Métis National Council (MNC) ‘Homeland’ Dogma since 1983 and supported by Federal government is unravelling.
Recall that a fixed notion of ‘being Métis’ has long served a particular political institutional purpose. Funding and research models, the political structures and the policy incentives for Indigenous peoples have supported a ‘particular’ understanding.
However, this MNC – Federal government ‘political ideal’ is at-odds with the complexity and fluidity of Métis on-the-ground in communities.
In the September MNC Newsletter it appears MNC leader Chartier is being forced to admit to fact that the Province of Ontario and MNO recognized 5 new communities outside of their long-touted ‘homeland’ definition. According to Chartier, “it is in the best interests and survival of the Métis Nation, and the integrity of its geographic homeland and related citizenship that this new development be dealt with in an expeditious manner.”
It appears from this release they want to quickly deal with this by further entrenchment into a form of Métis Act guaranteed and apparently funded by Canada.
MNC has long attempted to dominate and regulate a restrictive homeland identity and an exclusive relationship with Canada.
But this status-quo is at odds with the complexity and fluidity and needs of Métis in the ground in sovereign communities.They have never been interested in what is right/best for communities and support for the vitality and well-being of local Métis community formation and repatriation.
Nor have they established dialogue and protocol with First nations, but instead are caught up in ‘politics of recognition’ and exclusive ‘identity politics’ with governments. In Ontario as example, First nations academics have been recently deeply criticizing the MNO (affiliate of MNC) over this very issue.
In fact MNC affiliates MNBC have subverted community governance and harmed members like SS.
Meanwhile other Indigenous peoples such as many First nations are moving toward jurisdiction, land and development rights, nation-to-nation equal partnerships.
As Indigenous legal philosopher John Borrows states, there is no “essential” Indigenous identity that requires Indigenous people to think and act in unison.
This is instructive for the Métis situation in diverse and fluid communities in BC and across Canada. A 2013 Senate report calls for governments to collaborate with all organizations and communities for knowledge partnerships and research.
Instead of one-window ideological approaches to Métis identity and governance, governments and government bureaucracies must work better with those who dissent and disagree and institute better processes and a plurality of options in partnership with ALL Métis organizations and communities.
The 2013 Report of the Senate Standing committee on Métis identity interestingly states, “Many communities and organizations across the country have made maximum efforts to document this history with minimal support from outside sources.“
The (Senate) committee also states that any comprehensive research program on the Métis must incorporate oral histories and other methods of ascertaining the Métis’ own views of their histories.”
One of the more exciting elements of the Senate Report’s ‘strategy’ is the recognition that there must be a strong “appropriately resourced” research component that must include Métis voices and input.
Of course, the challenge here is to interpret these resources and oral histories in ways that supports the vitality and well-being of local Métis community formation and repatriation.
In light of UNDRIP and the recent UN report and the Senate report, all governments must negotiate protocol with all legitimate groups including BC Métis Federation and communities.