Current Affairs

Métis National Council Members Demand Leadership Call Board of Governors Meeting

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March 13, 2020 – The Presidents of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO), Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) and Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) are demanding Métis National Council (MNC) leadership call a Board of Governors meeting to ensure future MNC decisions are made on behalf of all Métis citizens.

A Board of Governors meeting has not been called in nearly two years meaning the democratic rules for how the Council should operate have not been followed. Manitoba Métis Federation President, David Chartrand has been acting as MNC President since MNC President, Clem Chartier’s November 6th, 2019 announcement that he was withdrawing from an active role in national leadership, in spite of the fact Mr. Chartrand has not been properly appointed as interim President per the process set out in the policies of the MNC.

In a recent media article, Mr. Chartrand admitted that he has not called a Board of Governors meeting because he is worried a vote by the governing members would result in him losing control of the national council.

The three governments have made numerous calls for leadership of MNC to call a formal Board of Governors meeting to discuss the serious issues impacting the Métis people and have been concerned that Mr. Chartrand is merely trying to hold on to his illegitimate power at the expense of the best interests of Métis citizens across the country; now he has admitted it.
 
“We are alarmed, but not surprised, at Mr. Chartrand’s admission in the media that a general assembly meeting has not been convened for nearly two years because he and the National President feel they have lost support,” said Glen McCallum, President of MN-S.

MNO President Margaret Froh said that, “like any organization, rules are put in place to frame the way we engage with each other to ensure good governance. Mr. Chartrand is usurping these rules and that is deeply concerning and unacceptable to us.”

“This serves to further highlight the concerns we have been raising about accountability, transparency and open leadership within the MNC,” said MNA President Audrey Poitras.

The three presidents have previously expressed concerns around Mr. Chartrand and Mr. Chartier’s leadership and the direction of the MNC; numerous citizens of the Métis Nation vocalized these concerns at an MNC conference in Saskatoon on March 9-10.

In a recent press release, the MNC asked for a leadership meeting as soon as possible to discuss unity between the governments but continues to refuse to call a formal, sanctioned Board of Governors meeting to ensure the democratic process of the MNC is followed.

The MNO, MNA, MN-S are committed to progress, and have recently signed Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreements with the Government of Canada that demonstrates that commitment to progress and advancing their inherent right to self-determination.

Métis Governments Move Forward on Self-Government—Together

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Otipemisiwak: A National Conference on Métis Self-Government

March 3, 2020 – Métis governments from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario are gathering next week in Ottawa on March 9 and 10 for a first-of-its-kind conference on Métis self-government.  

Collectively, these three Métis governments represent more than 200,000 rights-bearing Métis citizens living across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.  

The conference builds on the historic signings of the Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreements (MGRSAs) in June 2019. The MGRSAs are the first agreements in Canada to recognize the Métis inherent right of self-government based on Métis rights recognition and implementation.

This conference will bring together Métis leaders, citizens, federal government representatives, legal experts, academics, and First Nations who have successfully negotiated modern day treaties and self-government agreements.

Some of the confirmed speakers include: Jason Madden, Métis rights lawyer, Partner, Pape Salter Teillet LLP; Tom Isaac, former Ministerial Special Representative on Métis s. 35 Rights; Carla McGrath, Director General of Negotiations Central, Crown-Indigenous Relations; Bertha Rabesca Zoe, Laws Guardian, Tłı̨chǫ Government; Brian Calliou, Director of Indigenous Leadership and Management, Banff Centre; Karen Drake, Associate Professor, York University Osgoode Hall Law School; Marilyn Poitras, Director Indigenous Law Centre, University of Saskatchewan.

A copy of the agenda is available at www.metisnation.org. The conference takes place at the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Ottawa on March 9-10, 2020 and will be live webcast so citizens from across the Métis Nation Homeland will be able to participate in this historic occasion: https://freeman.streamme.ca/MetisOntario2020

Statements from Métis Government Leaders:

“This conference is about who we are as Métis. We are Otipemisiwak – a people that own themselves. Our Métis governments have been built community meeting by community meeting, assembly by assembly, success by success. The MGRSA’s represent the next chapter in this long history of Métis self-government and self-determination.” – Audrey Poitras, Métis Nation of Alberta President

“The Traditional and democratic self-government structure of the Métis Nation Saskatchewan has been practiced and built since the days of Louis Riel in Batoche. This government structure needs to be understood, respected, and practiced. This conference represents an opportunity for our federal partners to hear directly from us, in our own words, about our Métis rights and self-government.” – Glen McCallum, Métis Nation-Saskatchewan President

“The MGRSAs were the result of the Métis successfully advancing their rights before the Supreme Court of Canada over the last 15 years. This includes cases like R. v. Powley (2003), which recognized Métis s.35 harvesting rights in and around Sault Ste Marie Ontario, and the Harry Daniels v. Canada case (2016), which recognized the federal government’s role in advancing government-to-government relationship with Indigenous communities, including the Métis.” – Margaret Froh, Métis Nation of Ontario President

About the Self-Government Agreements

On June 27, 2019, the Métis Governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta each signed Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreements with Canada. The Self-Government Agreements provide for Canada’s immediate recognition of the inherent right to self-government held by the Métis communities and citizens represented by each of our Métis Governments, and set out a clear, mutually agreeable path for recognition of the Métis Governments as Indigenous governments in Canadian law. This is the first time that Canada has ever recognized an inherent right of self-government for Métis.

Media Contacts:

Julia Burns
Métis Nation-Saskatchewan
Director of Communications
306-343-8285
jburns@mns.work
Marc St. Germain
Métis Nation of Ontario
Director of Communications   
613-798-1488 ext.119   
marcs@metisnation.org
Amy Dillon
Métis Nation of Alberta
Director of Communications
780-455-2200 ext. 309
adillon@metis.org

Métis Nation of Alberta Locals Rally to Protect Métis Rights and Claims

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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.”

Gail Gallupe
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.”
Cameron MacDonald
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.”
Brenda Bourque-Stratichuk

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.”
Jason Ekberg

Vice-President, MNA Region One

The Real Issues Emerging in Northeastern Alberta: Oil Sands Money, Greed and Unaccountable “Métis Community Associations”

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Statement by Métis Nation of Alberta Region One President & Vice-President

James A. Cardinal & Jason Ekeberg

We are issuing the following statement to clarify any confusion there might be in relation to the Métis Nation of Alberta’s (“MNA”) self-government in Northeastern Alberta.

The MNA is the government of the Métis Nation within Alberta.  Over the last 90+ years, our government has been built by our people, for our people.  We have over 42,000 registered MNA citizens, including, over 3,000 living in Northeastern Alberta.  Our citizenship numbers increase monthly.  We are the only province-wide, democratically elected Métis government in Alberta.  We are recognized by other governments as such, as set out in our historic Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (“MGRSA”) with Canada that was signed in July 2019.

Currently, there are a few Métis individuals in MNA Region 1—who could not get elected in the MNA’s democratic ballot box elections—that are now purporting to be speaking for “7 Métis communities” in Northeastern Alberta that “plan to leave the MNA”.  These individuals do not speak for the MNA or the 3,000+ MNA citizens living in Northeastern Alberta.  They are not democratically elected at the ballot box.  They are essentially self-appointed ‘leaders for life’ who bully those who disagree with them. They are propped up by self-interested lawyers, consultants and outsiders.

There are also some MNA Local leaders who do not want to be accountable and transparent through our democratic self-government, so they have formed unaccountable and privately-controlled “Métis Community Associations.” These associations are not a part of the MNA or our self-government. They will never be recognized as legitimate Métis governments because they are not a part of the MNA and they are accountable to no one. 

These “Métis Community Associations” have used the MNA’s name and our legitimacy as a Métis government to negotiate millions of dollars from oil sands developers.  Now, some of these individuals are attempting to transfer the money and assets from our legitimate and democratic MNA Locals to themselves through these “Métis Community Associations.”  This is what underlies these “break away” announcements: oil sands money, greed and a desire to not be accountable to the Métis people.

Let me be clear: the MNA and the leadership of the MNA in Northeastern Alberta will not allow this to happen without a fight.  We will expose these individuals for what they are doing.  Transparency, democracy and accountability will ultimately win.  Here are some facts people and the media need to know:

  1. We are one, large, regional rights-bearing Métis community in Northeastern Alberta. Our citizens may live in different settlements and locations, but we are not different ‘peoples’ or ‘communities’. We have a shared history, language and culture as a part of the Métis Nation within Alberta.  We did not allow Canada to impose an Indian Act Band model of governance on us historically.  We will make sure some self-interested individuals aren’t allowed to do this today.

  2. Each MNA citizen, totaling over 42,000+ across Alberta, exclusively authorize the MNA to represent them as their Métis Nation government. A few individuals sitting in a secret meeting cannot cancel the democratic will of the over 3,000+ MNA citizens living in Northeastern Alberta who have each willingly applied to the MNA for citizenship and mandate it as their government.  The MNA’s leadership is democratically elected at the ballot box.  Thousands vote in our elections every 4 years.  A few don’t get to dictate to the many who are proud citizens of the MNA.

  3. We are currently in the courts fighting against the Fort McKay Métis Community Association who is attempting to dissolve the MNA Fort McKay Local #63 so they can legitimize the taking of that Local’s lands and money. Some other individuals are trying to do the same with the assets of other MNA Locals. We will not let this happen without a fight and exposing people for what they are doing.

  4. The MNA has never—and will never—take 15% from the Impacts and Benefits Agreements negotiated between MNA Locals and industry. This is a misleading statement being advanced by some to justify the creation of unaccountable “Métis Community Associations.”  The MNA-Crown Consultation model ensures those who are most directly impacted are compensated.

  5. For generations, our citzens and assemblies have called on us to move forward on getting to a Constitution that moves us out of our corporate bylaws and the Alberta Societies Act. Our MGRSA sets our pathway forward to achieve our self-government aspirations. The MNA will be having a province-wide referendum to ratify the MGRSA and our new Constitution after it has been developed based on extensive consultations with our citizens. 

  6. Every MNA citizen will get to vote in our referendum on the MGRSA and our new Constitution. A few self-interested people secretly meeting cannot unilaterally cancel the democratic rights and citizenship cards of over 3,000 MNA citizens living in Northeastern Alberta.  Our people will decide our collective path way forward based on our inherent right of self-government and self-determination.  The so called leadership of “Métis Community Associations” will have no role in that process.

As the democratically elected leaders of MNA Region 1, we look forward to the these times ahead.  Throughout this process, the democratic rights and will of the Métis people in Alberta must come first and foremost.  We will continue to fight for democracy, accountability and transparency.  We will also make sure people have facts so they can make informed choices about the collective future of the Métis Nation!

MÉTIS NATION OF ALBERTA APPALLED BY ALBERTA DECISION ON MÉTIS CONSULTATION “IT’S A BREACH OF THE HONOUR OF THE CROWN”

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Edmonton, AB – February 13, 2020

 

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is shocked and appalled to learn that the Government of Alberta has decided to conduct Crown consultations with the Fort McKay Métis Community Association (FMMCA) as the purported representative of a rights-bearing Métis community. The FMMCA is not a Métis government, and it does not represent a rights-bearing Métis community.

The FMMCA only exists to serve a small number of self-interested individuals. The MNA, as the recognized Indigenous government of the Métis Nation within Alberta, is reviewing every available option to challenge Alberta’s decision.

“We will not allow the Alberta Government to unilaterally divide the Métis Nation for its own agenda.  The MNA is the government for the Métis Nation within Alberta.  We will not let governments divide and conquer our Nation.  What is happening in British Columbia right now demonstrates that governments must engage with the legitimate governments of Indigenous peoples, not others,” said MNA President Audrey Poitras.

Alberta refers to its approach to decisions regarding Métis consultation as the “credible assertion” process. The process is deeply flawed. Any group claiming to represent Métis people in the province for the purpose of consultation can apply, even undemocratic and unaccountable organizations like the FMMCA.   

Alberta’s process has been in place for over a decade and, to date, Alberta had never determined that any Métis group was owed a duty to consult. This amounted to an unjustifiable failure on the province’s part to discharge its constitutional duties to the Métis Nation within Alberta.

Even the province acknowledged that the credible assertion process is flawed. Alberta agreed to negotiate with the MNA to develop a Métis consultation policy to replace it. These negotiations went on for years and were productive. Last September, however, Alberta walked away from the table. The promise of a meaningful Métis consultation policy was broken.

“Alberta’s decision to recognize the FMMCA as the representative of a rights-bearing Métis community for the purposes of consultation highlights just how broken Alberta’s system is,” said Métis lawyer Jason Madden who has represented rights-bearing Métis communities in the courts from Ontario westward and its recognized as a leading expert in Métis law.

“This decision cannot be reconciled with repeated Supreme Court of Canada and Alberta court decisions on Métis rights or Alberta’s constitutional duties owing to the Métis. It will not discharge the Crown’s duty to consult, and it will not provide regulatory certainty.  Alberta has just opened a can of worms for short term gain, but it will have long-term negative consequences for Métis rights.”

The FMMCA cannot represent a rights-bearing Métis community. The courts have been clear: rights-bearing Métis communities are large and regional. Even Alberta recognizes this: the province recognizes a regional, rights-bearing Métis community spanning all of northeastern Alberta throughout which Métis community members can hunt, fish, and trap to feed their families. This is the community the Crown owes a duty to consult. The FMMCA, in contrast, represents a few dozen people, some living in the hamlet of Fort McKay, some not living in northeastern Alberta at all.

The MNA is the government of the Métis Nation within Alberta.  For over 90 years, our government has been built by our people, for our people. The MNA has the only objectively verifiable registry of Métis Nation citizens and legitimate Métis rights-holders in Alberta.  We have over 42,000 registered MNA citizens, including over 3,000 living in northeastern Alberta.   Every four years, we hold province-wide democratic elections. Annually, our citizens gather at an assembly to give their leadership direction. This is how the MNA ensure it is accountable to the Métis citizens from across the province.

“The FMMCA is accountable to no one. It is a privately incorporated entity beyond the scrutiny of the larger Métis population,” explained MNA Region 1 President Jimmy Cardinal, who was elected by the over 3000 Métis citizens living in northeastern Alberta. “The FMMCA’s purpose is to hide assets that properly belong to the MNA Local in Fort McKay, the true representative of Métis in the area. I am very disappointed that Alberta does not see the FMMCA for what it really is.”

The FMMCA’s President, Ron Quintal, ran for the MNA presidency in 2018 and lost. He ended up at the FMMCA because the Métis in the province at large do not support him. Just last year, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench rejected the Fort McKay Métis Community Association’s attempt to stop the MNA from engaging with the Crown and industry on consultation and accommodation issues. The FMMCA is a disgruntled splinter group, not the legitimate representative of aboriginal rights holders.

In July 2019, the MNA signed a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA) with Canada, the level of government recognized in the Daniels case as having constitutional responsibility to engage in government-to-government negotiations with Indigenous peoples. The MGRSA provided the MNA with immediate recognition of our right to self-government here in Alberta. It also sets out a clear process to finally have our self-government recognized on our own terms.

“The MNA is developing a constitution to serve as the foundation for the legitimate Indigenous self-government of the Métis Nation within Alberta. This constitution will be subject to extensive consultations and a province wide referendum. That is how recognition ought to proceed: democratically and transparently. We are committed to that process.”

President Poitras concluded, “We will only get reconciliation right if we get recognition.  Alberta’s decision gets recognition all wrong, and it is the Métis citizens in the province who will suffer. We are reviewing every available option to challenge Alberta’s decision.”

 

For more information or interviews contact:

 

Mackenzie Jaklin-Graham

Media Profile

Mackenzie.Jaklin-Graham@mediaprofile.com

(289)-314-0003

A Letter to Métis Nation Citizens

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Dear Métis Nation of Alberta Citizens,

I am writing to you because the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) has been receiving many questions and comments about recent statements and press releases issued in the name of the Métis National Council (MNC).

 

You should be aware that the MNC is now almost solely controlled by the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) with periodic appearances by MNC National President Clem Chartier (who claims to have “stepped aside”). The MNC Board of Governors have not met in over 14 months. The MNA currently has no input or advance notice in relation to MNC activities and announcements.

 

While the MNC exclusion of the majority of the Métis Nation Governments that mandate it is the new normal, the MNC’s recent statements on Métis Nation Identity, Citizenship and Homeland are particularly troubling and inaccurate. This letter and accompanying information is intended to directly address these issues.

 

I want Alberta Métis to know that others will not be allowed to make decisions or impose their positions on the democratic will of the Métis Nation within Alberta. The MNA is your Métis Nation government here in Alberta. Your ancestors built our government: community meeting by community meeting; assembly by assembly; election by election.

 

Today, the MNA has the largest and most credible Métis Nation Registry within Canada with over 42,000 registered citizens, and those numbers continue to grow weekly. In July 2019, we signed our Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA) with Canada that provided us with immediate recognition of our right to self-government here in Alberta. The MGRSA also sets out a clear process to finally have our self-government recognized on our own terms.

 

Self-determination and self-government has always been our goal for the Métis Nation within Alberta, and MGRSA recognizes this right and sets out a path for us to get there. For generations, our assemblies have called for us to develop our own Constitution instead of continuing to rely on corporate bylaws. We now have even more of a reason to finally get this done.

 

Ultimately, our Constitution will be developed following extensive consultation with our citizens. It will then be adopted by a province-wide referendum where all of our citizens will have the opportunity to vote on it, not just a select few. All of our citizens will get to decide our collective future, not just 55 people meeting at a MNC meeting. Unlike others, I am not afraid of letting all of our citizens having their voices heard.

 

In the coming weeks and months, there will be MNC organized meetings where some unelected and hand-picked individuals, including those who have created unaccountable “Métis Community Associations” will say they speak for the Métis Nation within Alberta and our 42,000+ citizens. They do not. Every four years, we, as MNA citizens, hold democratic elections. This holds the MNA accountable as your government. Every year, we, as MNA citizens, gather at our assembly. This holds the MNA accountable as your government.

 

This small number of self-interested Métis individuals, encouraged, and likely, financially supported by the MNC, are accountable to no one. Some have or are trying to transfer land and assets from MNA Locals to their own personal control through “Métis Community Associations.” These individuals are also being used by the MNC in an attempt to derail and delay our self-government negotiations here in Alberta, since we are now further ahead on these talks than other MNC Governing Members.

 

This ongoing MNC campaign of misinformation cannot be left unaddressed, so I am responding to the falsehoods in its statements and press releases – in detail – in the attached fact sheet. In the upcoming months, I will not be engaging in a back-and-forth through dueling press release and media statements, but I will continue to communicate with those who I am accountable to: Métis Nation citizens here in Alberta.

 

Let me be clear: our goal remains self-determination for the Métis Nation within Alberta based on a Constitution that is developed by, and approved through a province-wide referendum of our citizens. We will not let other governments, including other Métis Nation governments or the MNC, get in the way of what our ancestors and citizens – here in Alberta – have fought for and sought for generations.

 

By working together and staying united, we can achieve the MNA’s long-standing goal: building a strong Métis Nation based on Métis rights!

 

Yours very truly,


Audrey Poitras
MNA President

Download the full letter and fact sheet package.

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.

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.

Mental Health Supports

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There is a lot going on and you might be facing a lot of uncertainty. While we work to establish the needs of our community and how we’re able to respond, there are numerous resources for mental health support:

From the CDC  

From Alberta Health services

From Suicide Information & Education Services


Stay up to date with information from the Government of Alberta, Follow us on social media for news specific to the Nation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions or concerns.

MNA Children’s Booklet

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The province has closed all schools and daycares with more than seven children to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In the meantime, the MNA has fun, culturally relevant activities to keep your kids busy.

Download and print off our Children’s Booklet and learn about Métis culture and your family history while you stay safe at home.

Click here to download the PDF of the children’s booklet.

Take a sneak peek at the booklet in the images below: