‘They’re stealing our identity’ Métis National Council calls out eastern Métis groups - APTN NewsAPTN News

‘They’re stealing our identity’ Métis National Council calls out eastern Métis groups

Brittany Hobson
APTN News
At a meeting leading up to the Métis National Council’s (MNC) annual general assembly the topic of identity was put in the spotlight.

Over the past year the MNC has taken note of the rising number of people claiming to be eastern Métis.

President Clément Chartier says the groups are appropriating Métis culture and symbols.

“They’re stealing our identity,” he says. “They’re using our Métis Nation flag and they’re calling themselves Métis Nations.”

Chartier was part of a panel, including Saint Mary’s University professor Darryl Leroux and policy analyst Zabrina Whitman, discussing the growing phenomenon.

He says identity comes down to kinship and culture, and the eastern Métis groups are equating mixed-ancestry to being Métis.

“We’re a distinct people. We’re not a people of mixed-ancestry,” says Chartier.

“In fact, if the term Métis was to be used to describe people of mixed-ancestry…everybody would be Métis. Almost all Indigenous peoples, particularly in southern Canada, would be Métis.”

Included in Monday’s discussion was a panel on Métis Nation homelands.

Frank Tough, a professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, lead the discussion. He has spent his career studying Métis history including mapping the boundaries of the Métis Nation homelands.

Tough says the Métis emerged as a distinct group because of their part in the fur trade industry.

“It’s really been in Western Canada because of the fur trade, because of its isolation and their very important roles in the fur trade that they become a people and not just individuals who have mixed ancestry,” he says.

“If you had somewhere in the world [where] two people of different races who had a large family of five children, those five children really couldn’t say they were a nation.”

During this week’s meetings the Métis National Council is determining how to address the issue of eastern Metis.

Part of that started with the council signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mi’kmaq Nation last month.

“We’ve agreed that we’ll continue to work together to address these issues and we’re prepared to enter into further MOU’s with any other Indigenous nation that wishes to engage in that with us,” says Chartier.

The MNC’s general assembly will take place Nov. 28 and 29.

Chartier says discussions will continue but at this time it’s important to educate Canadians.

“Our responsibility is to say who we are, where our homeland is, and fight for our existence as a distinct people.”

bhobson@aptn.ca

@bhobs2

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14 Responses to “‘They’re stealing our identity’ Métis National Council calls out eastern Métis groups”

  1. srmoneo@shaw.ca'
    Shannon Moneo November 27, 2018 at 6:31 pm #

    Eastern Metis do not exist. The Metis people’s homeland is where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers exist and from there they moved West, not East. To claim Metis descent anywhere east of Thunder Bay is an insult and scam. To get my Metis Nation of BC card I had to complete a demanding, far-reaching process that took months. For people to self-declare that they’re Metis is troubling. Perhaps it has something to do with perceived benefits????

  2. bill.morrison3@sympatico.ca'
    bill morrison November 27, 2018 at 5:18 pm #

    The effort of Riel to establish a strong bond for the mixed ancestry of early Canadians seems to be a focus of westerners. Riel did not talk about regions or nations he talked of blood and the mixing of blood between the First Nations and the settlers. It was not the amount but the act of mixing and the subsequent strength developed by these people. We are ancestors of both worlds and Riel believed in our future strength and philosophized to that end. We will be joined in association, adaptability, culture and acceptance from coast to coast, and not by governments but by people strong reliable people.

  3. baubin@laurentian.ca'
    Bobby-Jay Aubin November 27, 2018 at 5:17 pm #

    According to geography, the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic Ocean would have landed on the East Coast, not the West Coast, therefore it would make sense that the Métis communities began in the East Coast and migrated down towards Québec, the Ontario and then West! Just Saying’…..

  4. srmoneo@shaw.ca'
    Shannon Moneo November 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm #

    Metis originated in Western Canada and their centre was at the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and they moved West, not East. I had to go through a very demanding, exhaustive process to get my Metis Nation of BC membership, including getting church records from the early 1800s. For anyone east of Thunder Bay to claim Metis status is an insult. Could it be a grab for benefits????

  5. wdeschambeault@outlook.com'
    Darren November 27, 2018 at 2:21 pm #

    The metis throughout Canada should hold a referendum regarding all issues affecting them. We should have the very least have all the presidents vote for the MNC. We have not had change there because those 55 people currently get co opted into putting in the same old person.

  6. s******@shaw.ca'
    Shannon Moneo February 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

    Eastern Metis do not exist. The Metis people’s homeland is where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers exist and from there they moved West, not East. To claim Metis descent anywhere east of Thunder Bay is an insult and scam. To get my Metis Nation of BC card I had to complete a demanding, far-reaching process that took months. For people to self-declare that they’re Metis is troubling. Perhaps it has something to do with perceived benefits????

  7. b*************@sympatico.ca'
    bill morrison February 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

    The effort of Riel to establish a strong bond for the mixed ancestry of early Canadians seems to be a focus of westerners. Riel did not talk about regions or nations he talked of blood and the mixing of blood between the First Nations and the settlers. It was not the amount but the act of mixing and the subsequent strength developed by these people. We are ancestors of both worlds and Riel believed in our future strength and philosophized to that end. We will be joined in association, adaptability, culture and acceptance from coast to coast, and not by governments but by people strong reliable people.

  8. b*****@laurentian.ca'
    Bobby-Jay Aubin February 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

    According to geography, the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic Ocean would have landed on the East Coast, not the West Coast, therefore it would make sense that the Métis communities began in the East Coast and migrated down towards Québec, the Ontario and then West! Just Saying’…..

  9. s******@shaw.ca'
    Shannon Moneo February 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

    Metis originated in Western Canada and their centre was at the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, and they moved West, not East. I had to go through a very demanding, exhaustive process to get my Metis Nation of BC membership, including getting church records from the early 1800s. For anyone east of Thunder Bay to claim Metis status is an insult. Could it be a grab for benefits????

  10. w*************@outlook.com'
    Darren February 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

    The metis throughout Canada should hold a referendum regarding all issues affecting them. We should have the very least have all the presidents vote for the MNC. We have not had change there because those 55 people currently get co opted into putting in the same old person.

  11. council@firstmetispeople.ca'
    Karole Dumont November 27, 2018 at 2:53 am #

    Our responsibility as Eastern Metis is to say who we are, where our homeland is, and fight for our existence as Canada’s first Metis Peoples.”

    • Wakhskarewake@gmail.com'
      Konkwehonwe November 27, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

      If you were the first Metis then wouldn’t you just be Metis, without having to distinguish which part of the country? Do you have a language, a distinctive culture, a role in history or ties to the land? The Metis do.

  12. c******@firstmetispeople.ca'
    Karole Dumont February 19, 2019 at 8:36 pm #

    Our responsibility as Eastern Metis is to say who we are, where our homeland is, and fight for our existence as Canada’s first Metis Peoples.”

    • w************@gmail.com'
      Konkwehonwe February 20, 2019 at 1:54 am #

      If you were the first Metis then wouldn’t you just be Metis, without having to distinguish which part of the country? Do you have a language, a distinctive culture, a role in history or ties to the land? The Metis do.