Christmas is a time for traditions and being with family. It is a special time when we express our love of our culture and our love of our family. Below is a short description of how Christmas was celebrated by the Métis at Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota.
This description, from 1936, provides a snapshot into the simple, family-oriented celebration of the holiday:
“The old French and Indian [Métis] spirit of Christmas begins at Christmas Eve with midnight mass. After the services are over we all begin to greet our friends. Then we hurry to get home to the little ones and do our part with Santa Claus.”
“We are awakened in the morning very early, by the sounds of little bugles, trumpets, drums and all sorts of merrymaking toys. The little children with their mouths filled with candy and laughter make all happy and we wish the world a Merry Christmas!”
“When supper was over, individual jigging began. This is a special feature of our dances. The fiddler, with the fiddle casually against his ribs, struck up the Red River jig. One of the best jiggers chose his partner and began...”
Indians at work. (1942). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Office of Indian Affairs.