According to President David Chartrand, an agreement signed with the Canadian government brings the Manitoba Métis Federation one step closer to its long-awaited official recognition as a government under Canadian law.
Chartrand and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett signed the Manitoba Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Accord on Tuesday at a ceremony at Upper Fort Garry in downtown Winnipeg, home of Louis Riel’s provisional government during the Red River Resistance over 150 years ago.
The agreement sets out steps to formally recognize the jurisdiction of the Manitoba Metis Federation over its citizens, elections and the operations of Métis government. It also recognizes the constitution and the general assembly of the federation, the federation said in a statement.
“Whether it be any party in this country, even the Liberals, we will not give up our rights and our place in Confederation to anyone,” Chartrand said.
“This is ours, we have earned it, we have bled for it and we are dying for it. It is a country that we have built, a province that we have built as a people and we will defend it with everything. what we have. ”
Chartrand said the agreement applies to all Métis in Manitoba, no matter where they live.
The deal builds on a $ 154 million funding agreement signed in 2018.
Some of the money was to be invested to improve the social and economic well-being of the Métis in Manitoba, in areas such as housing, health, child care and early learning.
The plan also began a process of working towards a self-government agreement, which would recognize the federation as a Métis government.
At the time, Chartrand said the Métis Federation was forced to structure itself as a society due to federal and provincial laws, which meant that other governments did not recognize its authority.
The agreements follow a 2013 Supreme Court ruling that found the federal government broke a promise made to the Métis people when Manitoba entered Confederation in 1870.
In a 6-2 decision, the highest court in Canada declared that “the federal Crown has failed to implement the land grant provision set out in section 31 of the Manitoba Act of 1870 in accordance with in the honor of the Crown ”.
This section promised to set aside 5,565 square kilometers of land – including what is now the city of Winnipeg – for 7,000 Red River Métis children.
As the federation celebrated its deal on Tuesday, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas criticized the deal.
In a statement, Dumas said he was “alarmed” that the federal government has signed an agreement with the Manitoba Metis Federation without considering the implications for Manitoba First Nations, who are also negotiating their own self-government agreements and claiming much of the same land as the Métis.
Next steps following the agreement with the Métis Federation include negotiating a treaty and passing implementing legislation in Parliament.