André Lasnier

Who was the first Metis child born in Canada?

Who was the first Metis child born in Canada? According to the baptism record below, André Lasnier, son of Louis Lasnier and of a Canadian woman, was the first recorded child born of the union of a European man and an Indigenous woman in Canada. The child was twelve when he was baptized in France. The text below, borrowed from  the Yarmouth Vandguard's website and the copy of the baptism record itself, confirms the existence of that Metis child, possibly the first recorded one in Canada. 



NOTE: The information below was borrowed from the Musée Canadien's website. I was originally published in the Yarmouth Vanguard Journal, Tuesday, May 23, 1989.

The document reads thus: "December 27, 1632, was baptized André Lasnier, born in Canada, on the Acadian coast, at Port LaTour, son of Louis Lasnier, native of Dieppe and of a Canadian woman. He was baptized under condition, in case he had not been baptized before. He was estimated to be 12 years old or about. His godfather was Arnaud Dumas... and his godmother was Jeanne Ferrand.”

The godparents signed the document. They are not unknown in the history of Acadia, especially in relation with Charles de LaTour. Arnaud Dumas was a prominent merchant in Libourne and one of the members of the Company of New France, which had been founded in 1627 for the development of Canada by Cardinal Richelieu, First Minister of France. It seems that Charles de LaTour, who had taken that trip to France, went directly to him when he arrived, seeking succour for Acadia, of which he was Governor.

Some learned scholars may object that André Lasnier was not necessarily the first child with European blood born in Canada, outside Newfoundland. It has been written that Louis Hebert, an apothecary, who was in Acadia, off and on, from 1606 to 1613, had had a child in Port Royal (Annapolis) in 1606; or that his wife came over in 1610. The fact is that his wife came to Canada for the first time in 1617 with the only three children that Louis Hebert ever gave her.

In Québec, in its historical realm, it has been said that one of its earliest daughters, Helene Desportes, was born between 1619 and 1621; the fact is that it is less than probable that her parents had yet arrived in Quebec in 1619.

So Port LaTour still holds the title of having witnessed the birth of the first child ever born in Canada with European blood outside Newfoundland.