Current Affairs

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.

Alberta Court Rejects Fort McKay “Métis” Community Association’s Claim to Crown Consultation

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MNA’s Right to Consult on Behalf of its Citizens Upheld

November 29, 2019 (Edmonton, AB) — The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench has dismissed a lawsuit, in its entirety, filed by an organization called the Fort McKay Métis Community Association (“FMMCA”) against the Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”).

In the lawsuit, the FMMCA asked the Court to declare that only it represents the Métis in Fort McKay and that governments and industry should only consult with it on resource development projects in the Fort McKay area, not the MNA.  

The FMMCA is an entity incorporated under the laws of Alberta that is controlled by a few individuals who used to be MNA citizens and previously led MNA Local #63 Fort McKay (“MNA Local #63”). There is no clarity on the FMMCA’s membership, and some do not even live in Fort McKay. In addition, the FMMCA is currently led by an individual who unsuccessfully ran for Provincial President in the MNA’s democratic province-wide elections held in 2018.  

The MNA is currently involved in other litigation against the FMMCA to ensure MNA Local #63 is protected as a part of the Métis Nation and the voices of MNA citizens living in Fort McKay are not silenced. The MNA is very concerned that assets and lands negotiated in the name of MNA Local #63 were transferred to the FMMCA without authority.  

In opposing the FMMCA lawsuit, the MNA argued it was a hopeless claim and could not succeed. Justice Gates of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench agreed with the MNA on all points and dismissed the lawsuit in its entirety. He held that “the issues [raised by the MNA] are not mere weaknesses in the Local Associations’ case. They are obstacles, which are plainly and obviously insurmountable.”

“We are very pleased with the decision of the court,” MNA President Audrey Poitras said. “It affirms that the MNA continues to represent our citizens in relation to consultation with the Crown and industry in the Fort McKay area. We will continue to fight to make sure the voices of MNA citizens and communities across the province are heard through democratic governance structures, not ones controlled by a few individuals with no accountability to the Métis Nation.” 

Poitras added, “It should also now be clear that these self-styled “Métis” community associations cannot take away the rights and interests of MNA citizens or rights-bearing Métis communities throughout the province. The MNA is the government of the Métis Nation within Alberta grounded on an objectively verifiable registry of Métis Nation citizens and democratic elections. We will protect our lands, rights, and assets negotiated in the name of the Métis Nation from those acting in their own self-interest.”  

In June 2019, the MNA signed a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (“MGRSA”) with Canada that recognizes “the MNA is mandated to represent the Métis Nation within Alberta,” that the “Métis Nation within Alberta has an inherent right to self-government” and that “the MNA has been mandated by the Métis Nation within Alberta to implement its inherent right to self-government that is protected by sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.”

“It is disappointing that self-styled “Métis” community associations are attempting to confuse who actually democratically represent the Métis people and the Métis Nation within Alberta. Based on this decision, we will now work to make sure the current provincial government and industry no longer allow benefits that should go to Métis citizens and communities to go to these unaccountable groups,” added Dan Cardinal, MNA Vice-President.

“The MNA has the only objective and credible provincial registry to identify Métis Nation citizens in Alberta. All MNA citizens have a right to run in our elections. All MNA citizens have the right to vote in our elections. The democratic will of the Métis Nation must be respected. Unsuccessful candidates in democratic elections cannot be allowed to take our collectively held rights as Métis through unaccountable ‘community associations’,” added Cardinal.

A copy of a summary on this case was prepared by Nuri Frame, Katie Brack and Jason Madden of the law firm Pape Salter Teillet LLP and is available here.

Acknowledgements for Region 6 AGM!

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Thank you for making our 30th Annual General Meeting a wonderful success! We could not have done it without you!

Thank you to our dignitaries: Métis Nation of Alberta Vice President Dan Cardinal, MLA Dan Williams, Town of Peace River Mayor Tom Tarpey, Mackenzie County Councilor Eric Jorgensen, and Northern Sunrise County Councilor Corinna Williams.

Thank you to our supportive Métis Nation of Alberta Staff: Bruce Gladue – Director of Métis Rights and Accommodation; Craig Letendre – Harvesting Coordinator; Trevor Anderson – Manager of Economic Development, Shawn McKay – Director of Métis Identification and Registry Systems; Andres Filella – Manager Climate Leadership; Marilyn Lizee – Master of Ceremonies and Executive Officer; and Garrett Tomlinson -Acting Manager Métis Consultation and Regional Consultation Coordinator-Region 6.

And, thank you to the Communications team at the Métis Nation of Alberta for putting together the designs, flyers, and other promotional material to help spread the word about this AGM. Thank you for your help in helping us build a strong Métis Nation, embracing Métis rights!

Thank you so much to Regional Council for your unwavering support and guidance.

Thank you to our hardworking staff: Louise Cardinal – Office Manager; Tricia Frank – Executive Administrative Assistant; Ioana Campbell – Regional Environmental Lead; Erin Mingay – Youth Projects Coordinator; and again Garrett Tomlinson.

Thank you to our Affiliates: Corrine Card from Métis Capital Housing; Guido Contreras, Director of Operations for Rupertsland; and Carmella Mackey – Northwest Regional Manager and her supportive staff.

A huge thank you must go to our sponsors in industry for their financial assistance and making our Annual General Meeting one to remember! Métis Nation of Alberta, Apeetogosan, Bison Contracting Ltd., Mercer, Petluk Clarke, TC Energy, Infracon, Mountainview Safety Services, County of Northern Lights, and Nesokmahtan.

A Recognition Award for our elders, Ruth Kidder and Violet McKenzie, for years of service to the Métis Nation, was awarded at our 30th Annual General Meeting Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 6

Thank you to our wonderful band that played for our Annual General Meeting Dance, The Mighty Peace featuring Cindy Paul. Thank you to our jiggers who took part in our jigging contest and a hearty congratulations to our winners.

A warm thank you must go out to our caterers that prepared our meals for us, C-Ken Catering. Delicious meals were had by all!

Thank you to Billy Joe Delaronde for his wonderful presentation of the Bell of Batoche.

Thank you to Carmen Lagace for her decorating talents and making our space a beautiful one!

Lastly, thank you to all our Métis members that came out to support us and made our 30th Annual General Meeting such a success!

A huge thank you to our knowledge keepers and youth that attended our Storytelling Session at this year’s Region 6 AGM. Youth had the opportunity to learn from seven knowledge keepers: Angie Crerar, Benita Galandy, Ken Browning, William Belhomme, Dennis Whitford, Joyce Parenteau, and Theresa Houle.

Region Four Annual Report

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In preparing 2018-2019 Annual General Assembly Report, Region Four’s submission was mistakenly left out of the publication. 

We thank both the Region Four Office and citizens for their understanding after this error. Please find the Region Four 2018-2019 report to the Métis Nation of Alberta Annual General Assembly below.

Region Four Report to the 2018-2019 Annual General Assembly. 

To read the other reports, click here.

Gear up for School

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Need a little help with school supplies for your kindergartner, grade 1 or 2 child this year? Contact your regional office for information on when to get you school supply kit! Check the poster for full details!

Métis Nation Rising

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Canada and the Métis Nation of Alberta sign a historic self-government agreement

By President Audrey Poitras

July 5 marks the 135th anniversary of Louis Riel’s return to Canada to lead the fight for Métis rights. He dreamed of– and fought and died for – self-determination for the Métis people. Last week, after more than 13 decades, his vision of Métis self-government was finally recognized by the Government of Canada.

On Thursday June 27, 2019, Canada and the Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) signed a historic agreement. The agreement recognizes that the Métis Nation within Alberta has an inherent, constitutionally protected right to self-government. It establishes a formal process that will lead to the recognition of a modern, Métis government for all Métis Nation citizens in Alberta. This process will include the adoption of both a constitution by the Métis Nation within Alberta and legislation by the federal government. Finally, Métis self-government is being recognized for what it is: an essential pillar of Confederation.

The story that got us here predates Canada by generations. The Métis Nation was initially born of the fur trade around the turn of the 19th Century, as European men and First Nations women in the old northwest raised families and built communities. Soon, we developed our own language, culture, and identity distinct from our forebears—neither European nor First Nations. We became much more than simply a group of mixed-blooded individuals. We became a new Indigenous people, a new nation. As an Indigenous people, we have the right to self-determination and self-government. Indeed, we have always been staunchly independent. In Plains Cree and in Michif (the Métis language), we are called Otipemisiwak—the free people, the ones who own themselves.

The Métis Nation’s relationship with Canada has rarely been easy. Immediately following Confederation, Canada moved west into our homeland without acknowledging that we were already here, living off our own land and overseeing our own affairs. Our response was distinctly Métis: under Louis Riel’s leadership, we declared a provisional government and negotiated terms of union with Canada. Although Canada would fail to honour our agreement, the precedent was set. When faced with adversity, the Métis Nation’s response has always been the same: to govern ourselves.

Through the late 19th and early 20th century, we organized across Alberta. From Cypress Hills to St. Albert, from Lesser Slave Lake to Fort Chipewyan, we came together as Métis Nation citizens to advocate for our rights and lands. These were the building blocks of Métis self-government in the province. In 1928, we created what is now the MNA to be a united voice for the Métis Nation within Alberta. Ever since, dedicated Métis individuals from across Alberta have worked with the MNA for the benefit of our families, our communities, and our nation. With our new agreement, Canada finally recognizes the MNA as the authorized representative of the Métis Nation within Alberta in implementing our inherent right to self-government.


Why does the Métis Nation within Alberta need self-government? Because successive provincial and federal governments have failed us.

This was true when the MNA was founded, and it is true now. For generations, educational outcomes, employment prospects, and health indicators of Métis in Alberta have fallen shamefully short of those of non-Indigenous Canadians. The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls highlights how tragically true this is. We face systemic disadvantages rooted in colonialism, racism, and indifference. No non-Métis government has cared enough or been committed enough to correct these problems. Only a Métis government will be able or willing to respond to our unique needs and ambitions as Métis Nation citizens.

The agreement signed by Canada and the MNA is meant to put an end to generations of denial and neglect. This federal government has had the courage to do what no federal government before it would: acknowledge our right to take charge of ourselves. Now, we can move forward—together—in the spirit of recognition and respect. Canada has handed the Métis Nation the reigns. Where we go from here is up to us.

Click here for more information on this agreement and Métis Self-Government.

Métis Nation of Alberta sign landmark agreement on self-government

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July 5, 2019 Update: We’ve added the information below to our Self-Governance page. Click here for more information, plus an OpEd from President Poitras

June 27, 2019

Today, after over 90 years of perseverance and struggle, the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) signed the first ever self-government agreement between the Government of Canada and a Métis government.

Click the links below to find the media release, unsigned agreement, FAQ, and to watch the signing ceremony video.

Métis Nation of Alberta and Canada sign historic agreement in Ottawa (Press Release)

Self-Government Agreement (Unsigned)

Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement FAQ

Click here to watch the full video of the signing ceremony.

From left to right: Dan Cardinal, MNA Vice-President, Aaron Barner, MNA Senior Executive Officer, Audrey Poitras, MNA President, and The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Minister for Crown-Indigenous Affairs sign the first ever self-government agreement between the Government of Canada and a Métis government.

Métis Nation of Alberta and Canada to sign landmark agreement on self-government

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June 26, 2019

Click hereto read the agreement, media release, and FAQs.

On June 27th at 10:00 a.m. in Ottawa, Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) President Audrey Poitras, MNA Vice President Dan Cardinal and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Canada’s Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations will sign the first ever self-government agreement between the Government of Canada and a Métis government.

They will be joined by the MNA Provincial Council as well as Métis leaders, youth, and Elders from Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.  The Métis Nation of Ontario and the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan will also be signing similar self-government agreements with Minister Bennett at the event.

There will be photo opportunities with all Métis leaders and Minister Bennett. Following the signing, Audrey Poitras and Dan Cardinal will be available for interviews.

Date:June 27, 2019
Time:
10:00 a.m. (EDT)
Where:Wellington Building (Room 425)
180 Wellington St., Ottawa, Ontario

Contact:
Rolando Inzunza
Director of Communications & Citizen Engagement
Métis Nation of Alberta
780-880-8545

The signing will be live streamed on Facebook at 8:00AM MDT. Tune in to facebook.com/ABMetis/ to see it.

McDavid & Gretzky Picture Raffle

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Check out our Oilers picture up for raffle! All proceeds are going to the wildfire evacuees. Tickets are $5.00 each. Draw to be made August 17, 2019 at the AGA in St. Paul! Please contact the Region 6 office for tickets: 780-624-4219.