Otipemisiwak Métis Government accuses Manitoba Métis Federation of divisive politics

The president of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government – formerly known as the Métis Nation of Alberta – says the Manitoba Métis Federation [MMF] needs to stop playing divisive politics.

“The Otipemisiwak Métis Government is disappointed in the repeated attempts by the Manitoba Métis Federation to divide the Métis nation,” Andrea Sandmaier said. “We’re all related. To be fighting against each other is harmful to our citizens. We need to come together and work together the way that we were intended to do.”

Along with the Chiefs of Ontario, the MMF is co-hosting an Indigenous Identity Fraud Summit in Winnipeg this week which takes direct aim at organizations like the Métis Nation of Ontario, or MNO.

The MMF says the MNO is not a legitimate Métis government because its communities are not directly tied to the Red River area.

Both the MMF and COO are opposed to the federal government’s proposed Bill C-53 which formally recognizes the Métis Nation of Ontario.

First Nations in Ontario have rallied against the legislation because they say it could be used to infringe on their inherent treaty and land rights.

Both the Otipemisiwak Métis Government and MNO have voiced their displeasure at not being invited to the summit.

Trial in Winnipeg

An APTN News reporter who is covering the first-degree murder trial of Jeremy Skibicki said time is running out on both Ottawa and Manitoba to announce plans for a search of a Winnipeg-area landfill.

“If the families don’t hear something almost immediately after the trial they’ll be very upset and we could see more protests and even potential unrest this summer,” Kathleen Martens said.

Skibicki’s trial is taking place in Winnipeg this week.

He has confessed to killing four Indigenous women – Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and a fourth unidentified female known as Buffalo woman.

Skibicki’s defence has entered a not guilty plea saying he should not be held criminally responsible for the deaths due to mental illness.

Police believe the remains of Harris and Myran are located in the Prairie Green landfill and the federal and Manitoba governments have pledged $20 million each to a search of the landfill.

Wildfires and mental health

A Yellowknife doctor says northern communities that have been exposed to wildfires can experience a number of mental health effects.

“It can really increase levels of eco-anxiety and ecological grief which we increasingly understand are normal reactions to the real threat posed by climate change to our well-being,” Courtney Howard, who studies the health effects of wildfires, said.

“It can lead to a climate awakening which I view as the moment where what climate change means for yourself and your family really lands with you and that can come as a really uncomfortable type of adjustment. You start to look at the future differently and wonder what you need to do.”

Last summer saw a record-breaking wildfire season across Canada and officials are bracing for another heavy wildfire season this year.

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