Archive for January, 2020

Update for MNA Citizens & Harvesters:

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Poaching & Unlawful Trafficking of Fish in Northern & Central Alberta

Yesterday, January 28, 2020 Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement (AFWE) announced the conclusion of a two-year undercover investigation targeting the illegal trafficking of fish in northern and central Alberta. The post on the AFWE’s Facebook page details a network of illegal poachers and buyers of fish from High Prairie, Faust, Slave Lake, Morinville, Edmonton, Vegreville, Bashaw, Castor, and Halkirk.

“The fish were netted primarily in Lesser Slave Lake and Winagami Lake under the guise of Métis and Treaty domestic fishing rights,” the post explains.

As this case allegedly involves Métis Albertans, the MNA wants to ensure all citizens and harvesters are aware of this situation and its impact on our harvesting rights cause. AFWE explains they have charged 33 individuals with 80 counts under the General Fisheries (Alberta) Regulations, but it is not clear how many of the 33 people claim Métis harvesting rights. It is also unclear if this case is one of Métis commercial fishing rights. Commercial hunting, fishing, and trapping has always been a part of Métis livelihood and MNA continues to assert these rights and is negotiating with Alberta to have them recognized.

The MNA is reaching out to Alberta Environment and Parks regarding the case and the irresponsible and unnecessary reference to the “guise of Métis and Treaty domestic fishing rights.”

These allegations do not represent the behaviour or beliefs of Métis harvesters in Alberta. In fact, the Métis have always been and continue to be conservation focused. For generations our people have harvested this land responsibly, taking only what they need for their families to thrive.

In 2018, 800 Métis harvesters attended engagement sessions held collaboratively by the MNA and the Government of Alberta. At these sessions, they shared their main concerns around harvesting impacts and rights. Some of the top priorities for Métis harvesters included: more effective reporting mechanisms to ensure conservation efforts are adequately informed, educating young Métis harvesters on conservation practices, enforcing respect for land, water, and animals among all Métis harvesters.

With conservation of our natural resources as one of our core values, the MNA and Métis harvesters in Alberta do not condone poaching or overharvesting in any way, for any reason. Anyone found guilty of doing so should face the appropriate charges, so their actions do not impact the rights of law-abiding Métis and other Alberta harvesters.

As a self-governing nation, the MNA will need to address matters of this nature with Métis Harvesting Regulations developed by Métis for Métis. This task will fall to a Métis Harvesting Council that is currently being formed.

As more news on this investigation becomes available, the MNA will share updates on social media and on our website. If you have any concerns about this investigation or your harvesting rights, please reach out to our MNA harvesting team at cLetendre@metis.org or 780-455-2200. If you’d like to read more about what we heard at the 2018 engagement sessions or our ongoing negotiations on Métis harvesting rights in Alberta, click here. You’ll also find more conservation information attached below on the harvesting conservation card sent to all approved Métis harvesters in Alberta.


Métis Governments Moving Forward

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Front row (L-R): President Glen McCallum, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan; President Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation of Alberta ; President Margaret Froh, Métis Nation of Ontario.
Back Row (L-R): Tom Isaac, Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, Jason Madden, Partner, Pape Salter Teillet LLP, Zachary Davis, Senior Associate, Pape Salter Teillet LLP.

January 16, 2020
Edmonton, AB – The Métis Governments of Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan held a historic Tri-council meeting this week in Edmonton, Alberta from January 14 to 16, 2020.
This meeting marks the first time elected representatives of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), the Métis Nation of Alberta, and the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan (MNS) have assembled together since
signing Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreements (MGRSA) with Canada in June 2019. Collectively, they represent over 200,000 rights-bearing Métis people.

Over the three days, the primary focus was on identifying common priorities, mutual beneficial opportunities and enhancing collaboration and cooperation between the three Métis Governments.

The Tri-council delegates passed a resolution: calling for more transparency and accountability from the Métis National Council (MNC); affirming that self-government and rights related discussions and
negotiations must occur between Canada and the Métis Governments, not through the MNC; and directing the creation of a working group to explore potential reform of the MNC.

The Tri-council delegates also passed a joint declaration to continue to work together at the national level in their ongoing collaborations and negotiations with Canada. As well, they will work to develop a
memorandum of understanding that formalizes the relationship of the Métis Governments at the national level for consideration at a future Métis Government Tri-council meeting.

Increasingly the MNO, MNA, and MNS have been working together to advance common interests trilaterally and to develop shared and balanced solutions to advance reconciliation, self-governance, and
community well-being.

Background
• As a distinct Indigenous people Métis possess the inherent right to self-government and selfdetermination.

• Métis have demonstrated self-government, Métis Laws and Métis legal traditions ever since the Provisional Métis governments established in 1869/70 and 1885.

• Aboriginal rights of Métis are recognized in Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and were further set out in The Supreme Court of Canada’s 2003 Powley decision.

• The Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation of Ontario, and Métis Nation-Saskatchewan all signedFramework Agreements for Advancing Reconciliation with the government of Canada between
2017 and 2018.

• A core self-government recognition agreement (MGRSA) was signed by Canada and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Métis Nation of Ontario, and Métis Nation-Saskatchewan on June 27, 2019.

By finding common ground for collaboration, the Tri-council Meeting this week furthered the process to formally and legally recognize Métis governments as Indigenous governments in Canadian law. The Self-
Government Agreement signatories will continue to work together to advance Métis issues and rights, including the right to self-government and self-determination.

Quotes
“Over generations, our ancestors honoured Louis Riel’s vision of a self-governing and independent Métis Nation. After decades of struggle and perseverance, our goal was finally realized with the signing of the
self-government agreements with Canada. Now the work begins. This historical Tri-council Meeting is the beginnings of three Métis governments finding strength in unity.”
President Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation of Alberta

“Since our three Métis Governments signed historic Self-Government Agreements this past summer we have been looking for ways to collaborate, to take the gains we have made and really roll up our sleeves
and move forward on self-determination and self-government on behalf of all Métis citizens. This was a historic opportunity to create a shared vision and to finally see the dream of Métis Self-Government
realized.”
President Margaret Froh, Métis Nation of Ontario

“As we continue to collaborate with MNO and MNA, we build a stronger relationship. When we make efforts to work together it brings a future with secure benefits for all Métis citizens. This gathering of
Métis governments has been another step in realizing the dreams of our people and reinforces the importance of self-governance and self-determination.”
President Glen McCallum, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan

 

View the Joint Declaration.
View the Resolution.