Metis and the Medicine Line

Creating a Border and Dividing a People

By Michel Hogue

344 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 17 halftones, 3 maps, notes, bibl., index

Not for Sale in Canada

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2105-0
    Published: April 2015
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2106-7
    Published: April 2015
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4771-3
    Published: April 2015

David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History

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Awards & distinctions

2016 Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize, Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Clio Prize, The Prairies, Canadian Historical Association

Shortlist, Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, Governor General's History Award for Scholarly Research

Finalist, 2016 Canada Prize in the Humanities, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Born of encounters between Indigenous women and Euro-American men in the first decades of the nineteenth century, the Plains Metis people occupied contentious geographic and cultural spaces. Living in a disputed area of the northern Plains inhabited by various Indigenous nations and claimed by both the United States and Great Britain, the Metis emerged as a people with distinctive styles of speech, dress, and religious practice, and occupational identities forged in the intense rivalries of the fur and provisions trade. Michel Hogue explores how, as fur trade societies waned and as state officials looked to establish clear lines separating the United States from Canada and Indians from non-Indians, these communities of mixed Indigenous and European ancestry were profoundly affected by the efforts of nation-states to divide and absorb the North American West.

Grounded in extensive research in U.S. and Canadian archives, Hogue's account recenters historical discussions that have typically been confined within national boundaries and illuminates how Plains Indigenous peoples like the Metis were at the center of both the unexpected accommodations and the hidden history of violence that made the "world's longest undefended border."

Published with support provided by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

About the Author

Michel Hogue is assistant professor of history at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
For more information about Michel Hogue, visit the Author Page.


“Particularly effective in documenting how questions of race and nationality as well as the disappearance of the buffalo and the emergence of a more well-defined border determined the fate of the Plains Metis...Recommended.”--Choice

“Changes the terrain of our understanding.”--American Indian Culture and Research Journal

“An important and useful book, exhaustively researched and well written.”--Western Historical Quarterly

“An important addition to the Metis studies canon.”--Canadian Journal of History

“One of the best studies written about the western Canadian-US borderlands.”--Labour/Le Travail

“[A} substantial historical achievement . . . in the field of Metis history.”—Canadian Historical Review

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