The Métis of northern Lake Superior take another step towards self-government (2 photos)

The Métis claim their rights as a recognized indigenous people.

THUNDER BAY – There are perhaps thousands of people of Métis descent in the Thunder Bay area who do not yet realize that their heritage could provide them with benefits that they do not currently enjoy.

The organizers of an initiative to develop a regional Métis self-government plan say they want to hear from as many Métis as possible in the region in the days and months to come.

The Métis people are recognized as one of three distinct Indigenous groups in Canada, with rights guaranteed under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.

“If people looked at their genealogy, I would suggest that there are over 5,000-10,000 Métis citizens, and we would all like to involve and involve them in this process,” said Darren Brown, President of Northern Lake Superior Métis. . Self-government steering committee.

In collaboration with the Métis Nation of Ontario, the committee is holding a series of consultations this week in Thunder Bay, Geraldton and Marathon.

Brown says the meetings will help determine how to proceed with self-government in that part of the province.

In 2019, the Métis Nation of Ontario signed an agreement with the federal government that recognizes the MNO’s right to self-government.

Brown said three Métis councils – Thunder Bay, Greenstone and North Superior – subsequently agreed to negotiate self-government for the region as a North Lake Superior Métis community.

He said self-government could help improve many services to Métis people.

“We want a relationship with government so that our child and family service needs are met, our regional health care needs are met, our regional housing and child care needs are met. long-term be satisfied, “said Brown.

“We have this right, and we want to assert it with the government and negotiate directly with it. As well as with the rebate programs for gasoline, energy. We pay the taxes. We want to seek a better relationship, and we want regional harvest control. These are essential. “

Brown said the consultative work done to date has identified several options for self-government, under the Three Canoes, One River banner.

“One is for a relationship with the Métis Nation of Ontario, the second is an autonomous regional relationship directly with the Government of Canada… and the third option is that we are ready to listen to the existing structures of the Métis Nation of Ontario or take a third way. “

The key questions to be resolved are whether the group should incorporate and whether it should have its own constitution.

The Métis community of northern Lake Superior is one of seven Métis communities in Ontario recognized as a “historic” Métis community.

It is the second largest of the nine Métis regions of the Métis Nation of Ontario, and one of six with rights.

It currently has approximately 1,800 registered members.

Thunder Bay area members attended a consultation meeting on Tuesday evening.

Meetings are also scheduled this week for residents of the Greenstone area in Geraldton at the Royal Canadian Legion Hall on Wednesday evening, and for members of the North Rim at the Zero 100 Motor Inn in Marathon on Thursday evening.

Tags : federal government
Teresa R. Cabrera

The author Teresa R. Cabrera