(Surrey, BC) –The BC Métis Federation cultural representatives Maxine Lavallee and Beverly Lambert joined Chris Thomas from the Kwantlen First Nation and their cultural group to bring forward a proper Aboriginal protocol welcome to the Federal Liberal conference held at the Sheraton Guilford Hotel yesterday.
BC Métis Federation Cultural Coordinator Beverly Lambert stated; “I want to acknowledge Chris and their Kwantlen cultural group who provided an important First Nation welcome and opening prayer in recognition of the shared territory. We were like family working together to provide the delegates a shared First Nation and Métis presentation. I also want to thank Liberal Director of Operations and Outreach Roma Ahi for ensuring the Liberal party of Canada respected Aboriginal protocol and treated us with so much respect.”
BC Métis Federation Cultural Coordinator Beverly Lambert further stated; “What a night of excitement, the Liberal Party treated us with respect and honour. It felt so peaceful and they where interested in who the BC Métis Federation are and our vision for the future. We could not say it enough times and we carried forward our continued statements. The BC Métis Federation is here for the communities, and we are proud to work with them side by side. We know our Métis people throughout BC want good leaders who consult and respect their needs first.”
BC Métis Federation Elder Maxine Lavallee stated; “BC Métis Federation is authentic and cares and we will hold everyone to be accountable and stick to their Métis family values during any disputes or conflict. Our Métis elders are also the knowledge keepers and must be involved to listen and guide our Métis people and families to a better future for our children.”
BC Métis Federation Cultural Coordinator Beverly Lambert concluded; “Maxine’s speech was so emotional that you could not hear a pin drop. The Liberal delegates were listening to our views. We spoke about how our own infinity symbol as Métis people is the guide to a successful governance structure, with our elders in the center, straight across, and not from the top down. The importance of standing as Métis and First Nations together to this delegation was a significant gesture. We were proud to stand together with First Nations and educate this delegation.”
BC Métis Federation representatives we were also invited to attend the Federal Liberal Aboriginal Peoples Commission and were impressed because during the speeches they were talking about the same views and experiences the BC Métis Federation has been calling. That is focusing on the community needs first, proper consultation, working together. These are values BC Métis Federation has been calling on for complete Métis governance reform in British Columbia.
The Federal Liberal delegation also included a seventeen (17) year old young man by the name of Mr. Bryan Crocket who is from Vancouver Island and jumping into federal politics. Mr. Crocket stated that he was Métis but did not know much about his culture. Therefore the BC Métis Federation team welcomed this future leader and gifted him his own Métis sash to support this young man. Mr. Crocket was beaming and clearly proud to be Métis.
Another special moment was meeting the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, who is also the Liberal critic responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. BC Métis Federation representatives felt Honourable Bennett was very approachable, down to earth, and a good listener. BC Métis Federation representatives shared some good laughs plus gave her some insight on the BC Metis Federation and the significant concerns regarding how Métis governance and programs is being carried by the dysfunctional organization known as the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC). There was agreement to further follow up in the near future.
BC Métis Federation representatives Maxine Lavallee and Beverly Lambert thank the Federal Liberal delegation for questions, feedback, comments but most of all sharing their own personal stories. BC Métis Federation believes that is how we learn and build bridges together. BC Métis Federation will continue to attend any public forum and provide Aboriginal protocol welcoming ceremonies with First Nations upon request for any organization or business.
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Keith Henry, President
BC Métis Federation
#300-3665 Kingsway Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
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