The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is prepared to leave the Metis National Council (MNC) because they claim Ontario is allowing people to wrongly claim Metis identity.
A lengthy resolution was unanimously passed at the MMF’s annual meeting held in Winnipeg over the weekend, saying they’d leave the MNC and start a new national Metis Nation organization if MNC can’t get a grip on the Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO) granting citizenship to people with roots outside of the MNC’s official homelands map.
Read More: Metis Homelands Map
“The actions of MNO by granting citizenship to these individuals and granting recognition to organizations and communities, such as Mattawa, Georgian Bay, Killarney, and Temiskaming, who are not part of the Métis Nation, have endangered our Métis Nation’s identity including our political, social, and economic integrity and the future of our Nation’s existence,” reads a portion of the resolution.
“The actions of the MNO have created a dangerous precedent and opens the doors to hundreds of thousands of individuals, who could attempt to claim Métis Nation citizenship, with membership in organizations and communities in Eastern Ontario, Quebec, or even further east.”
Last fall, the MNC put MNO probation saying they weren’t following MNC’s rules for identifying who is or isn’t Metis. Also, MNO considers the five communities listed in the resolution as being metis communities – something the MNC rejects. The MNO denied any wrongdoing.
The MMF’s resolution last weekend also lashed out at the west, condemning the Metis in Saskatchewan and Alberta for not being critical enough of MNO.
MMF housing Minister Will Goodon says it’s complicated to outsiders looking in, but what it boils down to is simple: the Metis is one distinct nation and the word Metis can’t be used as a catch-all phrase by people who find some Indigenous ancestry in their family tree and aren’t rooted in the Metis nation.
“If we’re to allow hundreds of thousands of non-Metis people into the governing structure of the MNC, then actual Metis citizens will be out-numbered and we wouldn’t be able to have a say over who we are and how we govern ourselves and how we move forward,” he said.
MNC President Clement Chartier was on hand for the resolution and was seen participating in the standing ovation when the resolution unanimously passed.
Goodon said some of the people claiming Metis citizenship outside of the homeland might have Section 35 rights as an Indigenous person, but not as Metis.
“We’re not saying you can’t be who you are, but if you’re not us, you can’t claim to be us,” he said.
There’s no timeline for when the MMF might cut itself off from MNC if the dispute over Ontario continues.