(Terrace, BC) The BC Métis Federation scheduled a series of community engagements under the tag line “Regional Gatherings”. These were organized throughout BC and this past weekend BC Métis Federation representatives completed the Regional Gatherings with sessions held in Prince Rupert and Terrace. There were 15 people who attended in Prince Rupert and 20 in Terrace.
The BC Métis Federation Regional Gatherings were held in Nanaimo, Surrey, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Terrace, and Fort St. John. The Regional Gatherings began March 3rd and were completed as of May 19th. During this time BC Métis Federation was also invited to attend several other community meetings at the request of Métis people and various leaders. As such BC Métis Federation attended community meetings in Quesnel, Dawson Creek, and Prince Rupert. BC Métis Federation also attended another community meeting in Fort St. John in addition to the Regional Gathering.
The BC Métis Federation board members agreed to host the Regional Gatherings to ensure Métis people in British Columbia were provided an opportunity to review the information from the BC Métis Federation and to meet representatives and ask questions about membership, governance, discuss priorities, etc. The BC Métis Federation also wanted the Regional Gatherings to support a Métis community cultural celebration and to encourage participation through surveys and dialogue to guide the BC Métis Federation future endeavours.
BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated; “I am so thankful to the Métis people in northwest BC who attended our final Regional Gathering in Terrace this past weekend. We had constructive conversations and good feedback about what they wanted for a future provincial Métis representative organization. The Métis people in attendance also spoke about the importance of membership and of having a say in projects that affect their Métis community, especially the youth involvement considering projects such as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines.”
President Henry added; “The BC Métis Federation has received a number of surveys and much feedback and will begin the process of completing a report to share with the public in the future. There was strong feedback through the surveys and dialogue that will assist the BC Métis Federation to draft a new provincial constitution and further assist the BC Métis Federation to address community and regional priorities.”
President Henry further added; “It was somewhat disappointing that most of the MNBC board members did not attend the BC Métis Federation Regional Gatherings. We certainly invited every one of the MNBC board members and MNBC regional committee representatives to all of our Regional Gatherings. Unfortunately only a few showed up, although they did not have any answers about questions and issues the BC Métis Federation identified. Regardless all MNBC representatives who attended were treated respectfully and fairly.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “I am so thankful to the over 400 people who attended BC Métis Federation Regional Gatherings and community meetings during the last three months. We provided open dialogue and answered all questions from attendees while trying our best to engage discussions about a better future for our people. Many have expressed their concerns and therefore see the BC Métis Federation as a true democratic alternative, one that truly listens to the people and is prepared to take their direction, not the other way around. Thank you to our BC Métis Federation board members and volunteer team members who sacrificed time and energy to ensure a successful process. I know that together we faced some challenges during this process but overall I can say with confidence that the BC Métis Federation is building a legitimate base of community engagement and support for a strong future for Métis in BC. I’m excited to share our final report in our continued efforts to be transparent about all we do, including the responses through the surveys. Once this report is completed the BC Métis Federation will begin to draft a new provincial Métis constitution that will reflect the wishes and thoughts of our board of directors and members, along with the Métis people who participated in the Regional Gatherings through their survey responses and dialogue. Finally the BC Métis Federation will now focus our attention on a summer of Métis cultural events starting with Eurofest May 26th in Burnaby, Métis cultural displays and performances in Stanley Park June 21st – September 3rd, and a major Métis weekend festival in Kelly Lake on August 10th – 12th. We hope to see more of the Métis people in BC reconnect and heal through our Métis cultural celebrations. Join the BC Métis Federation as we rebuild our Nation.”
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis