We are dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of this distinct group of Aboriginal people with their unique history, culture, traditions and language.
THE METIS IN MONTANA
Mitchif is the language of the Métis people of Canada & the US, who are the descendants of First Nations women and fur trade workers of European ancestry (French, Scottish, English and Irish Canadians). Mitchif is a mixture of old European and First Nation languages and is still spoken today by some in the Métis community.
The Metis were "people on the move" following the buffalo and looking for employment. Canadian Metis migrated south to Minnesota and the Dakotas and Montana. While there is much written about the Canadian Metis, there is limited information about the Metis community in Montana. In Montana, they settled in Helena, Butte, Choteau, Lewistown, and Deer Lodge. The Montana Metis do not have a reservation.
Mitchif Heritage Keepers, a 501c3 Native led non-profit organization is working to bring a greater awareness of the Metis history and their place in Montana's history. Because there is no land based reservation for the Metis people, it is a challenge to gather the historical information and documents, and preserve their cultural icons.
Mitchif Heritage Keepers supports the preservation of their language as a critical component of Métis culture.
For 25 years, Montana's Metis relatives have met to preserve their heritage and create a space for the youth to learn their history. Now Mitchif Heritage Keepers formally hosts an annual Music and Art Festival that celebrates the history, music, food, language, art and culture of the Metis who live in Montana or share descendants. The festival features workshops by published writers and award winning speakers as well as historical presentations by Metis elders and cooking demonstrations.