Not all Voyageurs were Metis...some just lived with the natives
Some people mistakenly believe that any early fur trader from New France must necessarily be at least part Indian (i.e. Metis/Chicot). However, this was not always the case. While some indeed did have Indian bloodlines, others simply lived with the Indians and called themselves names like 'Chicot' out of simple affinity to the Indians and the half-breeds who lived among them.
This phenomenon is shown in a contemporary account describing early mixed-blood people and non-mixed bloods living in the Great Lakes region. In his account, Johann Georg Kohl makes the following observation:
“Où restez-vous?” I once asked a Voyageur, who had taken a seat near us in a Canadian fishing-hut. In Canadian French this means so much as, “Where do you live?—where is your home?” “Où je reste? je ne peux pas te le dire. Je suis Voyageur—je suis Chicot, monsieur. Je reste partout. Mon grand-père était Voyageur: il est mort en voyage. Mon père était Voyageur: il est mort en voyage. Je mourrai aussi en voyage, et un autre Chicot prendra ma place. Such is our course of life.” (This translates to: “Where do I stay? I cannot tell you. I'm Traveler-I'm Chicot, sir. I stay everywhere. My grandfather was a traveler: he died while traveling. My father was a traveler: he died while traveling. I will also die while traveling, and another Chicot will take my place. Such is our course of life."
"I must remark here, in explanation, that my Canadian had some Indian blood in his veins, either on the father or mother's side, and hence, jestingly, called himself “Chicot.” That is the name given in Canada to the half-burnt stumps, and has become a nickname for the half-breeds. They also call themselves, at times, “Bois brûlés,” or “Bois grillés,” in reference to the shades of color that bronze the face of a mixed breed."
"Frequently, too, pure-blooded French Voyageurs, if they lived entirely among the Indians, and intermarry with them, are counted among the Chicots. How much these French Voyageurs identify themselves with the Indians against the Anglo-Saxons, I had often opportunity of seeing. When they spoke of the irruption of the Americans into the country round Lake Superior, they used nearly the same language as the Indians. A pure French Canadian, with whom I spoke about the old Canadian songs, thus expressed himself on one occasion to me: “Depuis que les blancs sont entrés dans le pays, nous n'usons plus de ces chansons-là. Formerly,” he added, “when the white men were not so numerous here, we Voyageurs were always entre nous. Then there was a pleasure in singing, we knew that everybody was acquainted with any song begun, and would join in. But now, if a party of Voyageurs meet, there are often so many Britons, and Scotch, and Irish, and Yankees among them, that when one begins singing there is often nobody who knows how to join in. Hence we prefer remaining quiet. C'est bien triste à cette heure.”
From Kohl, Johann Georg, and Lascelles Wraxall Sir. 1860. “Kitchi-Gami: Wanderings Round Lake Superior.” London: Chapman and Hall.
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities