Open Letter to the Métis Public – Idle No More

Vancouver Idle No More

Idle No More Vancouver BC

Open letter to all Mètis people in Canada,

Overnight, the Idle No More movement, as a form of spontaneous Indigenous resistance, has exposed the ethical deficit of the Metis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), the Mètis national organization many know as the Metis National Council (MNC) , along with other provincial Metis affiliates across Canada.

To a tune, these organizations have outright ignored the swell of First Nations and Metis protest. They have spent years developing false colonial dependency relationships with governments and industry to line their own pockets at the expense of their own people and communities. As we have witnessed in BC Metis politics for years, democratic function and the rule of law have been compromised in the process and this co-opted political alliance has implicitly supported this charade for years. This has gone on in spite of all the work done by previous Mètis leaders to establish Metis rights in this country. In sum Metis self government in Canada has been a hollow shell and rhetoric by many current leaders in these organizations to this point in time. Beyond their control and almost overnight, an Indigenous democratic movement called Idle No More began to take shape on the streets and on social media, based squarely on the legitimacy of individuals and local communities. Right underneath their watch, thousands of First Nations along with Metis have resisted the assault by governments and industry on Indigenous ways of life. These Metis organizations have the form and structure of being Metis, all the bells and whistles, but without the historical substance or values. Undeterred, Mètis people have seized the moment and have tapped into their own Indigenous sense of ethics and values. In fact many Canadians from all walks of life support the Idle No More movement because they know that a treaty relationship and Indigenous values form the legitimacy of the Canadian experience.

The irrelevance of these false organizations such as MNBC and MNC has been reflected lately by the phenomenal growth of the BC Metis Federation, the only provincial organization to provide a democratic alternative and become actively involved in standing up to address Aboriginal issues. Despite MNBC’s or MNC’s smooth managerial assurances that they represent all Mètis people, the actions of these Metis organizations in a crisis have been louder than words. The profound silence in the face of a worldwide grassroots protest has not gone unnoticed in our Mètis community across the country. Apparently, they only need their Mètis constituency for funding equations when delivery programs and services or other reasons that suit them. Like their political and corporate masters, MNBC and MNC were unprepared for the uncertainty of this resistance because it did not fit into their development model and high handed governing style, based on a profound distrust of their own Mètis people. MNBC and MNC pick and choose the history that suits them, and whitewash it to suit their political goals. Their ethical culpability has been laid bare and by their latest inaction, they have been exposed as failed leaders. In short, MNBC and MNC deny their Mètis people and other Canadians a treaty relationship with Canada and this will be their undoing.

We urge Mètis people to examine the deeper meanings of the Idle No More campaign as it also affects our Mètis people throughout Canada. BC Mètis Federation leaders will continue their active role in this movement and we urge all Mètis people to stand together because the future of our Nation is at stake. Mètis representative organizations should not be considered tools or mechanisms to deliver government or industry programs alone. Mètis representative organizations should be held to account to protect our nationhood and culture in every aspect because our children and future generations depend on us not to let our Mètis culture fade into history.

Thank you,
Keith Henry
BC Metis Federation

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-to-Metis-People-January-2nd-2013.pdf” style=”download”]Click here to download this in PDF format.[/ilink]

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