Metis Nation holding citizenship forum on identity in Saskatoon

The Metis Nation is wrapping up two days of a citizen’s forum on identity in Saskatoon.

The forum is a place to have open dialogue about what is Metis citizenship and how and where people can register.

The provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario have their own online and mail in registration that is now available on their regional websites.

A national registry is not in place as of yet.

Will Goodon from the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) says it’s not an easy process.

“It might seem a little complicated now because some folks are kind of moving away from where the plan was 20 some years ago in 2002. All of the governing members of the Metis Nation got together and they unanimously passed the national definition,” said Goodon.

“That had been followed by four out of five of the governing organizations right up until now.”

Ontario also has its own registry that has caused some division on what each province considers criteria to be Metis.

“Each province in the Metis National Council (MNC) each have their own registry,” said Ron Quintal of the Fort McKay Metis Nation of Alberta. “A resolution in 2017 I believe that was passed to set up and structure a national registry it was voted against by Alberta as they are opposed to a national registry.”

Quintal says there are a lot of challenges on defining Metis identity for each province because Saskatchewan and Ontario are straying from the definition that was passed in 2002.

“A question that came up this morning about a national registry I think it’s an absolute need in this country for us to truly look at defining who we are I think we have to take it from the national basis especially when we are looking at reconciliation at a national level that’s the level we as a nation need to come together on,“ he said.

“We need an independent registry that is completely arm- length away from the actual governing body of the metis nation of Alberta.  Its why I am in full support of a national registry I think it’s the path forward for good governance.”

Jim Durocher, president of the Ile a la Crosse Metis local says everyone needs to get on the same page of identifying who are Metis.

“I think it’s very important that people understand and know that different provinces do not have different ways of identifying who the Metis are that’s been done quite some time ago,” said Durocher. “I remember when I was president of the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan it was adopted in the Metis Homeland which is the north east corner of Ontario and the northwest corner of B.C. plus Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“It was very clear the definition and it was also adopted by the Metis National Council.”

Durocher says “the definition is those who can claim ancestry on the homeland which was the red river area and those who claim identity through ancestry and those who are accepted by a Metis community.”

Reporter / Saskatoon

Priscilla is Cree and a member of Mistawasis Nehiyawak in Saskatchewan. She has worked with APTN National News in the past as a reporter in Winnipeg, host for an entertainment segment, and the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wolf is an alumni of the INCA –Indian Communications Arts Program at FNUC & has a BA of Indigenous Studies from the University of Regina. She brings over ten years of experience working in media across the prairie provinces.