A “new government is being set up by the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) and at the helm will be former Métis National Council president Clément Chartier.
Chartier, who talked about the new government on Tuesday at the Louis Riel commemoration in Winnipeg, says the new government is being formed to represent the Red River Métis and it is “going to be one without boundaries.”
Just what that new government will look like is still being discussed but it comes after years of internal conflict at the MNC – much of it over concerns with Métis Nation of Ontario’s citizenship registry – while Chartier was at the helm.
He says he was appointed by MMF President David Chartrand two weeks ago to act as the ambassador to the new government on international and inter-nation relationships.
Chartier says negotiations are underway with the Algonquin Nation, and with the Mi’kmaq and that there will be further negotiations on “accords or treaties of recognition and cooperation” with other Indigenous Nations.
In 2018, when Chartier was then president of the MNC, a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs “respecting each other’s Nationhood, agreeing to work collaboratively on the issue of individuals claiming Métis ancestry in Nova Scotia.”
Chartier was the president of the MNC until a court-appointed special sitting of the organization’s general assembly in late September. That meeting also saw the MMF withdraw from the MNC.
“If it was not for David Chartrand and the hard stance, the correct stance that he took, with the support of his cabinet and his assembly, we would be on the road to nowhere. president Chartrand and his cabinet took the hard decision, not easily arrived at, to state that if those imposters from the east are kept in the Métis National Council, the Manitoba Métis government will have to leave, and that has happened,” Chartier said during his speech in front of federal, provincial and municipal politicians gathered in Winnipeg.
The Métis National Council has not responded to a request for comment.
Will Goodon, the MMF’s minister of housing says right now, the MMF is the national government of the Red River Métis but it is likely to evolve.
“Our assertion is that we represent Red River Métis and we represent them wherever they live,” said Goodon in a phone conversation on Wednesday.
Goodon says people need to have their say and he is expecting a consultation process across the Métis homeland to be announced shortly that will talk to folks who want to be represented by a government structure that is not “starting to dilute, itself.”
In a post on the MMF’s website, under the title “Manitoba Métis Federation – the National Government of the Red River Métis” says “the MMF is the only officially recognized Métis Government in Canada. The MMF signed the Manitoba Métis Self-Government Recognition and Implementation Agreement with Canada at Upper Fort Garry on July 6, 2021.
“The agreement provided immediate recognition of the MMF as the democratically elected Métis Government for the Red River Métis.”
The statement goes on to say “the MMF will protect the Red River Métis beyond borders, throughout our homeland, and indeed wherever our Citizens live across Canada and beyond. We have always been the protectors of the Métis Nation and national definition. We stand ready to defend the Métis Nation.”