As a companion piece of a previous blog: Iles Dupas et du Chicot, I want to share with you the origins of the term sometimes used to designate Métis.
As previously mentioned, Jacques BRISSET and Louis DANDONNEAU were the holders of the title to the area:
The name Chicot was later documented in 1860, when Johann G. Kohl wrote a passage in his book: Kitch-Gami, Life Among the Lake Superior Ojibwa in which he retells his discussion in French with a Métis man he encountered during his travels:
With no other information, Kohl and many after him deduced that Chicot meant its literal translation from French as “half-burnt stumps”, and associated it with the complexion of the Métis he met.
Chicot, like many names given to Indigenous Peoples such as Nipissing, Ahousat, Yellowknives, Mississaugas etc., is in fact a place-name. Chicot is a river that runs into the archipelago between Trois-Rivières and Montréal, between Berthier and Sorel and known today as île Dupas.
The Chicot travels downstream, beginning between St-Gabriel de Brandon and St-Didace and flows South through the communities of St-Cuthbert, St-Norbert to discharge into the Saint-Lawrence at île Dupas. It is one of the many rivers used by Voyageurs, who learned to navigate it from their First Nations kin. As the islands and neighbouring towns became crowded with Settlers attracted to the nearby trading post, Métis paddled their way upstream and built communities along its shores.
It is noteworthy to highlight the names of the communities that were used by Chicots who set up communities along the Red river in what became Manitoba: “Brandon“, “St-Cuthbert” and “St-Norbert“.
A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Canadian Métis, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, Jun 5, 1997
Kitchi-Gami : life among the Ojibway, Johann Georg Kohl, St.Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1985
One of the Family: Metis Culture in Nineteenth-Century Northwestern Saskatchewan, Brenda Macdougall, UBC Press, Jan 1, 2011A Language of Our Own: The Genesis of Michif, the Mixed Cree-French Language of the Métis, Peter Bakker, Oxford University Press, Jun 5, 1997
Contours of a People: Metis Family, Mobility, and History, Nichole St-Onge, Carolyn Podruchny, Brenda Macdougall, University of Oklahoma Press, Dec 18, 2014
Frequently Asked Questions, Métis Nation of Ontario (click for link)