Archive for November, 2017

Provincial Head Office Closure Notice

Posted on:

The Métis Nation of Alberta Provincial Head Office at 11738 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB will be closed for staff development from Wednesday, November 29 to Friday, December 1. The office will re-open for regular hours Monday, December 4.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Memo: Update on Lawsuit Against MNA

Posted on:

TO: MNA Citizens, Locals, Regions and Provincial Council
FROM: Audrey Poitras, MNA President
DATE: November 24, 2017
RE: Update on Lawsuit Against the MNA

As some of you may be aware, one MNA citizen started a lawsuit against the MNA in November 2016 with respect to two special resolutions duly passed by the 2016 MNA Annual Assembly. This same individual is also challenging the Kikino Métis Settlement’s decision to refuse him membership.
Up until now, I have not issued communications on this lawsuit because we wanted to respect the court process, and, quite frankly, I believe the lawsuit has no legal merit, but rather seeks to advance one individual’s political agenda. Drawing attention to him and his lawsuit is what he—and his lawyer—want. I have not wanted to give them the platform they seek.
With that said, many people have been asking about recent court decisions on this lawsuit that are in the MNA’s favour. In the spirit of transparency, I offer this update.

The Lawsuit Against the MNA
In November 2016, this individual started his lawsuit in his personal capacity (i.e., on behalf of himself and no one else). Since then, the MNA has been forced to incur significant costs to defend against what we believe to be a meritless lawsuit.
Specifically, this individual challenged the passage of the following two special resolutions at the 2016 Annual Assembly:

  • Special Resolution #1 clarified and added the goal of negotiating a modern-day treaty with the Crown to the MNA Bylaws.
  • Special Resolution #2 updated the MNA’s oath of membership to provide further clarity that the MNA—which includes its Regions and Locals—is duly authorized to advance the collectively-held rights and claims of its citizens.

These two special resolutions were passed with overwhelming support from those in attendance at the Annual Assembly. Following their passage, the MNA mailed out over 33,000 notices to all of our citizens making them aware of these developments. Since that time, not a single MNA citizen has withdrawn their citizenship. Nor has it reduced the number of Métis individuals applying to the MNA for citizenship every month.
On the contrary, over the last year, the MNA’s leadership has repeatedly heard from our citizens across the province that they are very excited to see the Métis Nation finally making renewed progress on Métis harvesting rights, a Métis consultation policy and our negotiations with Canada to implement a nation-to-nation relationship and the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Daniels v. Canada.
While the individual advancing this lawsuit may believe it is an effective political strategy to attempt to diminish the MNA in the courts and to work to undermine our negotiations with other governments, I do not believe that the vast majority of the MNA’s citizens agree.

Recent Court Decisions in Favour of the MNA
Over the last few months, the courts have also repeatedly sided with the MNA in relation to aspects of this lawsuit. These successes have included:

  • Both Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Alberta Court of Appeal have rejected this individual’s attempt to obtain the personal genealogies of all of the MNA’s elected leadership and various MNA citizenship lists. The courts found that these demands were “egregious as being clearly irrelevant on its face” and “should never have been raised.” The court awarded the MNA over $16,000.00 in costs against this individual for his actions, which must be paid immediately or his lawsuit cannot proceed any further.
  • The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench rejected this individual’s attempt to amend his lawsuit—on the very day the case was to be heard—in order to significantly expand it with a view to getting access to all of the genealogies of the MNA’s 35,000+ citizens for his personal review. His request for these amendments were denied by the court. As a result of his actions, another $6,500.00 in costs was awarded against him, which must be paid immediately or his lawsuit cannot proceed any further. The following are just some of the conclusions and warnings the judge made:
    [38] I find that [this individual’s] eleventh-hour actions are the cause for the adjournment of the October Hearing, and the consequential waste of scarce judicial resources, time, and money. …
    [47] I reject [this individual’s] contention that the Court or the MNAA is responsible for his last-minute actions or the expectation that the October Hearing would not proceed as originally scheduled. Litigants, and particularly those represented by counsel, are expected to know that a motion filed and served moments before a hearing begins is very likely to result in an adjournment.
    [50] While I am satisfied that these series of events could well be construed as an example of “litigation by ambush”, I cannot conclusively say whether it results from design or misguidance. As such, I cannot find that the conduct is clearly egregious and therefore warranting solicitor-client costs. For the same reason, I do not think it appropriate to yet consider the indicia of litigation misconduct … (emphasis added)

As a part of this recent decision, the court has also now removed all of the previous restrictions agreed to by the MNA with respect to new citizens having to sign the MNA oath of citizenship. As such, all new applicants must now sign this oath in order to obtain citizenship within the MNA. As well, the MNA Registry will be ensuring all citizens who have received their citizenship since October 12, 2016 have a signed oath in their file. All other MNA citizens are deemed to have accepted the oath and do not need to sign the oath.

Simply put, Special Resolutions #1 and #2—as adopted by the 2016 Annual Assembly—are in full force and effect without qualification.
As a result of the actions of this individual and his lawyer, he must now pay over $22,000.00 in costs to the MNA and the Alberta Government before he can file any additional documents related to his lawsuit. At this time, no hearing is scheduled for this matter, and the court has indicated that it is unlikely that it could be heard before 2019. In the meantime, the MNA is fully able to act on the direction from its citizens with respect to the above-noted special resolutions.

I hope this update is informative and addresses the questions some MNA citizens have raised. For those who would like additional information, copies of the court’s decisions on these issues are available at the following website: https://www.justice.alberta.ca/programs_services/courts/Pages/decisions.aspx

A New Chapter Begins in Canada’s Relationship with the Métis Nation of Alberta

Posted on:

Every November, we celebrate Métis Week.  It is a chance to reflect on who we are as a distinct Indigenous people.  November 16 is always an important date in our commemorations.  This year, it marked exactly 132 years since Canada executed Louis Riel.  This year, however, it also marked something far more positive—the signing of a new agreement between Canada and the MNA meant to renew our nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship and advance reconciliation between us.

It should be no secret that the Métis Nation’s relationship with Canada has often been troubled.   Immediately following confederation, Canada began its colonial expansion westward into our homeland. Our leaders were concerned that Canada would not respect our rights, either to our lands or to govern ourselves.  Historically, and still to this day, many choose not to see us as a distinct Indigenous people with collectively-held rights to land, self-determination, and self-government.

The Métis Nation was initially born of the fur trade, but we quickly developed our own language, culture, and identity, distinct from our forebears.  We are not simply “mixed blooded.”   We are a people with all the rights that peoples hold.  We have always been staunchly independent.  We are Otipemisiwak—the free people, the ones who own themselves.  In response to Canadian colonialism, we twice established our own independent governments and took up arms to defend our lands and right to exist.  First in 1870 in the Red River and then in 1885 at Batoche.

In reaction to our resistance, Canada hanged Riel.  Our leaders and people were branded as traitors, simply for defending their homeland.  After 1885, to quell dissent and to secure access to our homeland, Canada offered scrip (essentially a coupon to be traded for land or money) to Métis residing in the Northwest Territories, including present day Alberta, in exchange for the supposed extinguishment of Métis rights.  Instead of dealing with us as a people with collective rights, Canada contrived to divide us, dealing with us as individuals. 

Scrip had a devastating effect on the Métis Nation.  Scrip was nearly impossible for Métis to redeem for actual land, and the scrip system was rife with fraud and abuse.  Overwhelmingly, scrip ended up in the hands of land speculators; our ancestors received next to nothing for it.  Scrip dispossessed us of our land and dismembered our communities.  By the end of the 19th century, the sight of Métis shanties crowding Crown land on the edge of prairie towns was so common that we became known as “the road allowance people.”

But we kept fighting.  We fought to keep our people together.  In 1928, Alberta Métis created the Métis Nation of Alberta to be our collective voice in this province.  Through dedication and sacrifice, we have built the Métis Nation of Alberta into our modern, Métis self-government in the province—even as others continue to diminish our accomplishments.  In recent years, the Métis Nation has won increasing recognition of our nationhood, rights, and claims in the courts.  We have improved the health, education, and housing of Métis in Alberta, but we still have much to do. 

This week, our determination started to bear fruit.  On Thursday, I had the honour of signing a Framework Agreement with Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous relations.  This agreement sets a new course for us and Canada.  It establishes formal negotiations to finally have our Métis self-government recognized.  It commits to dealing with priorities our citizens have identified, like health, housing, and our rights.  Most importantly, it establishes a process to acknowledge and address the sorry legacy of Métis scrip.

We know that significant work lies ahead, but we have never shied away from that.  Our people are ready for change.  We are ready to write a new chapter in Canada and the Métis Nation’s shared story, one that I hope even Louis Riel would be proud of.


– Audrey Poitras

President, Métis Nation of Alberta


To view a copy of the signed framework agreement, click here.

Notice of Special Meeting

Posted on:

Notice is hereby provided of a Special Meeting of the Members of the Métis Nation of Alberta to review and vote on a Special Resolution to amend the Bylaws of the Métis Nation of Alberta Association with respect to the Métis Judiciary Council.

Date: Saturday, December 16, 2017
Time: 10:00 am
Place: Courtyard Edmonton West
10011 184 Street NW
Edmonton, AB, T5S 0C7

Copies of the full Special Resolution, along with the MNA Bylaws and Election Bylaws can be found at the link below: 

To download the PDF Meeting Notice, click here.

If you would like a hard copy mailed to you, please phone Margaret Hawrysh at (780) 455-2200 Ext. 382 or email mna@metis.org.

Special Meeting: December 16, 2017

Posted on:

A Special Meeting of the Members of the Métis Nation of Alberta will be held on Saturday, December 16, 2017 to review and vote on a Special Resolution to amend the Bylaws of the Métis Nation of Alberta Association with respect to the Métis Judiciary Council.

Date: Saturday, December 16, 2017
Time: 10:00 am
Place: Courtyard Edmonton West
10011 184 Street NW
Edmonton, AB, T5S 0C7

Copies of the full Special Resolution can be found on the bylaws page of this website or by visiting any of the six Regional Offices or the Provincial Head Office.
If you would like a hard copy mailed to you, please phone Margaret Hawrysh at (780) 455-2200 Ext. 382 or email mna@metis.org.

To download a copy of the Special Meeting poster, click here.

Free Health Services

Posted on:

During Métis Week 2017, the Métis Nation of Alberta is hosting a pop up health clinic. The clinic will offer a wide range of free, non-insured, and culturally appropriate health services to our Métis Citizens.


Thursday, November 16th 1pm – 6pm

Friday, November 17th 9am – 12pm. 


Métis Nation of Alberta Provincial Head Office, #100 11738 kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB, T5G 0X5

Available Services

Thursday (1pm – 6pm)

  • Free Flu Shots (over 9 yrs)
  • Canadian Blood Services
  • Registered Dietitian
  • Free Teeth Cleaning
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Kinesiologist
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Booth
  • Alberta Foster Parents
  • Blood Sugar & Blood Pressure Monitoring
  • On-the-spot Appointment Booking
  • Diabetes Program Referrals
  • Foot Care
  • Basic Nutrition Services
  • Car Seat Checks, CPR, & First Aid Information
  • Physiotherapy Services (4-6pm)

Friday (9am – 12 pm)

  • Free Flu Shots (over 9 yrs)
  • Canadian Blood Services
  • Registered Dietitian
  • Free Eye Test (under 18 yrs or over 65 yrs)
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Blood Sugar & Blood Pressure Monitoring
  • Kinesiologist
  • On-the-spot Appointment Booking

Download the PDF poster here

Out Now: Otipemisiwak Issue 3, 2017

Posted on:

The Métis Nation of Alberta is pleased to share the latest issue of Otipemisiwak Magazine.

Inside you will find details about the upcoming Métis Week celebrations, interviews with Métis entrepreneurs, and other news concerning the Métis Community.

To view the full magazine click here.

To receive the Otipemisiwak Magazine direct to your inbox, subscribe here.

Environmental Review Survey

Posted on:

The Métis Nation of Alberta is seeking feedback from Métis Citizens on a recent Federal Government discussion paper. The Environmental Review Discussion Paper outlines the changes the Government is considering for Canada’s environmental assessment and regulatory processes that they hope will, among other things, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

The discussion paper is a response to the submissions made to the government concerning the review of the Fisheries Act, the Navigation Protection Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), and the National Energy Board (NEB).

If you would like to submit your feedback, click here

Métis Week Events: Grand Prairie

Posted on:

Awakening Our Spirit

Métis Week Celebrations in Grande Prairie

Pick-up your Métis passport at any participating partners and receive a stamp at any Métis week event. Drop off your passport at the final event for a chance to win the grand prize draw!

Friday November 10th, 2017

City of Grande Prairie – 10205-98 St

Flag Raising by Métis Local 1990
1:30 pm

Native Counselling Services of Alberta – #118, 9728-101 Avenue in the Aberdeen Centre 

Open House 2:30 to 4:30
(780) 532-9359 Office

Tuesday November 14th, 2017

Grande Prairie Regional College On-Campus Friendship Centre – GPRC Room B205
Open House
3-4:30 pm

Grande Prairie Friendship Centre Community Outreach – 10513-98 Ave
Jam Session & Supper
5-7 pm

Wednesday November 15th, 2017

Elders Caring Shelter – 9702-99 Ave

Open House with Bannock Tacos (donations accepted for Bannock Tacos)
12-2 pm

Thursday November 16th, 2017

Grande Prairie Regional College Flag Raising – 10726 106 Ave, Grande Prairie
12:30 pm TBD

Rupertsland Institute – #101, 10109 – 100th Street
Grand Opening – Open House – lunch available
1:30-3 pm

Métis Kitchen Party Featuring Beverly Lambert 
Teresa Sargent Hall
6:30-8:30 pm

*All passport submissions will be entered for a door prize selected at the Métis Kitchen Party on November 16th.

For more information please contact Delaine Lambert-English @ 780-830-6474 or Michéle McCullough at 780-539-0359.

Government building named after Métis activist Muriel Stanley Venne

Posted on:

On Wednesday, October 25, 2017 Premier Rachel Notley announced the building at 142 Street and 123 Avenue, in Edmonton, Alberta, will be named after Metis Nation of Alberta citizen, Ms. Muriel Stanley Venne.

Muriel Stanley Venne and her family members with Premier Notley at the unveiling ceremony, Wednesday, October 25, 2017. Photo courtesy of the Government of Alberta.

Ms. Stanley Venne is a tireless advocate for Métis rights and recipient of many recognitions and awards including the Order of Canada, the Golden Jubilee Medal, and the Diamond Jubilee Medal. Ms. Venne’s career as a human rights advocate began in 1973 when former Premier Peter Lougheed appointed her one of the first commissioners to the Alberta Human Rights Commission. She also founded the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, an organization promoting opportunities for women.

Stanley Venne is a former Vice President of the Mètis Nation of Alberta and represents Métis interests as member of The National Aboriginal Advisory Committee to the Commissioner of Prisons and the Remembering the Children Society. Her passionate and tireless support for Indigenous rights also earned her recognition from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Muriel Stanley Venne Provincial Centre is the first government building the province has named after an Indigenous woman.

At the unveiling ceremony, Notley declared, “[Muriel] is a woman who has fought her whole life to make life better, to make life fair, and to make life more just.”

“I am honoured to be the first Indigenous woman in Alberta to have my name attached to a provincial government building. I hope this is a sign to young women and girls across the country that they can raise their voices and demand to be treated with respect,” Stanley Venne said on Wednesday.

The building, currently being renovated, is set for completion next spring and will serve as a multipurpose government centre.

Read the Government of Alberta’s announcement here.