Current Affairs

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.

Métis Nation of Alberta join Annual Summit with Government of Canada

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Gatineau, Quebec (June 13, 2019) – Today, the Métis Nation of Alberta met with the Prime Minister, Right Honourable Justin Trudeau and several key cabinet ministers. The meeting was an Annual Summit between the Government of Canada and the governing members of the Métis National Council (i.e. Métis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Métis Federation, Métis Nation – Saskatchewan, and Métis Nation of British Columbia). The purpose of the Annual Summit was discussing progress and accomplishments made implementing the Canada-Métis Nation Accord over the past year as well as reviewing joint priorities for the upcoming year. Priorities identified for next year included: Education, Environment, Justice and Policing, Métis Section 35 Rights, and Youth and Sports.

Over the past year, there have been several significant agreements made between the Métis National Council, its governing members, and the Government of Canada, including: the Métis Nation Early Learning and Child Care Accord (March 2019), the Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework (September 2018), the Canada-Métis Nation Housing Sub-Accord (July 2018), and Métis Nation Skills and Employment Accord (June 2018). Other important accomplishments were the Indigenous Languages Act (February 2019) and the 2019-2020 Federal Budget (March 2019), which strongly supported many Métis Nation priorities.

Additionally, the various Ministers from the Canadian Government presented on topics such as Child and Family Services, Languages, Health, Post-Secondary Education, Economic Development, Homelessness, Governance, Reconciliation, and other areas of importance to the nation.

The Métis Nation of Alberta is very proud to be have been an integral part of negotiating these various agreements with the Government of Canada and continues to be committed to upholding the inherent rights of its citizens.

Quotes:

Working with this federal government has been instrumental to progressing, protecting, and celebrating Métis culture, values, and history. The current government have been very supportive of addressing our social and economic development and our inherent rights as a Métis Nation. The work we have accomplished over the past four years will affect generations to come.

– Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta

Today was a very valuable exchange of information and setting future priorities. Over the past four years, the Métis Nation has had such progressive and collaborative discussions with the federal government. We look forward to continuing our important work with them.

– Dan Cardinal, Vice President of the Métis Nation of Alberta

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For more information about the Métis Nation of Alberta, please visit albertametis.com.

Media contact:

Rolando Inzunza
Director of Communications & Citizen Engagement
Métis Nation of Alberta
780-455-2200 ext. 395
rinzunza@metis.org

91st Annual General Assembly

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Our dedicated AGA page can be found here

The 91st Annual General Assembly (AGA) will be held in St. Paul, Alberta, from August 15 to 18, 2019 (business meeting will take place Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, August 18), with a Youth Conference on Friday, August 16. Click here to read the Notice of Meeting and click here for the Notice of Resolutions.

Special resolutions are now available to view. Click here to read the special resolutions package.

Outdoor Activities for Children and Youth

During the AGA, the MNA is hosting outdoor activities for children and youth on the grounds of the St. Paul Recreation Centre. Activities will include:

  • A bouncy castle
  • A Métis magician
  • Face-painting
  • And cultural activities such as finger-weaving.

New Dawn Notice of Special Meeting

In accordance with the Bylaws of the New Dawn Métis Women’s Society NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Special Meeting will be held at the St. Paul Recreation Centre, 4802 – 53rd Street, St. Paul, Alberta on Friday, August 16th, 2019, commencing at 9:00 a.m.

Read the official notice here.

Accommodation

Click here for a list of St. Paul Hotels

There are two campgrounds available for booking in St. Paul. MNA citizens are provided first choice booking for in-town sites until July 7, 2019. Click here to learn more.

Below are some area hotels and their availability of rooms:

Hampton Inn by Hilton St Paul No availability  
St. Paul LodgeRooms available
Canalta St. PaulNo availability  
Woodland Motor InnRooms available*
The Kings Motel
No availability  
Galaxy Motel & RestaurantRooms available

*More rooms may be released at the end of July

Trade Show Registration

Our trade show sees hundreds of attendees throughout both days of the AGA, allowing participants to showcase their business with an engaged audience.

It is also an exceptional opportunity to network with other organizations and connect with MNA Citizens, Affiliates, Departments, and Métis Artisans.
All businesses are welcome!
Deadline to apply is Friday, August 02, 2019.

Click here to download the application package or contact Amy White for more information: 780 455 2200 Ext. 411 or awhite@metis.org

Youth Conference

With the theme of Governance and Leadership, this free Youth Conference will focus on Métis governance systems, structures, how to participate in an AGA, and more.

Date: Friday, August 16, 2019
Location:St. Paul, Alberta, St. Paul Curling Rink, Upstairs in the Lounge
Time:8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Who:Youth ages 12-29

More details to come.

poster for the 91st Annual General Assembly, showing a picture of the Red River Provisional Government of Louis Riel with the text "Our Journey of Recognition Begins. The Future is Now!"

Alberta Métis Applaud Federal Budget for the Métis Nation

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Alberta Métis Applaud Another Transformational Federal Budget for the Métis Nation

“Our Trust in Prime Minister Trudeau Was Well Placed”

Edmonton, AB. (March 20, 2019) On behalf of the Métis Nation within Alberta, MNA President Audrey Poitras applauds Federal Budget 2019, which includes significant Métis Nation specific investments in the areas of health, education, and economic development, as well as important commitments to Métis self-government, land claims, truth and reconciliation, preservation of the Michif language, and to Métis veterans.

“Federal Budget 2019 demonstrates that the trust we placed in Prime Minister Trudeau and his new government four years ago was well placed. Over the last four years, we have worked in partnership with the federal government and have seen transformational budgets that have set a new course for our people in Alberta. Federal Budget 2019 did not disappoint,” said MNA President Poitras.

President Poitras added, “The MNA has always believed that education is key to our people’s success both individually and collectively. This Federal Budget includes a precedent-setting dedicated and ongoing investment in Métis Nation education. These investments will allow our young people to have opportunities their parents and grandparents never had; benefitting the Métis Nation for generations to come.”

In addition, Federal Budget 2019 includes a commitment of $50 million to enhance the Métis Nation’s existing capital corporations to increase Métis entrepreneurship in Alberta. “Our capital corporation—Apeetogosan—is a leader in funding assistance for Métis businesses that create jobs in this province. We are so pleased. This investment will allow our capital corporation to increase funding during this challenging economic time in Alberta.”

Federal Budget 2019 also included the following commitments benefitting Métis children, families, and communities in Alberta:

  • $516 million over ten years to support Métis Nation priorities.
  • $248.6 million over three years to continue to support access to mental health and emotional support services for Indian residential school survivors and their families.
  • $362 million over ten years committed to education funding for Métis citizens.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Federal Budget 2019 also allocates funds to support some of the Calls to Action brought forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission including:

  • $126.5 million in 2020-21 for the establishment and operation of a National Council for Reconciliation.
  • $33.8 million to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register.
  • $10 million over two years to support communities to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools on the proposed National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“Personally, I am also very gratified to see the long overdue commitment of $30 million in Federal Budget 2019 to finally address the need to recognize our Métis veterans in a respectful manner.  This is a testament to the hard work of many who have always wanted our Métis veterans who have served this country with distinction, to be honoured,” concluded Poitras.

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For more information about the Metis Nation of Alberta, please visit:

albertametis.com

Media contact:

Rolando Inzunza
Director of Communications & Citizen Engagement
780-455-2200 ext. 395
rinzunza@metis.org

Métis Nation of Alberta and Government of Alberta sign historic Métis Harvesting Agreement

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Edmonton, AB. (March 13, 2019) Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), Dan Cardinal, Vice President of the MNA, Shannon Phillips, Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks, and Richard Feehan, Minister of Indigenous Relations today signed an agreement on implementing a new Métis Harvesting in Alberta Policy.

The new Métis Harvesting in Alberta Policy replaces the 2010 policy and recognizes the rights of eligible MNA citizens to hunt, fish, and trap for food in five large regional Métis Harvesting Areas in central and northern Alberta (as opposed to the much smaller 25 local Métis harvesting areas provided for in the 2010 policy).

This agreement is a great step in advancing reconciliation and a result of extensive MNA consultation with our Métis citizens over eight engagement sessions across Alberta in 2018.
The agreement recognizes the MNA’s authority to issue Métis Harvesting Identification Stickers. The Stickers are to be affixed to the MNA citizenship cards of eligible individuals, indicating the Métis Harvesting Area(s) in which they may harvest. The agreement also establishes an Implementation Committee to review any issues related to the policy or Métis harvesting. Further, the agreement commits Alberta to ongoing discussion with the MNA about important outstanding issues, including the recognition of Métis harvesting rights in southern Alberta.

The Métis Nation of Alberta is very excited, through this agreement, to reaffirm its connection to the Métis Nation homeland and to continue its productive relationship with the Government of Alberta.

Quick Facts:

  • Eligible MNA citizens wishing to be identified as Métis Harvesters will be able to acquire a Métis Harvesting Identification Sticker from the MNA.
  • Métis Harvesting Identification Stickers will be issued by the MNA.
  • Each Métis Harvesting Identification Sticker will indicate the valid Métis Harvesting Area(s) for each Métis Harvester.
  • Each eligible Métis Harvester will need to show a pre-1900 ancestral connection to one or more Métis Harvesting Areas.

Quotes:
“The MNA’s new Métis Harvesting Agreement with Alberta is significant. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Métis people as distinct Indigenous people with connections to traditionally used lands and waters and inherent rights to hunt, fish, and trap. We are excited to announce this new agreement, but significant work remains to have Métis harvesting rights in southern Alberta recognized too.”
– Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta

“This is a historic day for the Métis Nation of Alberta. We should all be proud, as citizens, to showcase our traditional values and our rights to harvest as a Métis people. We need to continue these collaborative discussions, with respect to our Métis harvesting rights.”
– Dan Cardinal, Vice President of the Métis Nation of Alberta

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For more information, please visit:
albertametis.com/harvesting

Media contact:

Rolando Inzunza
Director of Communications & Citizen Engagement
780-455-2200 ext. 395
rinzunza@metis.org

Métis Nation of Alberta Engages Métis Sixties Scoop Survivors

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April 2,2019 (Edmonton, Alberta) – This past weekend some 50 Métis survivors of the Sixties Scoop, along with their supports, gathered to share their experiences with the Métis Nation of Alberta’s (MNA) Provincial Council and MNA Elders Council.

The engagement session was part of a national initiative led by the Métis National Council and its governing members. The session was a follow-up to a National Symposium on Métis 60s Scoop Survivors held in Winnipeg in October 2018, to hear from Métis 60s Scoop survivors in Alberta. This engagement session was also part of a series of six workshops occurring across the Métis Homeland. 

Manitoba Métis Federation

  1. March 15-17, 2019 – Swan River, Manitoba
  2. March 22-24, 2019 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Métis Nation of Alberta

  1. March 29-31, 2019 – Edmonton, Alberta

Métis Nation – Saskatchewan

  1. April 5-7, 2019 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Métis Nation of Ontario

  1. April 12-14, 2019 – Toronto, Ontario

Métis Nation British Columbia

  1. April 26-28, 2019 – Richmond, British Columbia

The sessions will inform a plan for reconciliation with the federal government, which will address the legacy and harmful effects of the 60s Scoop on the Métis people. Some of the strategies discussed addressed the lost potential resulting from the trauma. Options for reconciliation included options such as apologies from the federal and provincial governments, child and welfare agencies, and the RCMP. Other options included support for survivors’ healing processes, compensation, post education support for families, public awareness and education, and services for supporting the repatriation and reconnection of survivors with their birth families.

Métis 60s Scoop survivors and their families are encouraged to participate and can find information on all the sessions at sixties.scoop.metisportals.ca or by calling toll free: 1-800-928-6330 Ext. 532. 

The Métis Nation of Alberta is exploring options for further action and support of our Métis citizens who survived the Sixties Scoop. If you want to find out more, please visit our website or contact Cristina Rathjen at crathjen@metis.org or 780-455-2200 Ext. 403.

Quotes:

The forced removal of Métis children from their birth homes and placement in non-indigenous homes is a difficult part of our history; the impacts of which are still being felt today. To build a positive, prosperous future for the Métis people of Alberta and throughout the homeland, we must address and reconcile those events that continue to negatively impact our people, families, and communities.

– Audrey Poitras, President of the Métis Nation of Alberta

For every child that was lost, there is a mother who had a hole in her heart. Trees cannot grow if they don’t have roots. Our children need to be proud of who they are and be taught about their families, culture, and history. We need to stand-up for our children today.

– Métis Sixties Scoop Survivor

I feel like I’ve been waiting fifty years for this day.

– Métis Sixties Scoop Survivor

Our focus as a nation is not on monetary compensation, but rather on accountability.

– Métis Sixties Scoop Survivor

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For more information about the Metis Nation of Alberta, please visit albertametis.com.

Media contact:

Rolando Inzunza
Director of Communications & Citizen Engagement
Métis Nation of Alberta
780-455-2200 ext. 395
rinzunza@metis.org

Background on the Sixties Scoop:

The “Sixties Scoop” is a term used to describe a child welfare policy developed and implemented throughout the 1960s that involved apprehending Indigenous children from their communities and placing them into middle-class Euro-Canadian families that were hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles away from their families. The representation of Métis children within the child welfare system accelerated throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and even into the 1980s.

The practice of removing Métis children from their homes and into state care existed long before the 1960s through the residential and day school system. However, throughout the late 1950s these institutions became highly discredited and the child welfare system became the new agent of assimilation and colonization. While the federal government may have been the prime catalyst for the Sixties Scoop, it was the provincial governments that apprehended Métis children. 

The separation of children from their families and their placement into foster homes led to the destitution of families. Children were often physically, psychologically, and sexually abused while they were in the care. Much like the residential schools, children grew up in an environment that did not foster the growth of parenting or life skills. The forced removal of these children, and the intergenerational trauma, is directly linked to the socio-economic difficulties that face the Métis Nation today.

Elevate Aviation Learning Centre

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The Elevate Aviation Learning Centre is holding an Indigenous Adults Week, April 29 – 3, 2019 and May 13 – 17, 2019.

Exploring and designing aviation careers, the Elevate Aviation Learning Centre provides unique opportunities for participants to explore diverse careers in the aviation industry. Go behind the scenes, meet inspiring people, and learn about careers in aviation through mentor presentations, conversations, hands-on activities, and tours!

To register and find out more information, click here.