Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society (KLMSS) President Lyle Letendre sent the following letter to the Provincial Minister in light of the Provincial letter of September 8th where it was suggested that MNBC represents all Métis people and communities. KLMSS has had a relationship with the Province for decades and continues to communicate their frustration as organizations like MNBC suggest they speak for their people in Kelly Lake. MNBC’s misinformation has misled industry and governments to consult with themselves while ignoring the people of their community who use that area of land.
BCMF will strongly support KLMSS throughout this process.
Dear Minister Polak,
I am writing to you as the President of the Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society (KLMSS) after reading your letter sent to the BCMF on September 8th, 2011.
I am very concerned that you as the Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation (MARR) believe an organization such as the MNBC speaks for our community in Kelly Lake. I am sure you are aware that Kelly Lake is one of the only historic Métis settlements in British Columbia with well documented land use studies to provide our existence before effective crown control. KLMSS filed a lawsuit against the Provincial Government a number of years ago for discrimination and land that is yet to be resolved. Despite proven KLMSS traditional land use and occupation we do not see any support from the federal or this current provincial government and the ability for KLMSS to advance our lawsuit is dependent on funding and our preference to negotiate rather than pursue litigation. KLMSS would have expected this government to sit and negotiate issues we strongly believe needs to be addressed such as high unemployment, poor housing, inadequate community services, etc.
I am deeply concerned in light of your recent letter where you suggest MNBC speaks for all Métis people, I assume this include the people of Kelly Lake. This position is extremely upsetting as we have absolutely nothing to do with this nonprofit corporation nor do they speak for our community. MNBC does not attend meetings in our communities, have not supported employment and training access, and has not invited or paid for our delegates to attend any of their meetings, including their recent Annual General Meeting held this past weekend.
I am requesting a meeting to discuss this new Provincial Government position. MNBC has been using this perceived position to advance their economic development and consultation efforts on behalf of Métis communities, including Kelly Lake, without providing our communities important information. This is irresponsible and the people of Kelly Lake continue to correct this misunderstanding with industry on a regular basis.
KLMSS stands firmly with the British Columbia Métis Federation (BCMF) and we are requesting a meeting with your office asap in light of your public correspondence to immediately clarify the provinces new position as it related to the Métis people in Kelly Lake. Our community needs to be assisted to address many rights based and socio-economic issues.
Please contact me ASAP to discuss. I can be reached by phone at 1-780-296-1921.
President, Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society (KLMSS)