Resources: from Otepayemsuak (Otipayemsoouk / Otipemisiwak) to Métis

This list, brief as it currently appears to be, represents yet another ongoing project for this site. Along with what will become an extensive bibliography of written sources and online sources, it will include links to papers that register my own struggle with coming to terms with academic and corporately politicized understandings [meaning understanding devised by governments and government-recognized and/or sponsored organizations] of what being of Métis descent in Western Canada might mean.

As for the meaning of Otipaymsuak (or any variation thereof): it was a Cree term (spelling variations reflect dialect differences) that translated roughly as ‘the free people’ or ‘their own boss’, meaning people native to North America with Aboriginal family ties, who were not subject to the norms of any particular First Nations band, and likewise free as wage labourers to find remunerative employment where, and with whom, they chose.


Primary Sources of various sorts, written for various reasons, from varied points of view, organized by date of publication:

Samuel Hull Wilcocke, Simon McGillivray, and Edward Ellice, A Narrative of Occurrences in the Indian Countries of North America, Since the Connexion of the Right Hon. the Earl of Selkirk with the Hudson’s Bay Company, And his attempt to Establish a Colony on the Red River; With a Detailed Account of His Lordship’s Military Expedition to, and subsequent Proceedings at Fort William, in Upper Canada (London: B. McMillan, 1817).

Andrew Amos, Report on the Trials in the Courts of Canada, Relative to the Destruction of the Earl of Selkirk’s Settlement on the Red River; With Observations (London: John Murray, 1820).

John West, The Substance of a Journal During a Residence at the Red River Colony, British North America; And Frequent Excursions Among the North-West American Indians, In the Years 1820, 1821, 1822, 1823 (London: L.B. Seely and Son, 1823).

Alexander Ross, Red River Settlement: Its Rise, Progress, and Present State. With Some Account of the Native Races, and Its General History, to the Present Day (London: Smith, Elder & Company, 1856).

Visit to Red River,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 13, no. 77 (October 1856): 665-672.

E. Littell, “The Hudson’s Bay Company,” reprinted from The New York Journal of Commerce, 8 September 1857, in The Living Age 55, no. 702 (November 7, 1857): 363-364.

Henry Youle Hind, Report on the Exploration of the Country between Lake Superior and the Red River Settlement (Toronto: John Lovell, 1858).

Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Select Committee on the Hudson’s Bay Company, Report from the Select Committee on the Hudson’s Bay Company together with the proceedings of the committee, minutes of evidence, appendix and index [London : HMSO, 1858].

People Of The Red River,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 18, no. 104 (January 1859): 169-176.

Henry Youle Hind, Narrative of the Canadian Red River Exploring Expedition of 1857  and of the Assiniboine and Saskatchewan Expedition of 1858. In Two Volumes. Volume II (London: Longman Green, Longman and Roberts, 1860).

John Palliser, Thomas Wright Blakiston, Further Papers Relative to the Exploration by the expedition under Captain Palliser of that portion of British North America which lies between the northern branch of the River Saskatchewan and the frontier of the United States; And between the Red River and the Rocky Mountains, and thence to the Pacific Ocean (London: George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, Printers to the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty, 1860).

Manton Marble, “Red River and Beyond,” [Part I] Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 21, no. 123 (August 1860): 289-311.

Manton Marble, “Red River and Beyond,” [Part II] Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 21, no. 125 (October 1860): 581-606.

Manton Marble, “Red River And Beyond,” [Part III] Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 22, no. 129 (February 1861): 306-323.

S.J. Dawson [Civil Engineer], Report on the Line of Route between Lake Superior and the Red River Settlement (Ottawa: Hunter Rose and Company, 1868).

John Foster, Railway from Lake Superior to Red River Settlement, Considered in a Letter to Hon. Wm. McDougall C.,B., Minister of Public Works (Montreal: John Lovell, 1869).

Alex J. Russel [C.E., Inspector of Crown Timber Agencies, Canada East and West], The Red River Country, Hudson’s Bay and North-West Territories, Considered in Relation to Canada, With the Last report of S.J. Dawson, Esquire, C.E., On the Line of Route between Lake Superior and the Red River Settlement (Ottawa: G.E. Desbarats, 1869).

Alexandre A. Taché, Histoire et origine des troubles du N.-Ouest racontées sous serment par Sa Grandeur Mgr. l’archevê que de St-Boniface ([Montréal? : s.n.], 1869).

Correspondence and papers connected with recent occurrences in the North-West Territories ([Ottawa? : s.n.], 1870).

Canadian Who has Visited Manitoba to Discover the Truth, Ontario and Manitoba ([c.1870]).

[Frederick William Chesson, Alexander Kennedy Isbister, Aborigines Protection Society], Red River Insurrection: Hon. Wm. McDougall’s Conduct Reviewed (Montreal: John Lovell, 1870).

William McDougall, The Red River Rebellion. Eight Letters to Hon. Joseph Howe, Secretary of State for the Provinces, etc., In Reply to an Official Pamphlet (Toronto: Hunter, Rose and Company, 1870).

Louis Riel, “Pour prouver aux nations sauvages que le peuple de la Riviere Rouge ne veut pas les laisser maltraiter par le Canada …” (Maison du Government, Fort Garry, le 23 Mars, 1870)

Alexander Begg, The Creation of Manitoba, Or, A History of the Red River Troubles (Toronto: Hunter, Rose and Company, 1871).

Alexander Begg, “Dot it down” a story of life in the North- West (Toronto : Hunter, Rose, 1871).

Joseph James Hargrave, Red River (Montreal: John Lovell, 1871).

Captain G.L. Huyshe, The Red River Expedition (New York: MacMillan & Company 1871).

M. Bell Irvine, Report on the Red River Expedition of 1870 (London: Harrison and Sons, 1871).

J. Disturnell, Sailing on the Great Lakes and Rivers of America; Embracing a Description of Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan & Superior, And Rivers St. Mary, St. Clair, Detroit, Niagra & St. Lawrence; Also, the Copper, Iron and Silver Region of Lake Suoerior, Commerce of the Lakes, &c. Together with Notices of the Rivers Mississippi, Missouri and Red River of the North; Cities, Villages and Objects of Interest. Forming Altogether a Complete Guide to the Upper Lakes, Upper Mississippi, Upper Missouri, &c. Also, Railroad and Steamboat Routes (Philadelphia: J. Disturnell, 1874).

[Mssrs.] Elliot, and Brokovski, eds., Preliminary Investigation and Trial of Ambrose D. Lepine for the Murder of Thomas Scott, being a full report of the preceedings in this case before the Magistrates’ Court and the several Courts of Queen’s Bench in the Province of Manitoba (Montreal: Burland – Desparats, 1874).

George T. Denison, ed. [attributed], Reminiscences of the Red River Rebellion of 1869 ([c.1874]).

James Carnegie, Earl of Southesk, Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains a diary and narrative of travel, sport, and adventure during a journey through the Hudson’s Bay Company’s territories in 1859 and 1860 (Toronto: J. Campbell, 1875).

General A.L. Chetlain, “The Red River Colony,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 58, no. 343 (December 1878): 47-55.

Canada. Public Accounts Committee, First Report of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts in reference to expenditure on the Canadian Pacific Railway between Fort William and Red River (Ottawa: MacLean Roger and Company, 1879).

Charles Arkoll Bolton, Reminiscences of the North-West Rebellions, With a Record of Her Majesty’s 100th in Canada, and a Chapter on Canadian Social and Political Life (Toronto: Grip Printing and Publishing Company, 1886).

W[illiam] Pearce, Detailed report upon all claims to land and right to participate in the North-West Half-Breed Grant by settlers along the south Saskatchewan and vicinity west of range 26, w. 2nd meridian being the settlements commonly known as St. Louis de Langevin, St. Laurent or Batoche and Duck Lake ([Ottawa? : s.n.], 1886).

C.A. Kenaston, “The Great Plains of Canada,” The Century; a popular quarterly 44, no.  4 (August 1892): 565-581.

R.G. MacBeth, The Making of the Canadian West, Being the Reminiscences of an Eyewitness (Toronto: William Briggs, 1898).

Archer Martin, The Hudson’s Bay Company’s Land Tenures and the Occupation of Assiniboia by Lord Selkirk’s Settlers with a list of Grantees under the Earl and the Company (London: William Clowes and Sons, 1898).

L’Abbé G[eorge] Dugas, Histoire véridique des faits qui ont préparé le mouvement des métis à la Rivière-Rouge en 1869 (Montreal: Librairie Beauchemin, 1905).

John H. O’Donnell, Manitoba as I saw it, from 1869 to date: with flash-lights on the first Riel Rebellion (Winnipeg : Clark Bros., 1909).

Papers &c. published as e-Presentations on this site:

Depiction and Dispossession in The Diviners (2000).

bibliography 3: getting at identity in the Canadian context. [With introductory note on researching and writing about identity.]

“Admitting Enigmatic Identities [as of 2004*]: Towards studying Métis participation in Transatlantic Shipping as an aspect of North American Aboriginal history from 1815-1914”

“Interpreting Identity: A Case Study of Semantic Paradox in Red River Historiography.” Part I: Introduction

“Redressing the Minimal Representation of the North in Canadian Historiography: A Proposal to Examine the Structural Distinctiveness and Material Bases of Contests in the Maritime Workplace on Canada’s Historic Northern Seaboard, from 1670-1914”

Articles and Books:

Rhonda R. Gilman, Carolyn Gilmaqn, and Deborah M. Stultz, The Red River Trails, 1820-1870: Oxcart Routes between St. Paul and the Selkirk Settlement (St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1979). Google Books limited preview

Calvin Racette [Gabriel Dumont Institute, Regina], review of The Free People – Otipemisiwak: Batoche, Saskatchewan 1870-1930, by Diane Paulette Payment, Manitoba History 22 (Autumn 1991), online:

D.N. Sprague, Canada and the Métis, 1869-1885 (Waterloo ON.: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1988). Google Books limited preview:

D.N. Sprague and R.P. Frye, The Genealogy of the First Metis Nation: The Development and Dispersal of the Red River Settlement 1820-1900 (Winnipeg: Pemmican Publications, 1983).

Stewart Raby [Federation of Saskatchewan Indians], review of The Genealogy of the First Metis Nation: The Development and Dispersal of the Red River Settlement 1820-1900, by D.N. Sprague and R.P. Frye, Manitoba History no. 10 (Autumn 1985), online:

Irene M. Spry, “The ‘Private Adventurers’ of Rupert’s Land,” The Developing West: essays on Canadian history in honor of Lewis H. Thomas, ed. John Elgin Foster (Edmonton: University of Alberta, 1983), 49-70.

Theses about Red River, Early Manitoba, and Aboriginal Peoples:

Margaret Jane Bell, “Portage La Prairie from earliest times to 1907,” M.A. thesis (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1926).

Eleanor M. Blain, “The Bungee dialect of the Red River Settlement,” M.A. thesis (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1989).

Norma Jean Hall, “‘A Perfect Freedom’: Red River as a Settler Society, 1810–1870,” M.A. thesis (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2003).

H.A. Hossae, “The area growth and functional development of Winnipeg from 1870 to 1913,” M.A. thesis (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1956).

Barry Kaye, “Some aspects of the historical geography of the Red River Settlement from 1812 to 1870,” M.A. thesis (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1967).

Henry C. Klassen, “The Red River settlement and the St. Paul route, 1859-1870,” M.A. thesis (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1963).

David Grant McCrady, “Living with strangers, the nineteenth-century Sioux and the Canadian-American borderlands,” Ph.D. dissertation (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1998).

Philippe R. Mailhot, “Ritchot’s Resistance : Abbe Noel Joseph Ritchot and the creation and transformation of Manitoba,” Ph.D. dissertation (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1986).

Allen Ronaghan, “The Archibald administration in Manitoba, 1870-1872,” Ph.D. dissertation (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1987). [I’ve been getting a message that the pdf is damaged and cannot be repaired, but I’ve left a message so hopefully the link will work soon]

Frederick John Shore, “The Canadians and the Metis : the re-creation of Manitoba, 1858-1872,” Ph.D. dissertation (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 1991).

Ruth Ellen Swan, “The crucible : Pembina and the origins of the Red River Valley Metis,” Ph.D. dissertation (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba, 2003).

Online Genealogy Search:

Over the years that I have been involved in researching Métis history online (from approximately 1996 to present), many genealogy resource sites that were previously available have changed web addresses or have been taken down. Unfortunately, a web search using the terms ‘Métis Genealogy’ will bring up a number of promising looking possibilities that will prove to be marred by nonoperational links. I will be constantly updating the information below to enlarge it and to provide links that work.

Charles Denney, Métis Genealogy fonds, Glenbow Museum:

Library and Archives Canada, ArchiviaNet, On-line Research Tool, Government of Canada Files database: Accommodates ‘surname, given name’ searches.

Library and Archives Canada, ArchiviaNet, On-line Research Tool, Métis Scrip Records, With instructions for surname search, and additional notification reading, “Please note that this database is no longer being updated. Try our Archives Search for up to date information.”


One Response to Resources: from Otepayemsuak (Otipayemsoouk / Otipemisiwak) to Métis

  1. AL Williams says:

    Thank you for this site. It’s an incredible source! It is informative, well researched, well written and always an absolute pleasure to read.

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