Current Affairs

Bail Request Denied to Man Charged with Murder of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal

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Many gathered in front of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta today in support of justice and the families of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal.

Calls of “no justice, no peace” and “stop the violence, stop the hate” echoed off the walls of the courthouse as the crowd awaited the decision. Those close to Jake and Morris shared fond memories of the two kind and generous men.

After a six hour wait, the decision was announced; bail was denied to the first man charged with their murder.

Jake and Morris’s families are relieved at the decision. Relieved that their children will feel safe tonight with the accused still behind bars.

On June 12, RCMP arrested a second man, Roger Bilodeau, 56, in connection to this tragic case. As with his son, Roger Bilodeau has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder. Father and son are scheduled to appear in a St. Paul court Thursday, June 18th.

The MNA continues to support the Sansom and Cardinal families and stands with them as they seek justice for this inexcusable act of violence. Métis citizens must always feel safe to exercise their rights and uphold our traditional ways of life.

The Sansom and Cardinal families are asking those that can, to come help them push for justice at Thursday’s hearing in St. Paul.

If you wish to show your support by attending, a group will meet on Thursday, June 18 at 8:00am at the St. Paul courthouse, 4704 – 50 St., St. Paul, AB.

Bail Hearing Date Scheduled for killer of Morris Cardinal and Jake Sansom

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On June 16th, the man charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal will appear in an Edmonton courtroom for a bail hearing.

Jake and Morris were Métis men and citizens of the Métis Nation of Alberta. They were tragically killed by gunshot after a hunting trip near Glendon on March 28th.

The Provincial Office is following this situation closely as the MNA is deeply troubled and concerned with reports of so many incidents with strong overtones of racism in various areas of Alberta. We want justice to be served for these two kind and generous men and their families.

Our communities must feel safe as we work to uphold our traditional ways of life, including harvesting. The MNA maintains a strong stand against violence and racism in all its ugly forms.

For anyone wishing to attend this hearing and offer support to the Sansom and Cardinal families, a group will meet on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, at 9:00 a.m., at the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta at 1 Winston Churchill Square.

Métis Nation of Alberta announces second phase of COVID-19 support

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Watch the video announcements

Edmonton (May 11, 2020) – The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is announcing a second phase of funding to support Métis citizens in Alberta who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Phase two support includes a $1.8-million funding top up to the Citizens, Families, and Seniors Direct Support Program, which translates to an additional $300,000 for each of the MNA’s six regions. The program also includes the hiring of a support liaison within each region, on a six-month contract term, to help field inquiries, applications and identify local needs. These contract positions and the funding top up are the result of federal funding being received by the MNA.

Affiliate Métis Crossing will see $500,000 to ensure job security for their staff, overhead costs are met and progress continues on the grand opening strategic plan.

In addition to these new financial supports, the MNA has procured 150,000 masks and gloves for the protection of Métis citizens and MNA staff across the province.

Phase one MNA funding has already benefited Métis citizens within Alberta. The Citizens, Families, and Seniors Direct Support Program has supported more than 2,000 Métis Albertans through various financial supports, including grocery gift cards and utility payments. The Child Wellness Benefit has seen more than 3,400 applications, and over $2.8 million in payments approved to date. This benefit is projected to provide more than $5.6 million to Métis families. The Emergency Rent Supplement Program has so far approved $867,000 in payments. MNA affiliate, Rupertsland Institute (RLI) has also provided several community supports, including 2,176 Chromebooks to Métis students with limited access to online learning tools and $450,000 to the MNA regions to hire temporary workers and increase support to Métis citizens. Steps have been taken to protect Métis-owned businesses with the MNA and RLI providing their affiliated lending institution Apeetogosan $500,000 and $750,000 respectively. Apeetogosan will match this funding for a total injection of $2.5 million allowing hundreds of Métis business owners to keep their doors open.

“Métis citizens within Alberta have been severely impacted by the pandemic, as have people all over Canada and around the world,” said Audrey Poitras, President of the MNA. “The MNA will continue to support Métis citizens in Alberta while we all do our part to battle this pandemic. We offer thanks to the heroic frontline workers who have spent their days and nights keeping everyone safe, and we will continue to support our citizens with their varied and unique needs during these uncertain times.”

“Through this pandemic, our goal has been clear, to ensure no Métis Nation citizen or family is left behind,” said MNA Vice-President Dan Cardinal. “With this second wave of supports, we’re continuing to ensure the security and wellness of all Métis in Alberta. If Métis citizens have any concerns, MNA leadership  is here to help and I am only a phone call away. The well-being of our community is of great importance to me and together we will meet those needs and build a healthy Métis nation.”

Métis people within Alberta, whether they are citizens of the MNA or not, can apply for support by visiting www.albertametis.com or calling 780 455 2200.

About the MNA

Since its inception in 1928, the MNA promotes and facilitates the advancement of Métis people in Alberta through self-reliance, self-determination and self-management. The MNA is governed by a Provincial Council, comprised of a Provincial President and Vice President and six regional Presidents and Vice Presidents, all democratically elected. In June 2019, the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Government of Canada signed the MNA-Canada Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement.

For more information:

Métis Nation of Alberta announces Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion flood relief

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Edmonton (May 11, 2020) – The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is announcing $140,000 from the Emergency Housing Fund for its Region One and Six offices to support Métis citizens within Alberta who have been affected by the floods in the Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion/Mackenzie County areas. MNA Regions One and Six will work with Local 1935, Fort McMurray and Local 74, Fort Vermilion to ensure funding reaches those affected.

Flooding, due to ice jams on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers and the Peace River in Mackenzie County, led to evacuation orders for some residents of Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion.

“These have been called once-in-a-lifetime floods and many Métis people in the Fort McMurray and Fort Vermilion areas are being impacted,” said Audrey Poitras, President of the MNA. “The MNA is here to help all Métis citizens within Alberta in this time of need. We send our thoughts to everyone who has lost a home or suffered property damage, and we thank all of the first responders and everyone involved in ensuring the safety of all Albertans.”

“These unprecedented floods have added stress in a time of great uncertainty for Métis and all Albertans,” said MNA Vice-President Dan Cardinal. “The MNA is dedicated to ensuring Métis Nation citizens impacted by these floods, get the support they need a quickly as possible.”

The MNA funds will be made available to Métis citizens within Alberta who are in need to cover costs associated with being displaced as a result of the flooding. This can include expenses for temporary living arrangements, food, clothing, and other essentials.

About the MNA

Since its inception in 1928, the MNA promotes and facilitates the advancement of Métis people in Alberta through self-reliance, self-determination and self-management. The MNA is governed by a Provincial Council, comprised of a Provincial President and Vice President and six regional Presidents and Vice Presidents, all democratically elected. In June 2019, the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Government of Canada signed the MNA-Canada Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement.

Watch the announcement video for these supports by President Poitras.

If you’re a Métis citizen living in one of the flood affected areas and need support, please contact your Regional Office.

Region 1
P: 780-623-3039

Region 6
P: 780-624-4219
TF: 1-800-668-5319

Indigenous Program Resources and Services

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Read or Download this valuable resource provided by Indigenous Health Program (AHS).

A special thank you to:

Dr Cassandra Felske-Durksen/Indigenous Wellness Clinic
Mike Sutherland/Senior Advisor Edmonton Zone
Violet D. Shepard/Indigenous Health Coordinator

Click image to view or download PDF

Condolences to the families of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal

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Condolences to the families of Jake Sansom and Morris Cardinal from the Métis Nation of Alberta.

Like so many in our community, we were devastated to hear of the deaths of Jacob Sansom and Morris Cardinal last weekend. Jacob and his uncle Morris were loving, generous men and the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) mourns with the families they leave behind. Our deepest condolences to Jacob’s wife Sarah and their three children and to Morris’s three stepchildren and five grandchildren. Our hearts are with you all.

Jacob and Morris were hunting in the Glendon area to help provide food for family members after Jacob lost his job due to corona-virus layoffs. They were out on the land, doing what any Métis would do in a time of need. Both were MNA citizens and registered Métis Harvesters, exercising their inherent right and doing so responsibly and sustainably.

Yesterday, the RCMP charged one man with two counts of second-degree murder. He will be brought to justice for his horrific, senseless crime.

The MNA is in contact with Jacob and Morris’s families to provide immediate financial support during this unimaginably difficult time.

As a community, we all feel this loss. We mourn together and we will heal together.

If you are struggling or know someone who is, for any reason, please reach out to someone. Talk with family, friends or contact mental health supports in your community. You can find a list in Alberta at albertametis.com/covid-19-information/mental-health/

Jacob Sansom, 39, and his uncle Morris Cardinal, 57, smile in a recent photo.

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:

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
Marc St. Germain
Métis Nation of Ontario
Director of Communications   
613-798-1488 ext.119   
Amy Dillon
Métis Nation of Alberta
Director of Communications
780-455-2200 ext. 309