Ottawa, ON (December 7, 2021) – Following discussions with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the Métis National Council (MNC) has jointly decided to postpone the planned visit to the Vatican due to increasing public health concerns regarding the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The MNC delegation, along with the AFN and the ITK, was scheduled to visit the Vatican later this month to meet with Pope Francis. Grounded in the stories of Métis Survivors, families and communities, the MNC delegates planned to convey the deep, lasting intergenerational trauma that residential and day schools inflicted upon the Métis Nation, as well as the need for the Church to provide reparations to the Métis Nation.
“The health and safety of our Elders, knowledge keepers, and communities is our number one priority,” said MNC President Cassidy Caron. “With the Omicron variant rapidly making its way across the world, we are choosing to do our part to prevent its spread and keep our people safe.”
A joint statement from the AFN, ITK, MNC and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) made an important note that the delegation will be rescheduled to the earliest opportunity in 2022. When health and safety protocols allow, the MNC looks forward to completing this trip to the Vatican and meeting with Pope Francis on these important issues.
“The MNC remains firmly committed to bringing an inclusive and representative voice to the Vatican, through its Official Delegation, to elevate the diverse stories and experiences of the Métis Nation, to the greatest extent possible, including the ongoing intergenerational effects of colonization and Canada’s Residential School System on the Métis People,” said Caron. “For our Elders and all those who never returned home, we will continue to seek the justice our people, across the Homeland, deserve.”
Since 1983, the Métis National Council has represented the Métis Nation at the national and international levels. Today, it is mandated by four democratically elected governments that represent the Métis Nation within Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. These Métis Governments include the Métis Nation of Ontario, the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, Métis Nation of Alberta and Métis Nation British Columbia. The MNC is committed to accountability and transparency as well as supporting its Governing Members in their ongoing journeys to advancing Métis rights as well as exercising the Métis Nation’s inherent right to self-determination and self-government in their respective jurisdictions. Cassidy Caron is the President of the Métis National Council.