TO: MNA Members
FROM: Audrey Poitras, President
DATE: January 23, 2014
RE: Update on Metis Harvesting
As you may have already heard, the Supreme Court of Canada did not agree to hear our appeal in the Hirsekorn case. This is extremely disappointing, but we remain committed to our ‘hunt for justice’ in this province. Alberta Metis are not going anywhere and we will not be deterred in continuing to advance our rights as a distinct Aboriginal people.
Next week, the MNA Provincial Council will be meeting with our lawyers and discussing options and next steps. We will be consulting with MNA members, Locals and Regions to see what our people want to do. I will also be meeting with the new Minister of Aboriginal Affairs in Alberta in order to discuss issues related to Metis harvesting and Metis consultation in order to see if some progress can be made on these issues through negotiations.
As MNA President, I still strongly believe we have harvesting rights in southern Alberta that flow from our ancestors―the Metis buffalo hunters of the Plains. I stand by our position that we have rights throughout Alberta as a part of the larger Metis Nation. We will continue to fight for the recognition of our rights throughout the province, but we will need to develop new strategies and approaches as well as respect the law as it currently stands in Alberta while we continue to push forward.
We have to remember that our ancestors never stopped fighting to have their distinct identity as Metis and rights recognized. Neither will we! One day true justice will be achieved for our people. Unfortunately, today wasn’t one of those days. But we will start writing a new chapter starting tomorrow.
Best regards … Audrey