MMF discusses treaty with area citizens

Published on Tuesday, 07 March 2023 07:39

The Northwest Métis Region hosted a consultation meeting with its citizens regarding the Red River Métis Self-government Recognition and Implementation Treaty, Saturday in Dauphin.

The meeting gave Métis citizens as chance to add their input to the coming changes as a result of the Treaty, which was agreed to in July, 2021.

Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) vice-president and Health and Early Learning Child Care Minister Frances Chartrand said commitment made by the government of Canada will give the Red River Métis their inherent rights back.

“We’ll have access to our harvesting rights. We’ll have access to housing, education, economic development,” she said. “The commitment that was made with the federal government when they first fought. And we then we went to the Supreme Court with our land claims. In 2013, we won our land claims.”

Minister Chartrand said the treaty is for the next generation, adding it is history in the making.

“This will be the first time that the Métis are recognized and we have the new land treaty entitlement. So with the Red River Métis government, our citizens tell us what they want. They pave the path,” she said. “It’s our jobs as politicians to go out there and make it happen.”

About 200 people attended the meeting, which included a team of lawyers, one of whom is a Red River Métis citizen.

MMF president David Chartrand spoke about what the treaty means and the change for the next generation.

“And the impact it will have for the future and where we should have been 153 years ago,” he added.

The treaty, president Chartrand said, will truly change the essence for the next generation.

“It will set the foundation of assuring that there is not a doubt of the Red River Métis, of all the northwest. The agreement we signed in 2021, of July 6, removed the boundary lines. There are no provincial boundary lines that apply to us anymore. The northwest is ours,” he said. “So our citizens can join us no matter where they live in the world. And we have an obligation to protect our people’s rights as a government.”

It also sets the foundation for the future, Chartrand said, of where Métis fit in when it comes to a relationship with Canada.

“And Canada has the legal obligation that they’ve been avoiding for over 100 years. And it’s time that they come to the table and this will lead them to the table, force them to the table,” he said.

Chartrand hopes the treaty will help change the way people look at the Red River Métis.

“It’s to change the ideology of the people in the way they look at you. If they look at you as a corporation, as an organization, then they will treat you like that. But if they look at you, as you would hope they would look at, for example, the respect they have for municipalities, the respect they have for the premier, the respect they have for the prime minister,” he said. “So we’re a government. And we’re expecting that people will start to see that, within that respect, within that whole phraseology of reconciliation, comes a pattern or a modern change in this country where they will look at us as a government representing our people.”

That change, Chartrand hopes, will change the very fabric of the relationship between the Métis and Canada.

“It will really change the essence of clarity, without question. And that should have been done many, many, many moons ago,” he said.

Parts of the treaty are still being negotiated, such as child welfare, health legislation and land claims.

“So all these things that are happening are really a transition,” Chartrand said. “It’s not something that has come up overnight. This is decades and decades of struggles. A century of struggles. And it’s really setting us on a pathway to where we should have been. I look forward to a change where our people can really now know that they matter and that no one can step on them ever again.”

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Published in Dauphin Herald News