The Métis (/meɪˈtiː/; Canadian French: [meˈtsɪs]; Michif: [mɪˈtʃɪf]) are an indigenous people of North America. They developed as the mixed-race descendants of unions between, generally, First Nations women and French or British men, but over time there were more intermarriages within the group. The term historically described all mixed-race people of First Nations and other ancestry. Within generations in the 19th century, particularly in central and western Canada, a distinct Métis culture developed. Since the late 20th century, the Métis people have been recognized by the government of Canada as one of the official Aboriginal peoples, with formal recognition equal to that given to the Inuit and First Nations peoples.