BCMF Founding President Keith Henry Issues Invitation to MNBC President Bruce Dumont to an Open and Public Debate in Front of the Métis Nation

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(Vancouver, BC) British Columbia Métis Federation (BCMF) Founding President Keith Henry welcomed Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society (KLMSS) President Lyle Letendre as BCMF’s very special Coffee Talk guest last night and the online live stream audience responded in the greatest numbers the show has ever recorded. Unfortunately this large audience caused delays in the system but the show is available on the site today.

Over 3000 initial viewers came online to hear KLMSS President Letendre describe his Métis community one of the only historic Métis settlement communities in British Columbia dating back to his ancestors accompanying Alexander MacKenzie’s expedition in 1792 into the area. KLMSS is located at Kelly Lake which is located 120 kilometers southwest of Dawson Creek, British Columbia and fifty kilometers west of Hythe, Alberta in Northeast British Columbia. There are approximately 150 people that reside in the community’s forty-five homes. An additional 190 (estimated) people were raised in the community and continue to stay connected with their families although living in other parts of the province and throughout Canada.

BCMF Founding President Keith Henry discussed at length with Lyle Letendre the initiatives that will empower this community in economic development and continue Métis cultural education.

On behalf of the Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society President Letendre signed a Statement of Cooperation with the BCMF on June 11th 2011 that that will see the two organizations acting cooperatively on issues like culture, education, housing, health care and Métis governance and representation at the federal and provincial government levels.

BCMF President Founding President Keith Henry also took time out to congratulate Métis individuals Earlene Bitterman and Daryl Piper who courageously cut up their long-standing MNBC citizenship cards and mailed it along with a letter revoking their registrations as MNBC citizenship card holders. Their actions are a direct result of their concerns about the MNBC debt, the MNBC loss of cultural support, the MNBC lack of respect of the people, and the MNBC President’s inability manage and properly address the chronic overspending leading to a the MNBC debt admitted by the MNBC to be no less than $2,300,000.00.

In the hour long broadcast from the BCMF Founding President Keith Henry spoke to a number of pressing issues including a recent MNBC Media Release under MNBC President Bruce Dumont’s signature that contained factual misrepresentations and what appear to be outright lies once more.

BCMF President Keith Henry stated; “Métis people of British Columbia are tied of these same personal attacks. It is nothing more than trying to divert the attention of the real challenges we have been demanding MNBC to address for over 2 years. There is no credibility to the MNBC communication. Really the very first line states the CCMC has been making false statements since 2008. Well the CCMC did not start until October 2009 so how can anyone believe anything these people say.”

BCMF President Henry added; “I invited MNBC President Dumont to attend next Thursday in studio to have an open and pubic discussion about the issues. The seriousness of the financial mismanagement by MNBC is what matters, the loss of cultural support for our communities and Métis people is what matters, the late payments on tuition for funding MNBC received is what matters, therefore put your personal agenda aside and openly discuss and answer the questions. Should MNBC President Dumont appear on Coffee talk next Thursday July 14th at 7:30PM I would expect a huge online audience waiting to hear his remarks and it is safe to assume it will be the largest audience ever given his continues claims that BCMF and myself personally are making false statements.”

BCMF Founding President Henry concluded; “I look forward to seeing Métis people celebrate our culture this weekend at the Métis Days hosted by the BCMF at the Klahowya Village in Stanley Park. BCMF has now made arrangements to broadcast the commemorative celebration on Saturday, July 9th night from 6-9 PM to provide all Métis people a chance to witness the First Nations invite the Métis people through this work into their territory. Those who cannot attend can now tune in @ www.livestream.com/metis. Onwards and upwards!”

Click here to watch the recorded Coffee Talk Broadcast.

Media Inquiries:

Keith Henry


British Columbia Métis Federation




Click here to download this press release in PDF format.

10 Responses to BCMF Founding President Keith Henry Issues Invitation to MNBC President Bruce Dumont to an Open and Public Debate in Front of the Métis Nation

  1. Genealogical Ties July 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    I felt this was an interesting show, but I cannot agree with Mr. Letender on his interpretation of Metis community. The Metis community was a mobile community which migrated in seasonal patterns winter/summer, food gathering, animal populations, and economic reasons. Yes, there are more than just those that live in Kelly lake that can fit the Metis community model through keeping their continual ties to their community members. Don’t fall into the trap that the BC government wants us to that we had to have an established community that sat in one place, to do so is a travesty to our ancestors. What is BCMF striving for to establish a land base territory in Kelly Lake, when we occupied the province following trade routes prior effective control. ? More education is needed out there before BCMF tries to define a community simply based upon politics.

    Open up dialogue and do research, you might find the real definition of historic community. Community is not a physical place but a community defined upon interpersonal family and extended family relationships, that share a common way of life. Our ancestors did not live in stationery communities which was exacerbated by the non-recognition of our usage of lands and the turmoil Canada went through in its formation. It is our common cultural and historical heritage that ties and binds our community across Canada not confined within the boundaries of the province of BC.

  2. Earlene July 8, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Good comment Genealogical ties, I also believe that community should not be so narrowly defined as our Nation has came across Canada moving with the seasons as you state, and due to the circumstances of Metis “The forgotten people” in the late 1790’s to the early 1800’s forward. As I listened to Lyles recollections of history our family was also in Lac St Anne, it was a spiritual gathering point. I have photos of my grandmother and great grandmother there, and stories of the shaking of the tents and blessing of the medicines, I was to young to remember the ceremonies but remember being there in the 1970’s.

    Our extended family records indicate a mass movement of community members down into oregon territory (before Oregon Treaty), the Montana, and in the latter into Northern Alberta and BC before effective control as you state. The whole community has been segregated by non-aboriginal policy after policy, of Bills, Treaty, scrip, it has hard for the average Metis to Keep up. Metis were in and out of treaty, that is in the record books. For someone’s interest- LINK Lawrence J. Barkwell’s research from the Louis Riel Institute http://www.scribd.com/collections/3067976/Metis-Who-Left-Treaty

    I also agree with you we need more research, but community driven. I have read many reports that have been done, without any input by the community leading to conclusions that either were not complete or were misguided. I have often questioned the methods that MNBC affiliates uses as their Community acceptance process, by signing a paper that you belong to a political affiliated charter, to me that is not community acceptance. These are modern communities that these charters live in, while I whole heartily agree with you the definition of community is interpersonal relationships tied with a common cultural bond, it is in my opinion not a town or city that was created by non-aboriginal members. It is pigeonholing members into these local clubs while they already have community acceptance simply by practicing the culture and being related to everyone in the community by family ties.

    The above was also part of the reason, I returned my MNBC citizenship card, it was the non-consultation with any of our family members when they make these policy decisions. In combination with, The Natural Resource Act? Policies and Procedures? 6.0 Compliance and Enforcement? Would you give them the authority over you by the very policy you had no consultation in? The right to charge you with an offence? Accepting only ducks? We practiced our continual right for generations and still do… I leave that one to you… I know my answer, and I have all my ducks in a row and my ancestry researched.


  3. Keith Henry July 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm #

    Thank you Genealogical Tie and Earlene,

    I am confused by the assumption regarding BCMF defining Metis communities through Kelly Lake.

    Kelly Lake has a strong Metis history but this is specific to their families an experiences. Kelly Lake needs support and BCMF supports this. However, at the BCMF we also know Metis communities are still evolving and the rights of Metis people in Canada are being defined each year.

    For the record Kelly Lake President letendre felt there were other rights bearing Meti communities in BC.

    I hope we can have other Metis communities meet with BCMF and reach mutual agreement on next steps in terms of how BCMF can assist.

    One last note, BCMF strongly believes we need more research done with Metis people throughout BC. In the BCMF letter in June to Provinial Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Honourable Mary Polak we identified one of four requests being the need for immediate research.

    Appreciate the dialogue!

  4. Richard Lucier-larson July 8, 2011 at 10:27 pm #

    I agree mostly with you Earlene, our family’s heritage is right across the continent of Mixed blood/half-breeds, mostly in the Fur Trade.

    We also seem to be in static community’s for up to 4 generations( i.e. Pigeon Lake) and Lesser Slave Lake..

    So we have a combination of static community’s ,hibernate Villages, and nomadic.
    I have found only one book that treats us somewhat truthfully and that is restricted by the study to mid Alberta.

    Title The Buffalo Lake Métis site:
    A late nineteenth Century
    Settlement in the Parkland of Central Alberta,
    Published by the Provincial Museum of Alberta.
    Sub Title Human History
    Occasional paper No 4 1988
    I suggest Page 11,
    The Origins of the upper Saskatchewan Peoples

    Well worth a read, I will bring my copy to the Klahowya Village on Saturday, no I will not loan it.
    The Métis settlements/communities in even southern Vancouver Island are easy to find in doing basic research, Fort Victoria in 1846 was built by Half-breeds Fort Langley earlier.
    Both have descendents either in those communities or close .
    Happy researching ;
    Richard Lucier-larson

  5. Earlene July 9, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    I agree Richard and Keith, much more research needs to be done.. Great work at the Metis Trading Post. I look forward to watching the special event tonight at 6:30 PM. It is a great turn out, and I am proud of all the hard work that went into this event. Bev Lambert your energy is always unmatched!

    Our family moved from Buffalo Lake into Lesser Slave which was also one point on the map since it had excellent fishing for jumbo whites. They sold to fishery owned by a gent called Menzies. My grandfather had a boat on lesser slave. They also used the trade route through Dunvegan to the Fort st John post and ran horses and cattle between Spirit River and the Fort. Interesting history… I am always amazed at their mobility without the modern conveniences of vehicles.

    In Kelly Lake my uncle Riley Whitford and aunt Lydia Gladue are buried there on the settlement. It has a long history and one full of Metis culture. Glad to see them working progressively for change!


  6. Richard Lucier-larson July 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    Hi Earlene:
    A good day at the Klahowya Village, met some old friends and a few I have seen on Facebook, renewed a friendship with distant cousin Lyle and discovered his wife is also related to me via Lac St Anne and Pigeon Lake.

    The visit was very pleasant and the signing of the letter of Cooperation went very well
    Bev as usual put on a excellent show entertaining a good sized crowd, I noticed the Craft booths were busy and a few giving tours were busy ( I was nearly pressed into service, right at the signing time) the signing was fairly short as I had hoped and lots of people taking photo’s , Kieth putting one on facebook as soon as the signing was finished.

    The only tragic part was Daryl did not get the chocolate cake he was hoping for, it is really sad to see a grown man cry.

    This event was a good example of what a Métis organization should be doing, promoting our culture.
    Richard Lucier-larson

    • E.Bitterman July 10, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      Glad you could be there Richard, and congratulations on the new communities signing. From the 15 minutes I have seen it was a great event, wish I could of been there.

      Daryl we are going to have to save up a chocolate cake fund. 🙂 Proud to be Metis with the BCMF

  7. George and Terry Goulet July 10, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    With respect to how the Supreme Court of Canada defined a Metis Community in the 2003 Powley decision, we are currently writing an article on the significant restrictions which that Court has imposed on Section 35 Metis rights. We mentioned some of these in our presentation at the Metis Summit last April and the Coffee Talk program in May.

    Here is one example. The Supreme Court defined a Metis community to include a requirement that a group of Metis live together “in the same geographic area” to support a “site-specific aboriginal right”. This narrow definition fails to take into account the different meanings of the term community. It fails to to take into account historical facts relating to the Metis. It fails to take into account their mobility.

    An historic Metis community was primarily one of kinship, shared relationships, shared history, heritage and culture, way of life, mobility and other attributes. For example,in exercising their traditional rights in the buffalo hunt, the Metis did not do so in a fixed geographic area. They traveled far afield,often hundred of kilometers, in their squealing Red River Carts, in search of these hump-backed furry bovines with huge heads and short horns.

    The buffalo hunt lasted several months and was a large-scale and grand socio-economic affair in which the hunters were accompanied by their wives and children,babies were born, young lovers married, and jigging, fiddling and camaraderie echoed throughout their nightly prairie encampment. The buffalo were harvested by the Metis for commercial as well as subsistence purposes.

    However, because of the Court’s limited definition of community referred to above, the Powley Case has been used by various Provincial Governments to deny Metis rights (e.g. the Willison case in B.C.), rather than to recognize and affirm them. In our view, the Metis should forget the Court system in pursuing their section 35 rights. A constitutional right which will bankrupt a Metis in attempting to obtain it through the courts is not much of a right. The Metis should, instead, vigorously pursue political negotiation, emphasizing that the honour of the Crown and the Constitution require that Metis rights be recognized and affirmed.


    George and Terry Goulet

    • Earlene July 12, 2011 at 12:49 am #

      George and Terry,

      We would love to read the paper, the powley case being used across Canada has driven the government’s policy of defining our community into stationary pre-confederation origins within the provincial boundaries. I agree with your comments in regards to mobility, it is going to take records and research to prove the Powley case wrong.

    • Old Guard Watching July 26, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

      Correct me if I am wrong but there is a much simpler way for the Metis to be recognized as a sec 35 rights bearing Nation….the same as the Inuit did it. That is to put forward a “constitutional question” by a national Metis representative body within the House of Commons. However there is no will to do that because there are a lot of Metis lawyers making a lot money by bs…ing the Metis Nation and fooling that we need a lot more research to support cases ect. Research how the Inuit did it…fundamentally it is not that difficult, but there has to be the “will to do it”

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