(Prince George, BC) Elected community representatives and board members from the BC Métis Federation assembled this weekend in Prince George to tackle the number one priority for Métis people in the province. With 60,000 self-identified Métis people living in the province and only about 10% registered through a provincial process there is tremendous potential for the BC Métis Federation to motivate those Métis into an influential voting bloc and powerful political force to truly address Métis issues in BC.
The historic weekend began Friday evening at the Coast Inn of the North in Prince George where proponents from the pipeline industry engaged BC Métis Federation elected officers and ten (10) partner communities in a spirited dialogue on the impact of pipeline construction in this province. Hard questions were fired at the pipeline industry proponents concerning their plans on proposed projects. Métis delegates were committed to protecting the safety of their cultural lifestyles, traditional practices, and communities from potential negative impacts such as spill damage. BC Métis Federation leadership asserted that these proponents, and all others, must ensure proper and meaningful consultation.
On Saturday morning the Métis Identity Symposium brought together 100 elected community representatives and BC Métis Federation board members from Terrace, Prince Rupert, Fort St. John, Mission, Langley, Campbell River, Sechelt, Williams Lake, Kelly Lake, Victoria, Prince George, Surrey, Burnaby, Delta, Vancouver, North Vancouver, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Sidney, and many more locations in a dialogue on Métis Identification.
BC Métis Federation sees Métis identification as its highest priority and the symposium featured experts like Lawrie Barkwell Métis historian from Manitoba, Métis authors George and Terry Goulet, Aboriginal law expert Bruce McIvor, BC Métis Federation board members Joe Desjarlais, Kelly Lake Métis Settlement President Lyle Letendre and Métis Genealogist Earlene Bitterman in a full day presentation addressing issues facing Métis identity in Canada. Métis identification was hotly debated throughout the afternoon covering everything from court decisions such as Powley and the Daniels case to the broadening of boundaries of Métis beyond the a misconception of a historic Métis homeland.
The expert panelists and discussions addressed key issues such the misunderstandings of a national Métis definition, boundaries of a homeland with limited geographic areas, and several others. Furthermore problems of Métis identification are most obvious within the Canadian provinces which don’t recognize Métis registered in other provincial jurisdictions. The absence of any national Métis identification card further confuses the whole definition of Métis people and their culture.
BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated; “BC Métis Federation is fully focused on Métis identification principally because if it is resolved it will include full Métis rights and bring together an influential political bloc of members who will bring their influence to any vote that affects the environment, Métis culture and education and eventually Métis rights that have been outstanding for over a century.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded; “Thank you to all who attended, what a success. We continue to grow in members and strength. The symposium was a major success and the support grows each month. We have the right to self govern and Métis people, their families, and community leaders are choosing to join the BC Métis Federation. Our board thanks everyone for the commitment to rebuilding a better Métis government in BC for the future.”
Please note all presentations will be made available next week for public access. In addition individuals can review a video recording of the presentations on our website at www.bcmetis.com/coffee-talk/ .
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Press-Release-May-11th-2013-Metis-Identity-Symposium-Major-Success.pdf” style=”download”]Download this in PDF[/ilink]
Metis Identity Symposium Presentations
Lawrence J. Barkwell – Metis Historian
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/Changing-Metis-Identity-Lawrie-Barkwell.pdf” style=”download”]Changing Metis Identity Lawrie Barkwell[/ilink]
[ilink url=”http://www.scribd.com/lbarkwell” style=”download”]Lawrie Barkwell Scribd document research[/ilink]
George and Terry Goulet Metis Historians
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/TerryGouletPresentation.pdf” style=”download”]Terry Goulet Presentation[/ilink]
[ilink url=”http://bcmetis.com/wp-content/uploads/GeorgeGouletPresentation.pdf” style=”download”]George Goulet Presentation[/ilink]
Joe Desjarlais – Métis Academic
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/MIS-Presentation-Joe-Desjarlais.pdf” style=”download”]MIS Presentation Joe Desjarlais[/ilink]
Earlene Bitterman – Métis Identity and Treaty Challenges
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/Insight-Into-Métis-History-Earlene-Bitterman-Final.pdf” style=”download”]Insight Into Métis History Earlene Bitterman[/ilink]
Accompanying Presentation Documents
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/29670627-July-21-1886-List-of-Half-breeds-in-Treaty.pdf” style=”download”]1886 Lists of Halfbreeds whom were in Treaty[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/29670743-June1-1888-List-of-HB-Treaty.pdf” style=”download”]1888 Lists of Halfbreeds whom were in Treaty[/ilink]
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/macrae1901-eng.pdf” style=”download”]Department of Northern and Indian affairs January 19th 1901 Policies[/ilink]
[ilink url=”http://www.scribd.com/doc/10876631/FSJ-Post-Trading-Accounts-18941895″ style=”download”]Fort St John Post Trading accounts 1894-1895[/ilink]
Kelly Davidson Presentation – KSDavidson and Associates Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge
[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Presentation-10May2013-Kelly-Davison.pdf” style=”download”]Kelly Davidson Presentation[/ilink]