The Métis National Council’s annual general meeting wrapped up Thursday in Winnipeg with a series of resolutions it believes will help the nation to nation relationship with Canada including adopting a Métis map.
One resolution the MNC hopes will help is an official map of the Métis people.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle because for lots of different reasons, political, administrative, and other reasons for a long long time,” said Will Goodon of the Manitoba Métis Federation.
“But this map is something that’s very similar to one that was developed in 1983 when the Métis National Council was first formed by the three Prairie Métis governments.
“So this is just putting something back into place so that it’s very clear of where the Métis Nation is.”
The idea behind the map started when the MNC noticed the rise of groups in eastern Canada who the MNC says falsely claim Métis rights.
Agreeing with a map is also sending a message.
Earlier this week, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was disciplined for accepting non-Métis people into its ranks.
“It’s certainly a narrowing of the… what’s been recognized as the historic Métis Nation homeland,” said Margaret Froh, president of the MNO. “And that doesn’t include communities like the Powley community, which is the only Métis community that’s been recognized in law in Canada as being a rights-bearing Métis community.”
“We’ll talk with our citizens and make sure people understand the decisions that have been made and we’ll continue to move forward.”
Will Goodon, the minister of housing and property management for the Manitoba Métis Federation, says the approval of the homeland map resolution is a historic moment and something that needed to be put in place.
“We are a distinct people that developed 200 or 300 years ago and we have community ties, we have kinship ties, our own language, we have our own food, our own dance, our own uniforms – so there’s lots of evidence for the Métis Nation to say that we are a people,” he said.
“There’s not a lot of evidence for some of these others, so again we’re not saying who we are, we’re saying that they’re not somebody, or they’re not a nation, or they’re not a people, we’re just saying they’re not us.”