BC Metis Federation began 5 years ago as the Coalition of Concerned Metis Citizens (CCMC), a group of Metis people who were indeed concerned about their representation by the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), the organization recognized by the province of British Columbia and Government of Canada and primarily funded by the federal government supposedly to benefit all Métis people in BC.
The catalyst that built CCMC into the BC Metis Federation two years ago was the six key issues and behaviors or intimidation and threats from those elected to run MNBC, mismanagement of public funding to support the regions and communities, to outright manipulations of the election process culminating in the extremely poor decision to purchase an old elementary school in Abbotsford without consultation with MNBC members or a viable business plan that created multi-million dollar debt load today.
Since the beginning for CCMC and now the BC Metis Federation toured every region in the province twice spreading the message of responsible governance, participatory democracy and cultural support. The approach encouraged inclusion in real conversations with all Metis people and built relationships throughout the province.
BC Metis Federation President Keith Henry and various supporters such as Vice President Daryl Piper lead those provincial tours; “I saw Métis people initially frightened to come to our meetings, fearful of what MNBC might do to them if they were found at one of our meetings and it was sad to see such a dispirited group of men, women and children. We had put together a booklet of financial facts and figures and a blueprint for rescuing what was left of the remains of MNBC in 2011 and the reality of the dire situation they were in was finally revealed.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry and the entire board are thrilled at what has happened since those dark winter days traveling the risky roads of BC to spread the word. “Today” says Mr. Henry, “we have legitimate representative Métis governance including nearly 7,000 members with elected officials and solid organizations in every corner of the province. We hold regular meetings, transparent elections and organizational workshops where any member is encouraged to step forward with any question about what we are doing and why. BC Metis Federation does not threaten or try to sue anyone and is open and transparent and we are proud of it.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added, “It has been a struggle to receive funding and recognition from the province and the federal government but our recent claim of discrimination with the BC Human Rights Tribunal and Canadian Human Rights Commission has been accepted and will be heard at both levels of government. In addition we have broken new ground on fundamental issues like Metis identity by hosting the recent symposium looking for solutions on the whole identity question.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry further added, “Industry have sought our input on their various project plans and we are closely connected now to all levels of government when it comes to Metis issues. Our support for culture events is unprecedented and communication has been critical. The BC Métis Federation facebook page has an average of 60,000 viewers each week and our website has had over 18,000 unique viewers in the last 7 months alone who looked at over 225,000 pages. Our latest Human Rights Commission news release had nearly 23,000 people review in only 27 hours. These achievements have been remarkable in such a relatively short time for BC Metis Federation only being two years old but a very long journey that, in fact, dates back to Louis Riel who sacrificed his life so that Metis people could know the truth and achieve justice as respected within the cultural fabric and constitution of Canada. We honour such strong historic leaders when we stand up and do what is right no matter how hard or difficult.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry further concluded, “I cannot believe today is our second year anniversary. Thank you one and all and the future has never been brighter.”
For more information about the BC Métis Federation please go to www.bcmetis.com.
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-June-11th-2013-BC-Metis-Federation-Celebrates-2nd-Anniversary.pdf” style=”download”]BCMF Press Release June 11th, 2013 BC Metis Federation Celebrates 2nd Anniversary[/ilink]