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Half-breed is a term used to describe anyone who is bi-racial. The term is widely used to describe people of mixed Native American (especially North American) and white European parentage. M├ętis is a French term for half-breed.

Prior to 1763 when Canada passed into British hands, most traders with the Indians in northern North America were French, thus half-breeds were usually half French. Later when trading became the province of the Northwest Company of Montreal, and, later, the Hudson's Bay Company half-breeds were more likely to arise from men of Scottish or Orkney origins. There were nearly no white women in the interior where these men spent their working lives. Their offspring, familiar with Indian languages and ways, found ready employment with the trading companies. In a few cases half-breeds became concentrated in communities such as the Red River settlement in Manitoba, and Prince Albert in Saskatchewanmarker.


The term is considered an impolite and rude offensive slur by many.

In Culture

  • In fiction, the word "half-breed" has come to mean an individual whose ancestry consists of multiple species.

Further reading

  • Hudson, Charles. Red, White, and Black: Symposium on Indians in the Old South, Southern Anthropological Society, 1971. SBN: 820303089.
  • Perdue, Theda. Mixed Blood Indians, The University of Georgia Press, 2003. ISBN 082032731X.

See also


  1. Pages 202 to 205, W.P. Clark, The Indian Sign Language, University of Nebraska Press (1982--first published 1885 by L.R. Hamersly), trade paperback, 444 pages, ISBN 0803263090

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