Rooster Town

The History of an Urban Métis Community, 1901–1961

Reviewed by Danielle Chartier

Posted November 20, 2019

Rooster Town is a well researched academic examination of a Métis settlement in what’s now south-central Winnipeg as well as of the role played by settler colonialism.

The first chapter briefly explores the history of the Red River Métis and how they began to establish this settlement in the part of the city now known as Fort Rouge. Four subsequent chapters are chronological studies of the community’s development — through its establishment, growth, and eventual dissolution.

Writers Evelyn Peters, Matthew Stock, and Adrian Werner are specialists in urban social geography, social policy, and Canadian and urban history. They use government and genealogical records, as well as archival materials, to follow several families through their time in Rooster Town, between 1901 and 1961. While their focus is on this particular settlement, similar communities existed in urban centres across Western Canada.

Maps of the community show where each family lived and moved over the years, while family photos and family trees help to tell the stories of the community’s residents. Rooster Town takes important steps toward building a greater understanding of Métis and urban history in Canada.

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This article originally appeared in the December 2019-January 2020 of Canada’s History.

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