There were about eight or nine different Métis flags. Some represented Métis communities, others belonged to particular Métis families or special groups. Out of all the flags, one has been brought back into use. It is the ‘lazy eight’ (figure eight laying sideways) figure or infinity symbol in white on a sky blue background. The infinity symbol represents two distinct and vibrant cultures, those of European and indigenous North America, bringing together a new culture, the Métis.
The sky blue background of the flag emphasized the infinity symbol and suggests that the Métis people will exist forever. Nobody is quite sure why the Métis chose the two colours, blue and white, but some people seem to think it was because those were the colours of the North West Company, the fur trading firm which employed most of the French Michif-speaking Métis. It is also a resemblance to the blue and white flag of St. Andrew, the national flag of Scotland. The blue and white is also the traditional colours of French Canada, the province of Quebec.
The first flag ever used by the Métis was introduced in 1815. The North West Company made the flag. It was red with a white figure ‘lazy eight’. The Métis were given these flags as special gifts if someone did a special favour for the company. The Métis adopted this symbol as their own symbol of identity.
Once forgotten, and only remembered in oral tradition, the Métis infinity flag was brought back by the Métis pride and consciousness. Today the flag remains a strong symbol of Métis heritage.