The roots of the Métis go back to the first French explorers who penetrated to the interior of Canada, where Canada's Aboriginal People had been living for thousands of years.
Europeans traveling in the wilds had to create alliances with First Nations people who knew and controlled the waterways and transportation routes.
The coureurs-des-bois needed Indian women to cook, prepare their food supplies for winter, make and repair their clothes, heal their wounds, and especially to make their moccasins and snowshoes, which were essential for travel.
Some of these relationships developed into families. The children of these unions, between French Canadians and their First Nations wives, would eventually become the Métis Nation of Canada. Métis comes from a French word meaning mixed.
Taken verbatim from a website called http://www.firstpeoplesofcanada.com