Metis Nation disputes Census data - APTN NewsAPTN News

Metis Nation disputes Census data


Kathleen Martens
There are more Metis in Canada than ever before, says the newest census data.

Figures released Tuesday by Statistics Canada show the Metis population comprises more than 51 per cent of the country’s Indigenous people.

But that doesn’t mean there are more Metis babies.

Stats Can says it means more people are self-identifying as members of the Metis Nation.

Something that rankles the leader of the Manitoba Metis Federation.

“That’s the weakness of census Canada asking this question,” said David Chartrand, president of the MMF.

“We’re writing a letter to census Canada on that issue.”

Stats Can says the self-identified Indigenous population grew by 42.5 per cent – or four times that of the rest of the population- since 2006. That reflects a jump to 1,673,785 from 1,172,790.

At that rate, the Indigenous population is projected to hit 2.5 million by 2040.

Yet, self-identifying as Metis or non-status First Nation doesn’t make one a member of the Metis Nation, said Chartrand. Although he allowed that’s a fact people continue to debate.

“We are very concerned these numbers are misconstrued,” he said from Santiago, Chile where is attending an international Indigenous conference. “Mixed blood is far different than a citizen of the Metis Nation.”

The province of Manitoba is considered the ancestral homeland of the Metis in Canada. The census shows the Metis population has remained relatively stable on the Prairies at around 400,000, with Alberta registering the highest at 19.5 per cent of the
total population.

But it reports a jump in Ontario to 120,585 – something Chartrand disputes.

“I can guarantee there are not even 100,000 members of the Metis Nation in Ontario. Only a small part of the homeland is in Ontario. I guarantee it.”

In total, the census shows Indigenous people make up 4.9 per cent of the country’s population.

It also shows more Indigenous people are living off-reserve – nearly 49.1 per cent – and more than half of those living in Western Canada.

The data says the highest number of First Nations people live in Ontario.

The long form Stats Can census – the first in 10 years – found the Inuit population continues to grow. It also identified a baby boom not matched in the non-Indigenous population.

For example, children under the age of four account for 8.7 per cent of the Indigenous population.

The Inuit has the youngest population with 33 per cent aged 14 and under.

Stats Can learned more of those children under four are in foster care. Namely 4,300 Indigenous children.

But children’s advocate Cindy Blackstock said that’s not enough information.

“It’s difficult to know what’s happening with First Nations children because we have no national data collection system like the United States and Australia.”

Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, said it’s important to know the number of children in care, how long they’ve been there and why they’re there in the first place.

Especially at this young age.

“These are kids under four, which is such a critical age for children’s development. That sets the building blocks for future trajectory: brain and body and language development for children.

“This is highly problematic to me,” Blackstock added from her office in Ottawa. “If kids are our national treasure and we don’t even know how many kids are in care. It’s hard to do good policy and be accountable to these children and their families.”

First Nations children comprise 41.4 per cent of children under four in foster care, followed by Metis children at 6.7 per cent, and Inuit children at two per cent.

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14 Responses to “Metis Nation disputes Census data”

    Ramona Forest November 5, 2017 at 2:25 am #

    Who are you kidding Sheryl, it does not mean the Half-Breed of the 1870 Manitoba Act. It cannot mean them because their government is Canada. They cannot have Metis govern them. do you homework first.

    Jamie October 26, 2017 at 1:21 am #

    Many ppl think Metis means mixed blood..Google it

      Sheryl November 2, 2017 at 2:02 am #

      At one time it did. Then it was changed to mean the union between French men and Native women. THen later the Scots and Native women. And much later any union between European and Native and now somehow only the West can claim as they must have grown up from the soils on the banks of the Red River.

    Evelyn Wake October 26, 2017 at 1:15 am #

    When I read comments on this issue of who is and is not entitled to call themselves ‘First Nation’ Indigenous, or simply Indigenous, or lay claim to being Metis while others refute the claim, I feel very sad for all those who wish to claim Indigenous heritage and get to know more about their ancestral history, language, and traditions. In the US, we have band chiefs demanding that those living on the reserves submit to a DNA test, and if it is less than a certain percent, that person loses status and is evicted from the reserve. The other day, a man claiming to be Indigenous and advocating for his people, got into a snarking contest with a young women who did not share his point of view, and accused her of being “too rezzed”. As a non-native, that sounded to me, as if he had contempt for those who choose to remain on the reserves, as opposed to those like himself, who have built successful lives in mainstream society by assimilation. I could of course, be mistaken in my interpretation. Nevertheless, it is apparent that there is great disagreement between various groups about who can lay claim to any particular type of Indigenous identity. And that is a big problem, if we are to achieve any sort of Reconcilation and Truth saying between our Indigenous peoples and our White Settler society.

    Earl Belcourt October 26, 2017 at 1:07 am #

    Talk about insulting. He has to be a trump supporter

    Chief Karole Dumont October 26, 2017 at 12:05 am #

    Of course the MMF disputes that. They forget that the census ask people if they identify as Metis, not if they belong to the elite club that the MNC & acolytes call the “Metis Nation”. Their hubris and dictatorship is reaching a pathetic and dangerous level!!
    Let’s not forget that the MMF refuses to publish their membership statistics. Gee, I wonder why?????? Last year, I did an analysis of their numbers. They claim to represent 400,000 Metis in western Canada, yet according to their membership numbers found on their websites, they have 102,000 members. Where are the other 298,000 Metis????? (MMF does not report its membership so I calculated 30,000 members, keeping in line with Alberta’s membership).
    Let’s also remember that Chartrand, Chartier and company constantly call themselves the Metis “NATION”, which is false representation and identity appropriation in my humble opinion. The Metis “Nation” comprise ALL Metis people from sea to sea to sea, not only the small patch of land the MNC defines as their “homeland”. They can have a homeland if they want, but they CANNOT and SHOULD NOT ever call themselves the Metis “Nation”, just like they cannot and should not call themselves the Metis “National” Council. They can call themselves the Red River Metis, or any other name they want, but not the Metis “Nation”. Everyone with a bit of historical knowledge knows that the first Metis peoples were born in the east in the 1600s, not in the west in the 1800s. Everyone with a bit of historical knowledge knows that the word Metis comes from the east and was used there almost 150 years before any white man ever set foot in the west.
    NEWS FLASH CHARTRAND: The province of Manitoba is not the ancestral homeland of the Metis in Canada – Quebec and eastern Canada is!!!!
    CHARTRAND STATES: “I can guarantee there are not even 100,000 members of the Metis Nation in Ontario. Only a small part of the homeland is in Ontario. I guarantee it.”
    Wow, talk about being nice to MNO, one of your partners in the MNC 🙂 Stats Can reports, 120,585 Metis in Ontario. I am not surprised by that number and in fact, I predicted that (by my calculations), at many as 120,000 people in Ontario would identify as Metis before 2020. Considering that Ontario has 13 million peoples, it’s a simple statistical equation in relation to the rest of the country.

      Earl Belcourt October 26, 2017 at 1:05 am #

      I agree with you and I am a red river Metis but I cannot stand and say that the MNC represents me while these people collect more funds personally than the Prime Minister does by double and triple dipping. I often wonder if the first ministers get per diems since they keep funding this organization under these circumstances

        Chief Karole Dumont October 26, 2017 at 3:15 am #

        I’ve wondered the very same thing, Earl Belcourt. I was blown away by hearing the Minister of Finance announce in parliament that he was granting $113 millions to the MNC!!!!! And then to hear Minister Bennett claim that to be recognized as Metis, one had to meet the Powley test…. a harvest court decision in Sault Ste-Marie, Ont. Imagine that!!!! A harvest case decides the identity of a person!
        The MNC and its acolytes do NOT speak for all the Metis nationally… and never will be accepted as the spokesperson of all the Metis in Canada. They speak and rake in the money for the members of their elite club, not for the Metis “Nation” throughout Canada.

      Anne Anderson October 26, 2017 at 1:55 am #

      My opinions — I’d be interested in knowing how many local Detroit River region Metis were registered and given cards from MNO in Windsor this past year, because I would imagine the number is very low, now that they have a new definition of who they will consider is Metis. They have not given me answers although I asked for information directly from their leader there. I believe they have an office they run using govt funding, and yet they don’t know how many locals they formally represent? And of those they do represent, they apparently don’t know how many new members have ancestry from the historic fur trade post at Detroit/Windsor?? Wow it would be nice to know that our tax dollars are going to an organization that represents the local Metis, that they are acknowledging the many Metis families that originate from the local area, and that the numbers warrant them having an office in Windsor. Otherwise, what are they doing there if they don’t have any intention on representing the local Metis by registering them? I’d like answers. Anytime in the next several days is fine, and I’ll thank you in advance! BTW, in the 1800s the fur trade contract descriptions for the men going to the “Northwest” included all Metis and everything west, northwest and southwest of Montreal, including Detroit. How some people today are attempting to decide where Metis are — in my opinion — is not supported by the numerous archived documents that describe otherwise.

      Ramona Forest October 26, 2017 at 5:53 am #

      Well my Dear did you know that the Metis People and the Half Breed People are two separate People, but it seems no one is aware of this. Back in 1870 there were 2 People who come from unions with the First Nation. There was the English speaking People who were called the Half-Breed and there were the French speaking People who were called Metis. The Half-Breed were created in the 1500’s where the Metis were created 100’s of years later by explorers and fur traders. Louis Riel was the Half-Breeds’ Leader not the Metis’ Leader. Did you know that in the 1870 Manitoba Act that the 1.4 million of acres of land set aside for the Half-Breed children is only for the Half-Breed Children and not for the Metis Children. This is why the Metis could never win the Land Claim, it didn’t belong to them. The Half-Breed lived on this land and owned it individually. When Louis Riel agreed to make this area a province called Manitoba he ensured that Canada put this Land in the Manitoba Act to protect the Half-Breed Children’s Land. He also made an agreement that when it was put in this Act that the Half-Breed would no longer govern themselves but would blend into the Canada and Manitoba Governments. Also in the early 1900’s preference was given to the Metis National Council to use only the name Metis and exclude the name Half-Breed completely. This is why no one knows who they really are and think they are all Metis. Also since the Metis cannot govern the Half-Breed they also cannot give them any rights such as Harvesting, fighting for Residential School Compensation or the 60’s Scoop. If these children were from Manitoba more then likely they were the Half-Breed Children in these schools and part of the 60’s Scoop. So it is the Half-Breed that are forgotten and totally left out. Did you know that the Half-Breed are a Tribal People.

      David Mancini October 26, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

      I agree with you the word Metis comes from the French word Métis which the French settlers of New Frances called half breed. In the US they don’t use the word Metis. They don’t know the meaning of Metis. We in Canada are lucky to be able to identify ourselves as Métis. This is our ancestral roots. Do not forget the problems that our ancestors had to be recognized. And today we have the same problems between us. Don’t forget the saying together we stand stronger. Can anyone tell me what is a metis. Are you a metis if your aboriginal ancestor dates from the 17 century or are you a Metis if your aboriginal ancestor dates from the 20 century. Are you a Metis because you belong to a tribe. Are you a Métis because you live in a reserve. Are you a Metis because you live in western Canada. Really I don’t understand what is all this argument about who is and who’s not. What bonification could this give to western Canada Métis.

        Ramona Forest October 28, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

        My understanding of who is Metis is anyone who has First Nation Ancestral background, but does not qualify for First Nation Status, and does not come from the Historical Half-Breed Tribe of the 1870 Manitoba Act where Half-Breed Land Script was issued to this Tribe as Louis Riel as their Leader.

        Ramona Forest October 28, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

        There is no French word for Half-Breed did you know that, so how could the French call Half-Breeds Metis?

    Marina Robichaud October 25, 2017 at 11:46 pm #

    We were not able to state that we are Metis in the last census !!!