By Chelsea Kemp
Journalist of the Local Journalism Initiative
The Manitoba Metis Federation fine-tuned the verbiage of its constitution at its annual general meeting over the weekend, strengthening its ability to serve in the Red River Metis national government.
The Annual General Meeting was held from Friday to Sunday and presented 23 resolutions to amend the MMF constitution, election regulations
The MMF is in negotiations with the federal government to establish a treaty process and establish the rules around being a government for the Red River Métis. An agreement between the parties was reached on July 6, 2021, when the Manitoba Métis Recognition and Implementation Agreement was signed. Together, they are working to advance the document and the government-to-government relationship based on the affirmation of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership with the Red River Métis.
The document was jointly developed by all parties and marks a historic agreement that will support MMF’s vision of self-determination and self-government, said Leah LaPlante, MMF Southwest Region Vice President.
The agreement recognizes the right of the Manitoba Métis to self-government and the mandate of the MMF to serve as the government of the Manitoba Métis. This includes recognition of the MMF’s jurisdiction over citizenship, leadership selection, elections and operations relating to Red River Métis citizens.
The constitutional amendments in the MMF assembly are a vital part of history, LaPlante said, and mark the fulfillment of generations of hard work on behalf of the Métis people.
Sometimes she had doubted that she would ever be able to witness this historic moment.
“I think sometimes we still pinch ourselves thinking that we’ve finally been recognized after so many years.”
LaPlante was 16 when she first joined a local MMF south of Boissevain. It’s amazing how far the organization has come since its launch in 1967, she said.
The MMF has faced adversity over the years that has taken hard work and dedication to overcome, LaPlante said, but the end result has been the empowering experience of forging treaty rights and self-reliance. governmental.
“When it’s in your heart. When it’s your people. When you’re telling your story and wanting to make people’s lives better, you’re really trapped and I think that’s part of who you are.
The Manitoba Métis Recognition and Implementation Agreement marks a moment of empowerment for Métis citizens, she said, and for younger generations who take over from their parents who are fighting for these rights. since many years.
She was impressed by the number of young people who attended the assembly and who pledged to fight for the future of Métis citizens.
Youth are essential Métis citizens, she said, as they will move the MMF forward into the future while listening to elders to understand the stories of the past. They need to know the struggle that unfolded to see where they want to go.
“It’s the perfect learning experience for teens to sit, listen and ask questions.”
Over 2,000 Métis citizens attended the in-person assembly at Assiniboine Downs over the weekend. Although most health measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been lifted across Manitoba, the organization continues to focus on the safety of its citizens, including proof of vaccination, wearing mask and sanitation in the meeting.
LaPlante is part of the team of justice, constitutional, natural resources and citizenship ministers who have worked on constitutional changes over the past two years. The final product of the federation-approved resolutions will recognize the MMF as the pre-existing democratic representative government of the Métis of Manitoba, which has the responsibility to provide responsible and accountable self-government to its Red River Métis citizens.
“We are going to grow in a very big way, there are exciting times ahead.”
Chelsea Kemp Isa Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works at the Brandon Sun. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Turtle Island News does not receive funding from the LJI government.
Add your voice
Is there more to this story? We’d love to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Make your voice heard on our contribution page.