Archive for July, 2016

Statement of Principles on Crown Consultation and Accommodation with Métis in Alberta

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Background

The Statement of Principles on Crown Consultation and Accommodation with Métis in Alberta (“Statement of Principles”) will be presented to the Annual General Assembly (“AGA”) of the Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) being held on August 5 to 7, 2016.

The Statement of Principles was developed over a period of 6 months by the MNA Consultation Policy Technical Working Group (“TWG”), the members of which are volunteers appointed to represent each of the MNA’s 6 Regions. Karen Collins and Bev New, the MNA’s Provincial Council Ministers of Métis Rights and Accommodation, were also active participants in the TWG’s work.

It is hoped that the AGA will endorse the Statement of Principles to serve three purposes:

  1. To be a guiding document for upcoming negotiations between the Government of Alberta and the MNA aimed at developing a provincial Non-Settlement Métis Consultation Policy;
  2. To facilitate negotiations between the MNA’s Provincial, Regional, and Local Councils aimed at achieving consensus based regional consultation protocols that will define the processes by which the Crown and industry will consult with the MNA in specific geographic areas in the province;
  3. To serve as the basis for the preparation of proposed amendments, as required, to the Métis Nation of Alberta’s Policy Guidelines Regarding the Duty to Consult and Accommodate Métis Aboriginal Rights and Interests in Alberta (July 2009).

The Statement of Principles is not meant to be an enforceable document that establishes the consultation process. Rather, it is meant to guide further work that must now be done to develop an enforceable consultation process to which the MNA’s Provincial, Regional, and Local Councils can consent.

CLICK HERE to download the full Statement of Principles on Crown Consultation and Accommodation with Métis in Alberta summary document. Disclaimer: This document is not the Statement of Principles. The full Statement of Principles is available to any MNA citizen upon request. Requests can be directed to Tyler Fetch at tfetch@metis.org or 780-455-2200 Ext. 325.

 

MNA Consultation Policy Technical Working Group Update – July 2016

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July 12, 2016 Meeting Update

Based on feedback collected during the July 6th & 7th MNA Provincial Council meeting, the July 12, 2016 TWG meeting focused its discussions on the finalization of a draft MNA Consultation Principles document, titled “Statement of Principles on Crown Consultation and Accommodation with Métis in Alberta”.

After edits, the draft will be circulated prior to the August MNA AGA, where it will be presented to the MNA membership on August 5th.  The TWG also discussed the preparation of a presentation for the AGA.

Next steps include presenting the Statement of Principles document to the MNA AGA and once approvals and direction are provided by MNA members, the TWG will take the collected feedback, make any appropriate edits and begin to move to the next phase in the Metis consultation policy development process with the Government of Alberta.

Next Meeting

The TWG has not scheduled a follow up face to face meeting but will likely meet following the AGA to discuss next steps after receiving direction from the membership.

The TWG may hold one last teleconference prior to the AGA for final agreement on the Principles document and to confirm a communications strategy including posts on social media to create awareness.

 

Ministerial Special Representative on Section 35 Métis Rights Key Findings Summary Document

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Métis Nation of Alberta Legal Counsel have provided a summary document of the Ministerial Special Representative Report on Section 35 Métis Rights. The summary offers an overview of key findings of the report. The summary report is available online here: http://albertametis.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/M%C3%A9tis-Nation-of-Alberta-MSR-Report-on-Metis-Rights-Short-Summary.pdf

Métis Nation of Alberta Commends Work of Ministerial Special Representative on Métis Section 35 Rights

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Report Sets Stage for Nation-to-Nation Discussions with the Federal Government

(July 21, 2016) — Today, Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) President Audrey Poitras offered her thanks and appreciation to Mr. Thomas Isaac—Canada’s Ministerial Special Representative (“MSR”) on Métis Section 35 Rights—for his helpful and thorough report on how to advance reconciliation with the Métis Nation.

Mr. Isaac’s report, entitled, “A Matter of National and Constitutional Import” was publicly released today and comes after he was appointed in June 2015 to meet with the MNA, other Métis Nation governments, provinces, territories and other interested parties in order to assess the current state of affairs and provide independent advice and recommendations on a “way forward” on Métis Section 35 Rights. A copy of the report is available at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1467641790303/1467641835266.

Mr. Isaac’s report makes 17 recommendations and includes key findings that should guide future federal action on Métis Section 35 Rights issues, including, the need for:

  • the development of a Section 35 Métis Rights Framework that will be implemented with Métis governments such as the MNA who represent Métis rights-holders that meet the legal framework set out in the Supreme Court of Canada’s Powley (Recommendation #16)
  • Métis inclusion within existing federal claims processes available to other Aboriginal peoples or the development of a new Métis-specific claims process to address unresolved Métis claims flowing the “the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range and its effects on Métis harvesting activities, … the implementation of Dominion Lands Act [Métis] scrip commissions … and various claims against governments for the failure of the Crown to consult with Métis” (Recommendation #9 and MSR Report at p. 30)
  • a ‘whole-of-government’ approach for improved information and knowledge about the Métis Nation and Métis Section 35 Rights amongst federal officials and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada regional offices, including improving federal Crown-Métis consultation processes through negotiated agreements. (Recommendations #1, 4, 5, 10, 11)
  • timely, stable and long-term federal funding to support Métis governments like the MNA, including permanent support for the MNA’s centralized Registry that has registered over 35,000 Métis citizens and Section 35 Métis Rights-Holders throughout Alberta since 2004. (Recommendations #2, 6)
  • a comprehensive review of existing federal programs and services available to Indigenous peoples as well as all future federal initiatives to ensure they deal with the Métis distinctly and equitably, including avoiding lumping the Métis in with non-status Indians or dealing with Métis through pan-Aboriginal or urban Aboriginal policies. (Recommendation #3)

In addition to his recommendations to the Government of Canada, Mr. Isaac noted the ongoing “irritation” the previous Alberta Government’s policy on Métis harvesting rights continues to have on Crown-Métis relations.  Specifically, Mr. Isaac wrote:

The 2004 interim Métis Harvesting Agreement (2004 Agreement) between Alberta and the MNA recognized the Métis right to harvest for food by members of the MNA at all times of the year on all unoccupied Crown lands throughout Alberta without a licence. In 2007 this agreement was terminated by Alberta and replaced unilaterally with a policy that recognized 17 Métis communities north of Edmonton to harvest generally within a 160km radius of the community. The termination of the 2004 Agreement is a significant irritant for the Métis in Alberta. This in turn affects who Alberta consults with regarding potential adverse effects to Métis harvesting rights.  Alberta, the MNA and the Métis Settlements General Council should discuss and attempt to resolve the termination of the 2004 Agreement so that the ultimate framework to manage Métis harvesting rights in Alberta is based on Mutual agreement, as the 2004 Agreement contemplated.” (MNR Report, p. 23)

President Poitras commented, “I am very pleased that Mr. Isaac’s report, which recognizes the MNA’s ‘comprehensive citizenship registration system’ as well as our ‘well-developed program and service delivery systems’ for all Alberta Métis.  What is apparent in his report, however, is the need for progress with the MNA on Métis rights, Crown consultation and self-government issues.  We look forward to working with the Government of Canada as well as the Alberta Government to advance these issues of fundamental importance to Alberta Métis.”

The MNA is the representative government of Métis Nation citizens and Métis in Alberta. For more information, visit www.albertametis.com.

For more information contact:

Sonia Millman
Phone: 780-455-2200 ext. 281
Email smillman@metis.org

 

Related Links

  • Click HERE for the Isaac Report.
  • Click HERE for the Métis Nation of Alberta Summary Document of the Isaac Report. 
  • Click HERE for Minister’s News Release: Minister Bennett Welcomes Thomas Isaac Report on Reconciliation with Métis.

 

Alberta Day a Lively Affair at Back to Batoche Days

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Back to Batoche Days was as lively as ever! A strong sense of friendship, family and community pervaded the festival grounds set against a backdrop of lively fiddle music punctuated with the scent of bannock fresh off the stove. This grand celebration of Métis culture ran from Thursday, July 14th until Sunday, July 17th.

Métis Nation of Alberta once again hosted a successful Alberta Day celebration on Friday, July 15th. The MNA provincial office and each of the six MNA regions sponsored performers to put on a grand show that included the varied artistic stylings of fiddlers, singers and jiggers. We thank all of out talented Métis performers from across the province who came out to give it their all on stage! At the Alberta Pavilion, the MNA Culture Team hosted a pop-up museum with information pertaining to the Battle of Seven Oaks 2016 – a key Métis military resistance indicative of the rise of Métis political consciousness in Canada. The display prominently highlighted Pierre Falcon’s famous song, Chanson de la Genouillère (the Song of Frog Plain), as well as a narrative of the battle by Peter Fiddler.

On Saturday, July 16, a ceremony was hosted in honour of Métis veterans. This year, new walls were installed around the perimeter of the central veteran’s monument and inscribed with the names of Métis veterans from each province. The MNA wholeheartedly supports the development of this monument as a tribute to the important contributions made by Métis veterans to ensure the freedom of our country.

The MNA Pavilion also enjoyed a visit from the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, who stopped by to view the Battle of Seven Oaks display and meet with MNA President Audrey Poitras. Minister Bennett additionally offered a pledge of support to the Métis community during the Batoche opening ceremonies on Friday, July 15th.

We thank everyone involved in making this year’s Back to Batoche Days festival so memorable and we look forward to next year already! For photos of the festival, please check out our online photo gallery here: http://albertametis.com/photos/2016-2/back-batoche-days-2016/

 

Youth Conference & Children’s Gathering 2016

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The Metis Nation of Alberta and University of Alberta will be hosting a Youth Conference at the 88th Annual General Assembly on Friday, August 5th, 2016 from 9 am to 3 pm.

This year’s Youth Conference “Engaging Youth on Governance and Relationship Building”, will be facilitated by Shalene Jobin and Kirsten Lindquist from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Native Studies.  The agenda for the day is as follows:

9:00  Welcome and Introduction
9:30  “Engaging Youth on Leadership and Governance- 2015 Youth Gathering” Report on Findings
10:00 Break
10:15  Developing a Youth Framework in Alberta
12:00  Lunch
1:00   Developing Healthy Relationships, Networks and Communication Skills
3:00  Wrap Up

It is important to note that the primary objective of the morning session is to develop the framework to develop the youth council for presentation to this year’s assembly as per the Ordinary Resolution #1.

This year’s youth conference will continue on the exciting work of developing a Métis Nation of Alberta youth council. Young people at the previous year’s conference shared wise ideas about Métis youth decision making, and this year, we will be working with attendees to develop a model that works for the young leaders of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Some of the recommendations from last year included offering skills building and learning activities that reflect Métis culture, language, learning more about our connection to land, building healthy relationships, and learning about tools and strategies to lead healthy lives and communities. During the afternoon of this year’s conference, we will have hands on interactive carnival to explore these themes.

The Metis Nation of Alberta will additionally host a Children’s Gathering at the 88th Annual General Assembly on Friday, August 5th and Saturday, August 6th from 9 am to 4 pm both days. Children will learn how to play the fiddle in preparation for a grand finale performance at the AGA evening banquet on Saturday!

Registration for both the youth conference and children’s gathering is available at http://bit.ly/mnalbertayouth or by emailing Cordene Gerlat at cgerlat@metis.org