granting a Clan to the Clanless
A lot of people who descend from European fur traders who took Native wives (Metis) often wonder what their clan is. Normally, the clan is passed down the male line and the marriage to a European would negate the passage of a clan to the children of a mixed marriage. However, this was solved during the early genesis of the Metis Nation.
To the Ojibwe of Madeline Island, the French traders seemed to come wearing the face of brotherhood. They seemed genuinely friendly and respectful. Perhaps this was because of their closeness to the Earth and her waterways. The Ojibwe accepted these traders as brothers. The Ojibwe were so sincere in their acceptance that they adopted some of these French people into their nation.
Some of the French traders took Ojibwe wives. Since the Clan System worked on the basis of assigning the children of a marriage to the clan of their father, the Ojibwe adopted these special Frenchmen into the wa-bi-zha-shi'-do-i-daym' (Martin Clan), the clan of the warriors. In this way the children of the Frenchmen were given a clan. It was possibly felt that the acceptance of the responsibilities of this clan would be a worthy test of the sincerity of the newcomers. The French traders must have impressed the Ojibwe with their loyalty because they were accepted, for the most part, fully and completely.
Benton-Banai, Edward. 1979. “Mishomis Book: The Voice Of The Ojibway.” [St. Paul, Minn.: Indian Country Press].
A collaborative effort of members of the Ojibwe and Metis communities