Current Affairs

Memorandum re: Recent Agreements with Canada and Alberta

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Today, Métis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras released a memorandum regarding the recent agreements with Canada and Alberta. To download the PDF memorandum, Please click hereThe memorandum full text is also available in the post below. Please scroll down for more information. 

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


TO: All Members

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

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

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

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

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

 

MNA-Canada Memorandum of Understanding on Reconciliation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[for the MNA] to negotiate, on behalf of the Métis in Alberta, a modern day treaty relationship with the Crown through a “land claims agreement” or other arrangement as called for and contemplated within the meaning of section 35(3) of the Constitution Act, 1982.” 

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

 

MNA-Alberta Framework Agreement   

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

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

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

Notably, this agreement also includes the following important additions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Click here to download the PDF memorandum. 

Memorandum: MNA Statement on the current Government of Alberta Métis Harvesting Policy

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To: MNA Members – Harvesters
CC: Members of the Provincial Council of the Métis Nation of Alberta
From: Karen Collins and Bev New; Co-Ministers of Métis Rights and Accommodation
Date: Thursday, February 23, 2017

The current Government of Alberta Métis Harvesting Policy was adopted unilaterally by the Government of Alberta (GoA) in 2007 to replace the Interim Métis Harvesting Agreement which had been mutually negotiated between the GoA and MNA. This policy was later amended in 2010, again without the involvement of the MNA. 

For certainty, the MNA does not support the GoA Harvesting policy.

In the meantime, the MNA is actively negotiating with the GoA to develop an agreement on harvesting that is consistent with the law and relevant to the Métis communities in Alberta. We ask for your patience and continued trust to allow for the time needed to finalize a Harvesting agreement for all Métis in Alberta.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact Tyler Fetch at tfetch@metis.org or 780-455-2200.

Download the printer-friendly PDF Memorandum here

 

4th Annual Provincial Business Mixer

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The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Sustainable Development and Industry Relations (SDIR) Team is thrilled to announce our 4th Annual Provincial Business Mixer to take place on Thursday, March 23, 2017 at the Ramada Hotel & Conference Centre at 11834 Kingsway Ave NW in Edmonton, AB.
 
Business mixer admission is 
free to MNA members!
 
Seminar: 9 am – 11:30 am 
Trade Show ($250 Table): 1 pm – 5 pm
Banquet ($65 per person or $500 Table): 6 pm
Sponsorship Opportunities Available 
 
Sponsorship Deadline: 
Feb. 28, 2017 
Trade Show Booth Deadline:
March 3, 2017
 
RSVP: 
Katie Suvanto 
ksuvanto@metis.org 
780-341-1447 
 
Click here to download the PDF poster file. 
 

Métis Seniors and Youth Symposium

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All are welcome to join Métis Nation of Alberta for a Métis Seniors and Youth Symposium from March 23 – March 24. Details are posted below! 

Friday, March 24, 2017: 5:00 pm
Bannock-Making & Stew at MNA Office
Métis Nation of Alberta Provincial Office
#100-11738 Kingsway Ave
Edmonton, AB, T5G 0X5 

Saturday, March 25, 2017: 7:30 AM
Symposium at Ramada
Ramada Hotel & Conference Center 
11834 Kingsway NW
Edmonton, AB, T5G 3J5

Join Métis Nation of Alberta for a weekend of building relationships across generations! Starting Friday, March 24 at 5:00 pm, MNA head office will serve stew and bannock, while offering some bannock making tips. On Saturday, March 25, at the Ramada Conference Center, located at 11834 Kingsway NW, MNA will host a symposium that will include presentations on Métis rights, dinner, open mic jam, jigging lessons, photo booth with props, and much more!

For those looking for help with taxes, MNA encourages you to bring your tax information, as there will be a third party present to assist. In hopes of establishing a definition of “Métis Elder,” MNA also encourages attendees to bring their definition of an elder for our consideration.

Attendees must RSVP to Christine Dyck at cdyck@metis.org, or by calling 780-455-2200. 

Click here to download the PDF poster!  

Federal Navigation Protection Act & Fisheries Act Survey

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We are currently asking our members to fill out an online survey that will help inform a report designed to increase the respect and rights of Indigenous people. This online questionnaire has been created to collect the opinions, feedback, and suggestions of Métis Nation of Alberta members regarding the federal reviews of both the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act. The information gathered from the questionnaire will be reviewed and compiled as part of a report that will be submitted to the Government of Canada. The report will be used to guide the implementation of changes to legislation and assessment processes that will better protect the environment and respect the rights of Indigenous people.

Find the survey at Alberta Métis Survey.

For more information, contact Theo Peters at (780) 455-2200 or tpeters@metis.org. 

Recruiting for Alberta Native Provincials

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Métis Nation of Alberta is now accepting applications for our 2017 -2018 Initiation Hockey Team, playing in the Alberta Native Provincials tournament. Children born in the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 are welcome to register. Donning red and blue jerseys emblazoned with a bold infinity symbol, the pint-sized Métis team last year delivered an out-sized performance as they skated to victory at each and every game. Native Provincials is a hockey tournament for Aboriginal youth that takes place each spring.

To register with the team, contact Marilyn Lizee at mlizee@metis.org. Registries are accepted on a first come, first serve basis. 

Important Notice

Due to a change in policy with Alberta Native Provincials, they will no longer be accepting letters for hockey players entering into this tournament.  The MNA has been advised that our Métis ID cards will be the only form of identification they will accept when registering players.

Métis Nation of Alberta strongly encourages parents, guardians, and caregivers to ensure our Métis youth receive their MNA membership. For assistance or more information, please contact the MNA Registry Department at (780) 455-2200, or at registry@metis.org.

 

Vote for Cold Lake

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Voting is now open for Small Town Saturday Night Jamboree! Small towns across Alberta are vying for the opportunity to host Small Town Saturday Night and raise funds for their cause of choice. The town of Cold Lake has graciously promised the funds they would raise to the Veterans Memorial Métis Nation of Alberta is building at Métis Crossing. The only way for Cold Lake to win, however, is for Albertans to vote for the town online at Big Valley Jamboree. Voting will take place for the next two weeks, so please vote every day and tell your friends! Join us in honouring the sacrifices and contributions of those who serve this nation.

 

Media Contact:
Jasmine Breti
Métis Nation of Alberta
tel: 780-455-2200
jbreti@metis.org

Métis Nation of Alberta Signs Historic Framework Agreement with Provincial Government

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Today Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) President Audrey Poitras has signed a groundbreaking ten-year Framework Agreement with the Government of Alberta. This agreement is not only the longest in MNA history, but is also the most comprehensive. Deriving many of its mandates from the Supreme Court of Canada’s Daniels Decision, section 35 of the Constitution, and United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the collaborative agreement sets a promising precedent for the development of Métis rights, including harvesting. Premier Rachel Notley stated “This agreement is an important step in the journey of reconciliation. Métis people have a long and proud history in Alberta, and we look forward to continuing to build our strong relationship.”

As an important step towards reconciliation, the Framework Agreement stipulates MNA’s right to participate and collaborate with the Government of Alberta on decisions that will affect the well-being of its members. Some of those priority actions are:

  • Renewing and strengthening the Nation to Nation relationship
  • Facilitating the recognition and respect of Métis Rights in Alberta that upholds the Honour of the Crown and advances reconciliation
  • Develop a “whole of government” approach to Métis issues
  • Increase economic opportunities for Alberta Métis

in areas like environment, climate change, harvesting, health and wellness, housing, education, culture and heritage, employment, and women’s issues.

President Poitras is particularly pleased to sign a framework that not only establishes a promising working relationship with the Government of Alberta for ten years,  but symbolizes decades of hard work by all leaders, past and present.

For further information contact:

Marilyn Lizee
Office of the President
Metis Nation of Alberta
780.732.3381 or via email mlizee@metis.org

Métis Nation of Alberta and Canada Sign Agreement to Advance Métis Rights and Outstanding Claims in Alberta

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The Métis Nation of Alberta (“MNA”) has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to Advance Reconciliation with the Government of Canada (the “MOU”).  The MOU was signed yesterday on Parliament Hill by MNA President Audrey Poitras, Bev New, MNA Co-Minister for Métis Rights and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.  Members of the MNA Provincial Council were also in attendance at the signing.

The MOU establishes a time-limited exploratory discussions table between the MNA and Canada with the goal of arriving at a mutually-agreeable framework agreement by September 2017.  The anticipated framework agreement would establish a formal negotiations process based on mutually agreeable subject matters, including Métis self-government, lands, rights and outstanding claims against the Crown.

The MOU comes on the heels of recent positive political and legal developments for Alberta Métis, including the Prime Minister’s November 2015 mandate letter to Minister Bennett providing direction for her to advance a nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship with the Métis Nation as well as the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision in Daniels v. Canada that was released in April 2016. 

“This MOU has been a long-time coming for Alberta Métis.  For many years at the federal level, we have been on the outside looking in.  This MOU opens the door for us to finally put in place the government-to-government relationship with Canada our people have sought for generations as well as begin to address the pressing issues of our citizens and communities in Alberta, including dealing with Métis rights, lands and self-government,” said President Poitras.

Below is a copy of the MOU, along with background materials. For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Sonia Millman at (780) 445-9956 or via email at smillman@metis.org.

MOU Between MNA and Canada

Background and FAQs regarding MNA Canada MOU

Community Tribute Acknowledging Dr. Herb Belcourt

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Everyone is welcome to attend a community tribute in honour of Dr. Herb Belcourt, a distinguished member of Alberta’s Métis community. Dr. Belcourt will be formally inducted into the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame for the Lifetime Achievement Award. The community tribute event will take place next Friday, January 20, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Festival Place in Sherwood Park (100 Festival Way, Sherwood Park, AB, T8A 5T2). 

Download the PDF event poster here