A description of the Red River Metis - 1854
"The Red River settlements are made up of a population mostly of half-breeds, traders of the Hudson's Bay Company and the Fur Company, discharged employe's of these companies, and Indians, representing every nation of Europe—Scotch, English, Irish, Canadians. They speak a jargon made up of these dialects, intermingled with Chippewas and Sioux, "Patois, French," being the prevailing tongue."
"These settlements, started some twenty-five years ago only, now number in the vicinity of Pembina Mountain, alone, some four thousand."
"The men, as a general thing, are much finer-looking than the women, and on the latter depend all the drudgery and camp duties, such as pitching tents, attending to animals, cooking, etc. In regard to costume, the men dress in woolens, usually cloths supplied by the Hudson's Bay Company, of various colors, a coat called the Hudson's Bay coat, with a "capeau" attached, being the prevailing uniform. Belts, finely knit, of various-colored wool or worsted yarn, are worn as sashes; their powder-horns and shot-bags, attached to bands finely embroidered with beads and porcupine work, are worn across each shoulder, before and behind; and many, too, have a tobacco pouch strung to their sashes, in which is tobacco cut, mixed with "kinni-kinnich," and a "fire-bag" containing steel, punk, and several flints. The universal weapon is the short northwestern gun. The women dress in gaudy calico, are fond of beads and finery, and are remarkably apt at making bead-work, moccasins, sewing, and are very industrious."
From ANNUAL REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, 1854