Manitoba Metis Federation signs agreement with Canada to advance rights to self-government

WINNIPEG — The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and the Government of Canada took a major step on Tuesday to advance the Manitoba Métis people’s right to self-government.

On Tuesday, the MMF and Canada signed the Manitoba Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Agreement.

The agreement, which was developed by both parties, recognizes the Manitoba Métis people’s right to self-government, as well as the MMF’s role as the government of the Manitoba Métis nation. It also recognizes the MMF’s authority over citizenship, leadership selection, elections, and the operation of their government on behalf of Manitoba’s Métis people.

David Chartrand, president of the MMF, said justice is being achieved with this agreement.

“We’ve always been a government and no one will ever take that from us,” he said.

According to the MMF, it is an incremental agreement that lays out the steps to more formally recognize the MMF as an Indigenous government under Canadian Law.

Chartrand noted that the Métis people have fought for everything they have achieved.

“We’ve had to vigorously put our plans together and unite together to fight for a common cause and we’ve been successful,” he said, noting the Métis nation doesn’t give up.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs said they were disappointed with the announcement, saying Ottawa didn’t consider the implications to “the inherent and Treaty rights of First Nations.”

“As the original Treaty partners to the Crown, First Nations have yet to be given the right to self-governance matters such as citizenship, elections, and the unencumbered operations of their own governments,” Grad Chief Arlen Dumas said in a statement. “With the signing of this agreement, Canada has now clearly signalled it prioritizes the Metis over First Nations as the Liberal Party seeks a majority with another federal election looming nearer.

“This agreement ignores the First Nation tables and concerns that each First Nation would have with the Crown making agreements and arrangements with the Metis who claim rights and land that have existed long before the Metis came to be, and identified in our Treaties.” 

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