Fort McMurray, Alberta – February 26, 2020 – Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Locals from throughout Northeastern Alberta are rallying against efforts being made by some individuals to create self-styled ‘Métis Community Associations.’
Within Region 1 (Northeastern Alberta), the MNA represents 3,134 registered citizens who are verified Métis rights-holders. These Métis rights-holders mandate the MNA, its Regional Councils and Locals to represent them, including dealing with collectively held Métis rights and claims. These 3,134 MNA citizens are the majority of the Métis population in locations across Northeastern Alberta, including, Fort Chipewyan, Fort McMurray, Fort McKay, Buffalo Lake, Willow Lake, Athabasca Landing, Owl River, Big Bay, Anzac, Chard, Conklin and Lac La Biche.
Now, a few individuals from various self-styled and newly created ‘Métis Community Associations,’ are attempting to speak for over 3,000 Métis rights-holders without even engaging these citizens and without any consultation, authorization or transparency. They are attempting to sign documents in the name of Métis communities without even talking to those communities’ members ensuring legitimate Métis rights-holders are engaged.
The Fort McKay Métis Community Association (“FMMCA”) is a self-styled entity that is not a part of the MNA. The MNA’s objection to the FMMCA include:
- The FMMCA is a private entity incorporated under the laws of Alberta. It is controlled by a few individuals and is not accountable to any rights-bearing Métis community or the Métis Nation.
- There is no clarity on the FMMCA’s membership, and some of its members are registered as First Nation, do not even live in Fort McKay and may not even be Métis.
- Alberta courts dismissed the FMMCA’s claim that it solely represents the Fort McKay Métis community for the purpose of consultation to the exclusion of the MNA.
- The current leadership of the FMMCA unsuccessfully ran for leadership in the MNA’s 2018 elections and then the group decided to “break away” from the MNA.
- The current leadership of the FMMCA is attempting to dissolve MNA Local #63 Fort McKay without the permission of the MNA or the members of the Local, and after they have transferred assets in the MNA Local’s name. The MNA is in the court fighting these attempts.
The MNA represents over 42,000 verified Métis Nation citizens across Alberta and has been the democratic self-government of the Métis Nation within Alberta for over 90 years. The MNA has the only objectively verifiable registry of Métis Nation citizens that is relied upon by both Canada and the Alberta Government to identify legitimate Métis rights-holders in Alberta. The MNA is also the only recognized Métis government in Alberta that is in self-government negotiations with Canada based on a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement that was signed in June 2019.
Comments from MNA Regional and Local leadership:
“We are coming together so Métis citizens in northeastern Alberta and the Métis Nation know what is going on. The MNA is not asserting control over Locals or taking over consultation. The MNA has already made it clear that it will not be taking any resources from the agreements MNA Locals negotiate with industry.”
President, MNA Local #1935 Fort McMurray
“What’s going on is divide and conquer; neighbours, friends and families are being divided by these tactics. A handful of self-interested people in a room in Fort McMurray can’t make decisions for all of our communities or the Métis Nation. Our people’s voices need to be heard. Last week, our community in Fort Chipewyan rejected breaking away from the MNA. Now, a few individuals want to overturn the will of our citizens. This is not right.”
President, MNA Local #125 Fort Chipewyan
“We are calling for accountability and transparency. Our citizens and governments need to know these privately controlled ‘Métis Community Associations’ are not a part of the MNA or the Métis Nation within Alberta’s self-government. We are on the path to self-government. A few self-interested individuals are not. People need to know that.”
President, MNA Local #2097 Lac La Biche
“Individuals cannot be allowed to use the MNA’s name and our legitimacy as the government of the Métis Nation within Alberta to negotiate millions of dollars from oil sands developers and then take those benefits away. What is being proposed by this small group of individuals will have a major impact on our people. A move in this direction, is comparable to taking food from the tables of Métis families who bear the burdens and impacts of resource development on their rights. We can’t let a few individuals ignore the collective and democratic will of the majority.”
James A. Cardinal
President, MNA Region One
“Our citizens today believe in the MNA as the Métis Nation government our ancestors built based on Métis rights and democracy. In the end, transparency, accountability and democracy will prevail.”
Vice-President, MNA Region One