Archive for December, 2016

Otipemsiwak Magazine Chronicles Summer and Fall Activities at the Métis Nation of Alberta

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The MNA was bustling with activity during the summer and fall months! We welcome everyone to read up on MNA current events in Otipemisiwak, our electronic magazine and the voice of the Métis Nation in Alberta. Issue 3 of 2016 is now available online and includes a retrospective of both the 88th Annual General Assembly and Métis Week. Also included in this issue are stories from our community members including the Canadian cruiserweight boxing champion Rob Nichols, rodeo stars Debbie Hertz and Terryl Woodward, and art prodigy, Kane Pendry!

If you have a story idea, please contact April Magee at 780-455-2200, or email amagee@metis.org.  

  • Click here to download the full magazine!
  • Click here to download previous magazines, and to subscribe to our electronic newsletter mailing list.

 

President Poitras endorses reconciliation advancements announced during meeting with Federal Government

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The future is looking bright for the Métis Nation! On December 15th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made some groundbreaking declarations during a meeting with Indigenous leadership from across the nation. The meeting is the second time the Federal Government has met with Indigenous leaders in the past two weeks—the first meeting being a forum on growth and climate change hosted in Ottawa on December 9th.

The meeting was attended by many Federal Government officials, including Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett. Also in attendance were leaders from the Métis National Council (MNC) Board of Governors, including MNC Vice-President David Chartrand, Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation of Ontario President Margaret Froh, and Métis Nation British Columbia President Clara Morin Dal Col. 

During the meeting, the Prime Minister made three announcements with regard to advancing reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and the Métis Nation. In a statement released on December 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced:

First, we will create permanent bilateral mechanisms with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the four Inuit Nunangat Regions, and the Métis National Council and its governing members. In this Kelowna-like process, every year, we will meet to develop policy on shared priorities, and monitor our progress going forward. Similar meetings with key Cabinet Ministers will take place at least twice each year. Second, we will establish an Interim Board of Directors to make recommendations on the creation of a National Council for Reconciliation. The Interim Board will begin an engagement process to develop recommendations on the scope and mandate of the National Council. Third, we will provide $10 million to support the important work of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation located at the University of Manitoba, as recommended in Call to Action 78. This contribution will help to ensure that the history and legacy of Canada’s residential school system is remembered.1

MNA President Audrey Poitras fully supports the push toward reconciliation. “For too long, Métis people have been on the outside looking in,” said President Poitras, “this announcement bodes well for the inclusion of Métis in an important political arena where key decisions are made. We are very pleased to witness such commitment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Federal Government. I am optimistic that these promises will open new doors for the Métis Nation of Alberta as we move closer toward the ultimate goal of advancing Section 35 Métis rights, reconciliation, and establishing a new relationship with Canada.”

Media Contact:
April Magee
Métis Nation of Alberta
tel: 780-455-2200
email: amagee@metis.org

  1. Trudeau, Justin “Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.” 15 December 2016, http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/12/15/statement-prime-minister-canada-advancing-reconciliation-indigenous-peoples

MNA Christmas Office Closure

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We are taking special measures to let everyone know Métis Nation of Alberta Provincial Office will be closed for the holidays, beginning 12 pm on Tuesday December 20, 2016, and will resume regular business hours January 3, 2017. As we take this time to be with our families, we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Notice to Members on Changes to MNA Bylaws

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Based on the longstanding direction from members and successive legal victories on Métis rights and related issues, including the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Daniels v. Canada in April 2016, the Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”)—which includes its Provincial, Regional, and Local Councils—will be attempting to pursue negotiations with the Crown aimed at ensuring Métis rights and self-government are recognized in Alberta. This includes dealing with Métis harvesting rights, the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate as well as addressing outstanding Métis claims against the Crown related to Métis lands and scrip.

With this in mind, all MNA members were given advance notice, as required by the MNA Bylaws, back in the summer of 2016 that a series of Special Resolutions would be considered by the 88th MNA Annual General Assembly (“AGA”) on Métis rights issues. The AGA was held on August 6th & 7th, 2016 at Métis Crossing near Smoky Lake. At the AGA, two of these Special Resolutions were passed by the required majority to amend the MNA Bylaws. Copies of the two Special Resolutions that were passed are attached to this notice. A copy of the updated MNA Bylaws are available at www.albertametis.com for your review.

Specifically, these two Special Resolutions amended the MNA Bylaws to add the following objective for the MNA to pursue: “to negotiate, on behalf of the Métis in Alberta, a modern day treaty relationship with the Crown through a “land claims agreement” or other arrangement as called for and contemplated within the meaning of section 35(3) of the Constitution Act, 1982.” The AGA also approved the following Oath of Membership, which all new applicants for MNA membership will be required to affirm:

I agree to the Métis Nation’s Bylaws and policies, as amended from time to time, and, voluntarily authorize the Métis Nation to assert and advance collectively-held Métis rights, interests, and claims on behalf of myself, my community and the Métis in Alberta, including negotiating and arriving at agreements that advance, determine, recognize, and respect Métis rights. In signing this oath, I also recognize that I have the right to end this authorization, at any time, by terminating my membership within the Métis Nation.

This Oath of Membership makes clear that, in applying for membership in the MNA, individuals voluntarily authorize the MNA to pursue on their behalf the objectives of the MNA. These objectives include to “promote, pursue, and defend the Aboriginal, legal, constitutional, and other rights of Métis in Alberta.” This mandates the MNA to advance the collectively-held Métis rights, interests and claims of its members in negotiations. Through the MNA’s democratic governance structures and the AGA, the MNA receives ongoing mandates and direction from its members. The Supreme Court of Canada has also recognized that Aboriginal peoples may authorize a “group or organization” to advance their collectively-held Aboriginal rights, interests and claims.

Members of the MNA who wish to end the MNA’s authorization to advance their collectively-held Métis rights, interests, and claims through negotiations may withdraw their membership by sending or delivering a written notice to the MNA. All MNA members who have not asked for their membership to be cancelled will be deemed to have authorized the MNA to advance their collectively-held rights, interests and claims as set out in the Oath of Membership.

The MNA is committed to building a strong Métis Nation based on Métis rights. In order to receive updates on our progress please visit our webpage, ask to be added to our electronic mailing list or follow our Facebook page. Please note that this notice replaces the previously issued notice on this issue dated December 6, 2016.

Audrey Poitras
MNA President
December 14, 2016

 

Click here to download the full PDF notice. 

 

 

Métis Week Art Contest Winners

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We have our 2016 winners for our Métis Week Lapel Pin Art Contest! This year we had so many great submissions and were immensely delighted by the talent. In the 3 – 7 age category, seven-year-old Clarity Kruk’s cheerful illustration of a Métis fiddler in the mountains has won. The 8-12 age category was our biggest and tightest category. In the end, it was ten-year-old Berg Felsing who won with his striking portrait of Louis Riel. In another tight category, fourteen-year-old Giogianna Leddy took the 13-17 with her delightful composition of Métis cultural items.