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Michel Band

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Michel Band

The Michel Band also called the Michel Caillehoo, Michel Caillehouis, Michel Caillehow, Michel Calahoo, Michel Calistrois, or Michel Calliho Band[1] was a group of "Indians" (typically First Nations people, and in this case Métis people) united in a band government. The band was a party to Treaty 6 with the Canadian government, having signed an adhesion to it in 1876. They had an Indian reserve near the present-day Hamlet of Calahoo approximately 40 km (25 mi) northeast of Edmonton, Alberta. Following the Second Riel Rebellion in 1885 many members of the band with mixed heritage choose to take Métis scrip (coupons for land or money) and were removed from the Indian Register.[2] The few remaining members continued as a band until 1958 when they were "enfranchised" (removed from the Indian Register and given the right to vote) en masse by the Department of Indian Affairs and the band was dissolved. This is the only known case in Canadian history of the federal government enfranchising an entire band. In 1985 many descendants of the historic Michel Band regained Indian Status through Bill C-31. They have since that time lobbied the federal government to once again recognize them as an Indian band with Aboriginal and treaty rights.[3]

Many band members trace their ancestry to Louis Callihoo, a Mohawk-Iroquois fur trader from Montreal region who married three local women (a Sekani native and two French-Cree Metis sisters) and started a new band. Iroquois may at one time have been the language of the band, but by the late nineteenth century Father Albert Lacombe wrote that most band members spoke Cree or French,[4] which may also mean that Michif, a mixed Cree-French language, was also present.

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