speaking Halfbreeds. The process of mixture began in 1508, when first Indians were shipped to France with the intention to use them as multipliers of French culture on their return to the colony. In 1886, the Act of Savages legally distinguished between «Indians» and «Metis», thus marking the beginning of a mixed-blood identity in Canada that was differentiated from neighbouring Whites, Indians and Inuit. The theoretical approach of the history of concepts is employed in the longue durée to show the variance throughout four centuries.
Contents: Bringing Indians to the Old World and French Settlements in the New World – Converting, Instructing and Assimilating Indians – Métissage: Mixed and Non-mixed Marriages as Final Colonial Strategy – From Frenchification and Mixed Marriages to Métissage – From Métissage to Mixed-Blood Individuals and Groups: The Emergence of the Metis – The Community Formation of the Metis – Canadian Métissage and its Failures.