MNA Citizens elect new President, Citizens’ Council, formally becoming Otipemisiwak Métis Government
Posted on: Sep 21, 2023
Métis Nation within Alberta Citizens elect new President and Citizens’ Council, formally becoming the Otipemisiwak Métis Government
Largest Indigenous leadership vote in Canadian history
Edmonton, AB (September 21, 2023) – Citizens of the Métis Nation within Alberta (MNA) have taken the next step in their self-government journey by electing a new President and Citizens’ Council. With this election, the constitution that MNA Citizens ratified in a province-wide referendum comes into force, formally transitioning the Métis Nation of Alberta to the Otipemisiwak Métis Government.
In a province-wide vote held from September 13-19, 2023, which included mail-in, online, and in-person voting, a total of 8,167 ballots were cast and accepted. A copy of the Chief Electoral Officer’s statement on the results of the ratification vote are available here. UPDATE: The the Chief Electoral Officer’s statement on the results following the recount in District 20 – Athabasca Métis District can be read here. UPDATE 2: the certified elections results can be read here.
This represents the largest leadership vote in the history of the Métis Nation of Alberta, and according to our research, the largest leadership vote ever conducted for an Indigenous government in Canadian history.
A New President and Government
The Otipemisiwak Métis Government Constitution establishes a Citizens Council consisting of a President, Women’s Representative, and Youth Representative (each elected province wide) and 22 District Representatives (each elected by the MNA Citizens in their respective districts). The province-wide vote saw all of these positions filled.
The Otipemisiwak Métis Government welcomes President-elect Andrea Sandmaier and its democratically elected representatives:
- Tai Amy Grauman, Women’s Representative
- Rebecca Lavallee, Youth Rep Representative
- Darryl W. Campbell, Citizens’ Representative, District 1 Foothills
- Catherine Schnell, Citizens’ Representative, District 2 Medicine Hat
- Joe Chodzicki, Citizens’ Representative, District 3 Red Deer
- Lisa Schmidt, Citizens’ Representative, District 4 Rocky View
- Amber Boyd, District Captain, District 4 Rocky View
- Nelson Anthony Lussier, Citizens’ Representative, District 5 Calgary Nose Hill
- Jason Chernow, Citizens’ Representative, District 6 Calgary Elbow
- Carmen Lasante, District Captain, District 6 Calgary Elbow
- Kaila Mitchell, Citizens’ Representative, District 7 Jasper House
- Lisa Wolfe, Citizens’ Representative, District 8 Lac Ste. Anne
- Sarah Wolfe, Citizens’ Representative, District 9 Fort Edmonton
- Aura Leddy, Citizens’ Representative, District 10 Edmonton Whitemud
- Alfred L’Hirondelle, Citizens’ Representative, District 11 St. Albert
- Karen Collins, Citizens’ Representative, District 12 St. Paul-Cold Lake
- Bernie Poitras, District Captain, District 12 St. Paul-Cold Lake
- Shannon Dunfield, Citizens’ Representative, District 13 Grande Prairie
- Barry Dibb, Citizens’ Representative, District 14 Peace River
- Bobbi Paul-Alook, Citizens’ Representative, District 15 Fort Vermilion
- Judy Ann Cardinal, Citizens’ Representative, District 16 Fort Chipewyan
- Brooke Bramfield, Citizens’ Representative, District 17 Fort McMurray
- Valerie Quintal, Citizens’ Representative, District 18 Conklin
- Jason Ekeberg, Citizens’ Representative, District 19 Lac La Biche
- Joseph Noel Tremblay, Citizens’ Representative, District 20 Athabasca Landing
- Grant Lacombe, Citizens’ Representative, District 21 Lesser Slave Lake
- Nancy Margaret Cardinal, Citizens’ Representative, District 22 Wabasca-Desmarais
- Regan Auger, District Captain, District 22 Wabasca-Desmarais
The results for District 20 Athabasca Landing District Captain are too close to call and currently undergoing an automatic recount.
The Next Step in Métis Self-Government
Chapter 30 of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government Constitution, which was ratified in the largest Indigenous vote in Canadian history in November 2022, states that the Constitution comes into force and effect “on the date set for the first general election of the Métis Nation of Alberta Association.” With that election now concluded, the MNA has formally transitioned to the Otipemisiwak Métis Government.
This marks an important next step in the journey to Métis self-government. In 2019, the MNA signed a self-government agreement with Canada. This agreement recognized that the MNA represents the Métis Nation within Alberta, which holds the Indigenous right to self-government protected by Canada’s Constitution. The agreement was updated in February 2023 and also committed Canada to introduce federal legislation to support the MNA’s self-government recognition. Bill C-53 was introduced by the Government of Canada in the House of Commons on June 21, 2023, and we look forward to its swift passage.
While 26 self-government agreements or modern treaties have been implemented across Canada involving 44 Indigenous communities, none are currently finalized in Alberta (see map). The MNA’s transition to the Otipemisiwak Métis Government, which was formalized by this election, is an essential step towards becoming the first to be implemented in the province.
Self-government for the Otipemisiwak Métis Government will open doors with both Canada and Alberta, including:
- – a new fiscal relationship with Canada to finally provide Métis-designed supports to our Citizens in health, housing, language, education, training, economic development, and justice; and,
- – improving the services provided to Métis in Alberta such as mental health supports, supporting those with disabilities, delivering culturally appropriate child and family services, and caring for our elders when they can no longer take care of themselves.
Andrea Sandmaier, President-Elect, Otipemisiwak Métis Government:
“Métis in Alberta have a bold vision for a brighter future. I am humbled and honoured to be elected as the first President of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government and look forward to working with my fellow elected representatives, our Citizens and communities to move our Nation forward.”
Audrey Poitras, Past-President, Métis Nation of Alberta:
“Our people have a long and proud history of declaring and asserting our inherent right to self-government. We have always fought to have our unique self-government recognized in this country. Today, the Métis Nation within Alberta becomes the Otipemisiwak Métis Government. Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont, along with the many Métis women and men who tirelessly built the MNA over the last 95 years would all be very proud of the results we our people have achieved tonight. I look forward to working with President-Elect Andrea Sandmaier on an orderly transition.”
About the Otipemisiwak Métis Government
Formerly the Métis Nation of Alberta, the Otipemisiwak Métis Government is the oldest continuous Métis government in Canada. It was originally established in 1928, and has been built by Alberta Métis over generations. The Otipemisiwak Métis Government delivers programs and services to Métis Citizens living throughout Alberta through its governance structures and affiliates including Rupertsland Institute, Apeetogosan (Métis) Development Inc., Métis Crossing as well as its Métis Housing Corporations.
Currently, the Otipemisiwak Métis Government has over 64,000 registered Citizens, residing in every part of Alberta, and maintains the only objectively verifiable registry that identifies Métis Citizens and rights-holders living in Alberta. The 2021 Census reported the Otipemisiwak Métis Government has the largest membership of any federally-recognized Métis government in Canada.