Current Affairs

December 16: Community Christmas Party

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Join the Métis Nation of Alberta, after the Special Meeting, for a Community Christmas Party with dinner and entertainment.

Date: Saturday, December 16, 2017
Time: 5:30pm Doors Open.
Ticket Price: $10 – Proceeds will be going to Nihgi Métis Seniors Lodge
All funds raised will be matched by the MNA
Location: Courtyard Edmonton West
10011 184th Street NW,
Edmonton, AB, T5S 0C7

Please contact your Regional Office to reserve tickets. Tickets are limited.

Region 1: 780-623-3039 Region 2: 780-826-7483 Region 3: 403-569-8800
Region 4: 780-944-9288 Region 5: 780-849-4654 Region 6: 780-624-4219

Memo: Update on Lawsuit Against MNA

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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

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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.

Special Meeting: December 16, 2017

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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

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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.

When

Thursday, November 16th 1pm – 6pm

Friday, November 17th 9am – 12pm. 

Location 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Youth Art Contest

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We’re looking for submissions for the Métis Week Youth Art Contest. Sketch, paint, or draw your favourite thing about Métis culture for the chance to have your artwork recreated as a lapel pin.

To download the PDF poster, click here.

Contest Information:

  • Age categories: 3-7 years, 8-12 years, and 13-17 years.
  • One winner from each age group.
  • Create original, Métis specific art to be eligible.
  • Names must be legibly printed on the back of artwork, along with the age of the artist,
    and contact information (email & phone).
  • Art work must be at least a letter sized piece of paper 8.5 x 11inches or larger.
  • Winners will be announced on Monday, November 20, 2017.
  • Voting will take place at the Métis Nation of Alberta Open House Thursday, November 16, 2017
    (1:00pm – 6:00pm) and Friday, November 17, 2017 (9:00am-12:00pm).

Submission Deadline:
Monday, November 13, 2017
Submissions can be emailed to tkruk@metis.org or dropped off to the Provincial Head Office:
#100 – 11738 Kingsway NW, Edmonton, AB,T5G 0X5

Métis Week Events: Region 6

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The Métis Nation of Alberta Region 6 Office in Peace River is hosting a series of events beginning Monday November 13th. For further information on any of the below events, please contact the Region 6 Office.

9621-90 Ave
Peace River, AB
T8S 1G8

Phone: 780-624-4219

Monday November 13th 

Métis Flag Flying During Métis Week
Our Métis flag will be flying from November 13th – November 20th to celebrate Métis Week.
Location: Peace River, AB

Tuesday November 14th 

Beyond Sashes & Fiddles
Please join us for the grand opening of Beyond Sashes & Fiddles exhibit.
The exhibit will remain until May 9, 2018.
Location: Peace River Museum Archive & Mackenzie Centre, 10302 99 St, Peace River, AB
Time: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

Wednesday November 15th 

Métis Artist Showcase
Join us at the Library for a Métis Artist Showcase. Bannock and soup will be provided.
Location: Peace River Library, 9807 97 Ave, Peace River, AB
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Monday November 20th 

Region 6 Open House
Learn about Métis awareness, our membership, and enjoy traditional Métis food.
Location: Region 6 Office, 9621-90 Ave, Peace River, AB
Time: 6:00pm – 8:00pm

 

Métis Week in Alberta

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Mark your Calendar!

We are pleased to share all events happening throughout the province in celebration of Métis Week.

To download the full PDF schedule click here.

The full list of events will also appear in the upcoming issue of our Otipemisiwak Magazine, out November 6th.

Métis Week Events: Region 3

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The Métis Nation of Alberta Region 3 Office is hosting a series of events from Monday November 13th to Saturday November 18th. To download the schedule of events click the image below.

Contact

1415 28th Street NE
Calgary, AB
T2A 2P6

Phone: 403-569-8800

Métis Week Events: Region 2

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Métis Week, 2017 celebrations in Region 2 will take place on November 16th with food, dancing, and entertainment. This event promises to be fun for the whole family and are a great opportunity to gather with community.

Open House at Region 2 Office

  • Stew and Bannock served at 12:00pm, along with other platters.
  • Entertainment including fidler and guitarist following lunch.
  • Unveiling of Elders and Members wall. Wall includes photos of some Members and Elders and photos will be added over time.

Contact

5102 – 51 Street
Box 6497
Bonnyville, AB
T9H 2H1

Phone: 780-826-7483

Métis Week in Edmonton 2017

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November 13th – 18th 2017

The Métis Nation of Alberta is pleased to announce the schedule of events for Métis Week 2017! We have planned six days of celebrations to commemorate the outstanding contributions of Métis people to Canada. Beginning with the Louis Riel Commemorative Walk on Monday, November 13th, there is something for everyone, including; City Hall flag raising, Louis Riel Commemorative Ceremony at the Alberta Legislature, MNA open house, Métis Urban Housing 35th Anniversary Gala, senior’s and veterans tea, and much more.

Download the digital Métis Week 2017 calendar

Download the detailed list of events

 

 

Métis Nation of Alberta Responds to ’60’s Scoop Announcement

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For Immediate Release

 

Métis Nation of Alberta responds to ‘60s Scoop Settlement Announcement

by Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett

 

Edmonton, AB October 17, 2017 – Citizens of the Métis Nation of Alberta, The Métis Nation of Alberta is very disappointed in the Federal government’s omission of Métis people from the recently announced compensation program for survivors of the “60’s Scoop.”

Working with the Métis National Council, who have already responded to Minister Bennett, the Federal Minister of Indigenous Relations, MNA is calling for the fair and equitable treatment of Métis Nation citizens who were victimized by this horrendous Government program.

Minister, I truly believed Canada was on the path of doing what is right for Métis people. Don’t let us down.

Throughout everything we do, we will always have one foot firmly rooted in the past, acknowledging the work and the struggles of those who have come before us. Our other foot will always be moving forward, pushing for a better future of Métis pride, Métis rights, and a strong Métis Nation.

In solidarity,

Audrey Poitras
President
Métis Nation of Alberta

 

For more information, contact:

Rolando Inzunza

Director of Communications and Citizen Engagement

Metis Nation of Alberta

780-455-2200 ext. 395

rinzunza@metis.org

Family and Community Gather to Honour Children of Red Deer Industrial School

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Richard Lightning and his daughter Kaia Lamothe pay their respects at Red Deer Cemetery. September 28th, 2017.

On Wednesday September 29th, Indigenous leaders and community members gathered in Red Deer for the unveiling of a memorial stone acknowledging the previously unmarked graves of four Aboriginal students who died at the Red Deer Industrial School. The names of the children buried at the Red Deer Cemetery are: David Lightning, Georgina House, Sarah Soosay, and Jane Baptiste.  They are believed to be from Samson Cree Nation and perhaps from Paul Nation.

The day’s schedule included community stories, a remembering the children prayer led by Shannon McCarthy (Executive Secretary, Alberta and Northwest Conference, The United Church of Canada), and an address from MNA Committee Member and Vice President of the Remembering the Children Society, Muriel Stanley Venne. The day culminated at Red Deer Cemetery where emotional family and community members gathered around the stone to pay their respects.

Creation of the monument was led by the Remembering the Children Society. Its President, Richard Lightning, is the only known relative of any of the children who perished in 1918. He is David Lightning’s nephew.

 

Remembering the Children Society Contact:

Vice President, Muriel Stanley-Venne, 780-479-3634, murielv@shaw.ca

Secretary, Rev. Cecile Fausak. 780-675-7753, cecilefausak@telus.net

 

 

Developing a Métis Consultation Policy: Key highlights from meeting with Métis Nation of Alberta and Minister of Indigenous Relations

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October 5, 2017 Leaders of the Métis Nation of Alberta meet with Minister Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations, and his staff for an initial discussion on a Métis Consultation Policy and a Harvesting Policy for Alberta.

 

Edmonton, AB October 6, 2017 – Leaders from the Government of Alberta and the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) met to begin discussions for an Alberta Métis Consultation Policy. “The meeting is a significant milestone forging a strengthened Nation to Nation relationship” stated the President of the Métis Nation of Alberta, Audrey Poitras.

She continued, “It has been a long time coming. We are excited to get the discussions officially started and begin developing a consultation policy for the Métis Nation and the Province. Crown consultation is about respecting and protecting rights and for far too long the Métis in Alberta have not been consulted. Jointly developing this policy will mark a new era of Crown-Métis relations in the province.”

The MNA has advocated for policy requiring consultation with Métis people for decades. The development of this policy was identified in the Métis Nation of Alberta – Government of Alberta Framework Agreement signed on February 1, 2017. The Framework Agreement outlines how the MNA and Government of Alberta will work together to facilitate the recognition and respect of Métis rights in Alberta, uphold the honour of the Crown, and advance reconciliation.

In his presentation, the Minister of Indigenous Relations, Honourable Richard Feehan, focused on Alberta’s priority initiatives related to Métis consultation. Specifically, launching a dialogue on potential legislation on Indigenous Consultation and a policy on Métis Harvesting. The Minister further outlined his intent to conduct consultation, understand barriers experienced by Métis citizens, and understand Métis peoples’ connection to the land and their role protecting it. Minister Feehan also highlighted the importance of creating a mechanism to provide legislative feedback.

A Métis consultation policy that works for both the Government of Alberta and the Métis Nation of Alberta is crucial for the province’s future. The policy will allow Alberta’s lands and resources to be developed ensuring the Métis Nation, as a distinct Indigenous people, can flourish creating prosperity for the Métis Nation and all Albertans for generations to come.

About the Métis Nation of Alberta
The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is governed by a Provincial Council, comprised of a Provincial President and Vice-President, and six (6) regional Presidents and Vice-Presidents, all democratically elected. The mandate of the MNA is to be a representative voice on behalf of Métis people in Alberta, provide Métis people an opportunity to participate in government’s policy and decision-making process and, most importantly, promote and facilitate the advancement of Métis people through the pursuit of self-reliance, self-determination and self-management. The MNA has been in operations since 1928.

The Métis have an intimate relationship with Alberta’s lands and resources. Métis culture has been shaped by the opportunities Alberta’s forest, rivers, lakes, and prairies provide. Many Métis people still rely on the land and its resources for food and cultural survival.
The MNA looks forward to working with Alberta to develop an Alberta Métis Consultation Policy allowing the Métis to have a say in how land is used and developed, ensuring Métis rights are respected and accommodated.

For more information, contact:
Rolando Inzunza
Director of Communications and Citizen Engagement
Metis Nation of Alberta
780-880-8545
rinzunza@metis.org

Métis Week Events: Region 5

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Métis Week, 2017 celebrations in Region 5 will take place on November 17th with food, games, dancing, and entertainment. The events promise to be fun for the whole family and are a great opportunity to gather with community.

Schedule

12-1:30pm: Stew & Bannock at the Region 5 Office

1:30-4pm: Crib Tournament

9pm-2am: Dance at Faust Métis Centre (previously Northern Lakes College, Faust Campus) with entertainment by Nathan Cunningham

Region 5 Office

353 Main Street North
Slave Lake, AB
T0G 2A3

For more information or to volunteer please contact Emma at (780) 849 4654

Loss of a former Senator and Leader of the Métis Community: Thelma Chalifoux

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The Métis Nation of Alberta was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Thelma Chalifoux. Thelma was a champion for Métis rights and a valued member of the Métis community.

Among her many accomplishments, Thelma was a founding member of the Michif Cultural Institute in St. Albert. She was also the first Métis woman to be appointed to the Senate of Canada and was a recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Thelma was very active within the Métis Nation of Alberta; she sat on our Elders Senate and was an elected Zone 4 official.  She leaves behind a legacy of activism and culture.

The MNA would like to extend our deepest condolences to Thelma’s family and friends.

A Traditional Métis Wake will be held Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 6:00 pm to 12:00 am at the Connelly-McKinley, St. Albert Funeral Home in St. Albert.

Funeral Service will be held on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 11:00am at the Holy Family Catholic Parish, 75 Poirier Avenue, in St. Albert.

Cancelled: Region 4 Annual General Meeting

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The Region 4 Annual General Meeting, scheduled for Saturday, September 30, has been cancelled.

For more information, please contact the Region 4 offices at (780) 944 9288

Click here to view the PDF notice.

Press Release: Métis Nation of Alberta Response to the Conklin Métis Culture Camp Fish Seizure

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Friday, September 22, 2017 – For immediate Release

On Friday, September 15, 2017, an Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer entered a Conklin Métis Community Culture Camp and seized a number of fish being prepared as a learning experience for Métis youth. The fish were taken off the smoking rack and thrown into garbage bags. The Métis Nation of Alberta is appalled by these events.

Teaching Métis cultural values and practices to our young people is crucial to the future of the Métis Nation. Métis cultural camps are designed to be a safe environment in which we can do this. We had hoped that the time had come when Alberta’s enforcement officers would encourage and support our efforts to preserve and transmit Métis culture. Unfortunately, as these events show, we are not there yet.

The Métis Nation of Alberta fully supports all Métis people in Alberta who exercise their right to hunt, fish, trap, and gather for food and cultural purposes. We have reached out to Conklin Métis Local #193 and the harvesters involved in this incident. We will work with them to address the issue, including providing legal support as needed.

The Métis Nation of Alberta has always maintained its opposition to the current Government of Alberta Métis Harvesting Policy, unilaterally imposed on rights bearing Métis citizens and this incident is a prime example of why we remain opposed.

Honorable Richard Feehan, Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations, has apologized for the seizure of the fish at the Conklin Métis Culture Camp and we are encouraged by his words. The Métis Nation of Alberta has committed to working collaboratively with Alberta to review the province’s Métis harvesting policy and to facilitate recognition and respect for Métis rights. This incident, however, again highlights the need for serious improvements in the way the province deals with Métis harvesters. Métis people in Alberta must be allowed to exercise our rights and express our culture without fear of harassment or recrimination.

For more information, please contact Amy Quintal – MNA Harvesting Liaison:

aquintal@metis.org or (780) 455 – 2200

Region 3 Métis Business Mixer

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Join the MNA Region 3 Office for an evening of networking and snacks at their Métis Business mixer on Thursday, September 21st.

You can RSVP to the Region 3 office at (780) 569 2200 or by emailing mlanz@metis.org

 

Notice: Powerline Construction in Fort McMurray

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Construction on the ATCO/Alberta Powerline West Fort McMurray 500 kV project is scheduled to begin on September 25 2017, in various locations between Highway 2 and Martin Hills Road (Townships 72 to 75). Vegetation removal will begin first, followed by foundation installations, tower assembly, and stringing. Following completion of construction, reclamation work will begin. Initial construction work is scheduled to be complete by March 2018.

For safety reasons, traditional land use activities including harvesting will be restricted in and around the immediate areas of active construction.

For more information please contact Bruce Gladue.

bgladue@metis.org

(780) 455 2200 ext. 206

Click here to view the construction rout map.

Garneau Tree Commemorative Ceremony

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Friday, September 15th
University of Alberta

An important mark of Métis heritage in Edmonton, a 140-year-old Manitoba Maple, has sadly reached the end of its life cycle. On the grounds of the University of Alberta stands this historic tree; planted by prominent Métis figure Laurent Garneau and his wife Eleanor, shortly after their move to Edmonton in 1874. The MNA, in collaboration with the University of Alberta,
Garneau descendants, and community members are planning Commemorative Events to celebrate Laurent Garneau’s legacy and the history of the neighbourhood named in his honour.
A ceremony is to be held at the site of the Garneau Tree on September 15th, 2017. The event will include opening and closing prayers by Métis elders, fiddling, and speeches from MNA
President Audrey Poitras, Garneau descendants Duane Zaraska (Minister of Culture, MNA) and David Garneau, and a community member. A kitchen Party, hosted by David Garneau will follow at the Main Gym in Van Vliet Centre (behind the Butterdome).

Click here for more details on the Kitchen Party.

Click here to download a PDF copy of the ceremony invite.

 

Prime Minister Trudeau dismantles INAC & Introduces Two New Departments

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September 1, 2017

On Monday, August 28, Prime Minister Trudeau announced the dissolution of INAC with the creation of two new departments; the Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and the Department of Indigenous Services.

Carolyn Bennett will now serve as the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and former Health Minister Jane Philpott will become Minister of Indigenous Services.

A statement on Prime Minister Trudeau’s website details the ministerial changes:

“The new Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs will guide the Government’s forward-looking and transformative work to create a new relationship with Indigenous Peoples…The Minister will also be tasked with better whole-of-government coordination on our nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown, and government-to-government relationships. The new Minister of Indigenous Services will continue the important work of improving the quality of services delivered to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.”

In a personal message to INAC employees, Trudeau explains that, “We need to shed the administrative structures and legislation that were conceived in another time for a different kind of relationship.”

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is optimistic about the changes as they are modelled on recommendations from the 1996 Royal Commission on Indigenous Peoples which included a chapter on the Métis. It is also important to note that while this recent announcement is a positive start, much more work is needed to build a successful nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship between the Métis and the Canadian Government.

 

Click here to read Prime Minister Trudeau’s full statement.

Recent Agreements with Canada and Alberta

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November 16, 2017

Métis Nation of Alberta-Government of Canada Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation

On Thursday, November 16th, 2017, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta, took a historic step with the signing of the Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation.

The signing enables Canada and Métis Nation of Alberta to begin formal negotiations towards shared and balanced solutions advancing reconciliation and the enhancement of the well-being of Métis Nation of Alberta citizens while respecting the rights of all  Canadians. 

To view a PDF version of the complete Métis Nation of Alberta -Government of Canada Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation, please click here.

 

February 27, 2017

MNA-Alberta Framework Agreement

For over 30 years, our various MNA-Alberta Framework Agreements have guided our relationship with the province.  Over these decades, we have seen many gains and successes by working collaboratively with the province.  Our Framework Agreement provides the foundation for our relationship with Alberta.

It is a well-known fact that the last version of our Framework Agreement was whittled down by the previous provincial government with respect to language that recognized the Métis Nation and the MNA’s representative role.  While this was disappointing, we persevered and tried to make the most out of what was a challenging period of MNA-Alberta relations.

With that era behind us, I am very pleased that our new Framework Agreement goes further than any of our previous agreements with Alberta.  This is a testament to the commitment of Premier Notley and Minister Feehan to building relationships.  As I have often said, I believe that if we get the recognition and relationship right, we will be able to make things happen. This agreement sets the course for us to finally get that foundation right.

Notably, this agreement also includes the following important additions:

  • The agreement is between the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Government of Alberta.  Previous versions of the agreement constantly added “Association” to our name in order to diminish the reality that we represent a distinct Indigenous people—the Métis. 
  • The agreement includes explicit commitments to pursue discussions on key rights-related issues such as harvesting and a Métis consultation policy.  The success of this Framework Agreement will be measured on progress being made on these commitments.
  • The agreement is for a 10 year period.  In the past, the re-negotiation of the agreement every 3 or 5 years were distractions to keeping momentum under the agreement going.

Most importantly, the agreement commits to working with us on a “nation-to-nation” basis to advance Métis rights and reconciliation.  Specifically, the Agreement states,

AND WHEREAS Alberta recognizes the MNA’s representative role on behalf of its Citizens and is committed to working with the MNA, on a nation-to-nation basis, through this Framework Agreement, in order to advance reconciliation and enhance the MNA-Alberta relationship through recognition, collaboration, respect for Métis rights and working towards the advancement of Métis self-government and self-determination;

Flowing from this overall intent, the agreement explicitly commits to “discussing options for the legislative recognition of the MNA and its governance structures.”  As noted above, for far too often, the fact that our Nation’s legal and administrative arm is incorporated as an ‘association’ under Alberta’s Societies Act has been used against us to diminish the fact that we are a government for Alberta Métis. This commitment will allow us to explore other options with Alberta.

The agreement also commits Alberta to engage with us and Canada on the “implications of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Daniels v. Canada for Alberta Métis.”  We see this commitment as ensuring that Alberta will participate in our discussions with Canada, where required.  It is important to note that while the Daniels Case affirms Métis are within federal jurisdiction, the province was and remains a key partner in making progress on some of our rights-related issues, in particular dealing with lands.

In closing, I want to thank the MNA Provincial Council, including our Co-Ministers for Métis Rights (Karen Collins and Bev New) as well as MNA staff and legal counsel for getting us here.  Now the hard work begins!  Ultimately, these two agreements will be measured by what they achieve for our children, families and communities here in Alberta. I am confident that through hard work and determination, we will see real results from these agreements for Alberta Métis.

Click here to download the PDF memorandum. 

 

Memorandum: Métis Nation of Alberta-Government of Alberta Framework Agreement

On February 27th 2017, Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras released a memorandum regarding the recent agreements with Canada and Alberta.

To download the PDF memorandum, Please click here. The memorandum full text is also available in the post below. Please scroll down for more information. 

To access the complete Métis Nation of Alberta-Government of Alberta Framework Agreement, please click here.

TO: All Members
FROM: Audrey Poitras, MNA President
DATE: February 27, 2017
RE: Recent Agreements with Canada and Alberta

As many of you have likely already heard, the Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) has recently signed two important agreements with both the federal and provincial governments.  Both of these agreements are now publicly available and can be found on the MNA’s website at www.albertametis.com.  Copies of these agreements can also be obtained by contacting the MNA Head Office or our Regional Offices throughout the province.

These two agreements consolidate many of the positive developments we have been making politically here in Alberta as well as at the federal level in over the last year or so.  These agreements also begin to strategically put the pieces into place to meaningfully implement our historic victory in the Harry Daniels case from April 2016 (the “Daniels Case”) as well as the recommendations of Mr. Tom Isaac, Canada’s Ministerial Special Representative on Métis Section 35 Rights, whose report was released in July 2016 (the “Isaac Report”).

In the upcoming months, the MNA will be initiating province-wide community consultations to update members on these agreements as well as to talk about our priorities for future negotiations with both Canada and Alberta.  In the meantime, I wanted to provide this update to highlight some important aspects of these agreements as well as outline how they fit together and complement each other.  As I stated at the signing of these two agreements, the “stars are aligning for Alberta Métis” to make some significant advances on our rights-based agenda in the near future.

From the positive relationships we have built with Premier Notley and her government, including the commitment in our new Framework Agreement to finally begin work with us on a nation-to-nation basis, to Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to finally put into place the nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship the Métis Nation has sought with Canada for generations, I believe we have the wind at our backs and we must seize upon the once-in-a-generation opportunities that are before us.

 

January 30, 2017

MNA-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Reconciliation

This first agreement—the MNA-Canada MOU on Reconciliation—establishes a bilateral exploratory discussions process between ourselves and Canada in order to see if we can reach a formal Framework Agreement for negotiations on Métis rights and claims in Alberta by September 2017.  This is a momentous development for Alberta Métis!

Exploratory discussion processes are an important step in Canada’s six stage Indigenous “claims” resolution processes.  In the past, Métis south of the 60th parallel were completely excluded from these types of federal negotiation processes. Clearly, the direction from the Daniels Case and the Isaac Report; namely, that Métis can no longer be on the outside looking in at the federal level, is slowly taking hold.  For more information on the MOU and answers to frequently asked questions visit: http://albertametis.com/2017/01/20612/.

As set out in the MOU, these exploratory discussions will be focused on dealing with our Aboriginal rights and outstanding claims here in Alberta.  More specifically, this process will include rights-based discussions on Métis self-government, Métis lands and redressing the failings of the federal Métis scrip system.  We will also be talking about how to address the inequities our children, families and communities face because of discriminatory and colonial federal policies.

As I previously mentioned, in order to fully develop and prioritize subject matters for future negotiations, we will be undertaking province-wide consultations in the upcoming months.  We want to hear from all of our members on what are the key issues we should incorporate into any future Framework Agreement with Canada.  Rather than being stuck with a top-down national agenda, these exploratory discussions allow us to craft a ‘made-in-Alberta’ approach.   

Related to this, it is also important to note that the Prime Minister’s commitment to working with the Métis Nation on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship will be through bilateral negotiations with the MNA—not through any national process.  Specifically, the MOU states,

AND WHEREAS Canada is committed to working, on a nation-to-nation, government-to-government basis with the Métis Nation, through bilateral negotiations with the MNA, in order to advance reconciliation and renew the relationship through cooperation, respect for Métis rights, and ending the status quo; [Emphasis added.]

This aspect of the MOU is consistent with the recent direction received from the 2016 MNA Annual General Assembly, which added the following important objective to the MNA Bylaws:

[for the MNA] 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.” 

While we have much more work to do and a long road ahead of us, this MOU puts us on the right track.  I look forward to our upcoming community consultation to provide further updates on what is happening at the federal level.

 

Provincial Head Office Closure Notice

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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.

Notice of Special Meeting

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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: 
http://albertametis.com/governance/bylaws/

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.