First Métis Homesteads

(1908) Louis McLeod, Billy Gooselin and Elzear Racine came up from Belcourt and settled in the Turtle Mountain bush. These three quarter sections were the first homesteads that were the beginning of the Metigoshe Metis Community.


**1908 - Present** The [Métis](article=rise-metis-identity) community on [Turtle Mountain](article=turtle-mountain) is somewhat unique. Its presence raises the question: How did this group of Métis come to settle here? The Métis differ from the average European settler in that they did not immigrate to the Canadian prairies. They were born here. [[inline:right:met-metis]] Red River was the first place that the Métis settled in number. In fact for several generations they made up the majority of the settlement’s population. The Red River Resistance in 1869 and the following North West Resistance of 1885 uprooted Métis families from their homesteads and scattered them in all directions. ##A Relationship with Turtle Mountain The Métis have a long history of interaction with the landform known as Turtle Mountain. To a [trapper](article=souris-river-fur-trade) working for the Hudson’s Bay or North West Company, Turtle Mountain and Whitewater Lake to the north were prime hunting grounds. Turtle Mountain was also important to the Métis as a part of their [bison hunting](article=metis-bison-hunt] activities. During the summer and fall hunting seasons the Métis grew familiar with the plains surrounding Turtle Mountain; the region was favoured by bison due to its rich grazing. As the decades of the 19th century progressed, the bison withdrew farther west due to increased human activity on the plains. Soon the Métis were travelling for weeks before encountering a herd. To cut down on travel, Métis began establishing winter camps on Turtle Mountain (and other such sheltered areas). From these impermanent camps they hunted the bison on the …

Billy's Point was a significant place to the Metigoshe Metis Community. The home of Billy Gooselin served as dance hall and meeting place.

#A new Nation born on the North Western prairies Today the Métis in Western Canada are an established Nation who take pride in their history and culture. However, it has been an uphill climb spanning centuries to overcome such obstacles as armed conflict, discrimination, poverty and unequal opportunity. ##Born into the Fur Trade The Métis were born from and into the fur trade. The growth of the Metis sense of identity was therefore due in part to the motives of that economy. However, there were many other factors that contributed to the Métis sense of nationalism. The western plains in the 18th and 19th centuries presented specific conditions into which the Métis rose as a political and cultural identity. The mixed-blood group of people that became the Métis had its beginning west of the Great Lakes – mainly the Red River Valley and the interior plains of North America (and to a lesser degree on the western shore of Hudson Bay) as early as 1740. This was where European (English, French and Scottish) trappers met Aboriginal women, creating unions which produced children of mixed blood. By 1770 villages in these areas had large populations of individuals with mixed ancestry, though at this time these people did not identify themselves as a separate ethnic group. ##Fuelled by Rivalry The crystallization of the Métis identity is due in part to the motives of the fur trade. The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) was incorporated in 1670 out of London and soon claimed a …

The Metis have been permanently settling on Turtle Mountain for over a hundred years.