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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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The BeginningsThe People and Their CommunitiesCulture and Lifeways
The Prairies

The prairies shaped an important time in the Metis story. They fill the centre of the continent, starting where the Canada Shield ends and the tall-grass prairie begins, west and south of the Great Lakes. From there, they spread west to the soaring Rocky Mountains, rising in gradual steps to the short grass prairie below the mountains.

The ecology of the prairies has been transformed by human settlement. Before the arrival of people on the land, the prairies were roamed by enormous herds of bison, and their predators, the plains wolf and grizzly bear. Today, these animal species still exist, but because of settlement, they have come close to extinction in the past. Prong-horn antelope, coyotes, kit foxes, gophers and ferrets fill other niches in the zone. The waterways share some species with the taiga zone, and the area’s more moderate seasonal temperatures allow more reptiles and amphibians.

The natural ecology of the prairies offered a higher carrying capacity than that of the taiga. As a result, it acted as an important reservoir of resources during the fur trade. The carrying capacity was increased by the seasonal migratory pattern of the dominant species, the bison, which allowed areas to rebound after intensive use. The First Nations who lived in the prairies adapted their culture to the migratory habits of the bison.

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Liens Rapides

The Tiaga

The Prairies

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