‘You can’t be us’: Manitoba Metis Federation unanimously passes resolution to leave Metis National Council

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.

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3 thoughts on “‘You can’t be us’: Manitoba Metis Federation unanimously passes resolution to leave Metis National Council

  1. Ironically, the Supreme Court of Canada in the Daniels decision decided that being a Metis person isn’t as simple as the MMF is professing. So, I guess, not wishing to follow the law of the land might mean they really need to go it alone!

  2. As someone with roots at the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, I fully support the MMF’s move to leave an organization with fluid standards and overly-permissive rules. The Metis homeland is in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Extending the borders is wrong. Those who claim Metis citizenship beyond those provinces are not Metis, but are mixed blood. Perhaps they should come up with a new term and their own cultural distinctions.

  3. The term Metis didn’t begin in Manitoba and for the Manitoba Metis to raise their own flag by quashing our East coast history. Their attempt to own the logo is no different than Edward Cornwallis forbidding the use of Tartins in Scotland. The Metis are behaving in a colonialist way of exclusion not inclusion. They are not considering membership based on facts or history. They are applying a man made cap how many people they can control but for what gain? For what reason and for who’s benefit?

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