The MNA is advancing a constitution for self-governance to no longer fall under the Alberta Societies Act and instead be recognized as an equal order of government. The MNA is the only Métis government in Alberta who has negotiated a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement with the Government of Canada towards that goal. To date, there are no modern treaties or self-government agreements in effect in Alberta (map), and the MNA’s Constitution is an important next step towards changing that.
We are the Otipemisiwak, “the people that own themselves.” Since before Canada became Canada, our Métis ancestors have been determined to govern ourselves and protect our distinct identity, culture, and values for generations to come. Within what is now Alberta, our people were pushed off our lands to make way for others, and we became known as the “road allowance people.” During this same period, Canada implemented a fraudulent scrip system that further dispossessed our people. In response, our ancestors organized, asserted our rights, and built what is now known as the Métis Nation of Alberta, the oldest continuous Métis government in Canada.
Today, through the Métis Nation of Alberta, we have built a strong, provincewide Métis government. We represent over 60,000 registered citizens and are growing steadily. We have negotiated agreements with other governments that recognize our rights, and we have pushed back when they denied our rights, including by turning to the courts when needed. And we have built an impressive provincewide service delivery system that includes Métis-controlled institutions such as Rupertsland Institute, Apeetogosan, and our Métis housing corporations to help meet the needs of our people.
In June 2019, the MNA and Canada signed a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA), which formally recognizes that the Métis Nation within Alberta holds the inherent right to self-government recognized by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The MGRSA also sets out a process for the recognition of an MNA Constitution—based on the Métis Nation’s inherent right to self-government—in federal legislation.
A constitution — developed by Métis and adopted by Métis — is our way forward to protect our unique identity and rights, and anchor our self-government for generations to come. Years of consultation and engagement have made our Constitution ready to be voted on so we can proudly proclaim to the world that the Métis Nation within Alberta governs itself.