Vancouver, British Columbia, August 1, 2023 — Last week, BC Métis Federation (BCMF) hosted a province-wide forum of the Métis community in British Columbia to discuss the recent trend of anti-Métis sentiment by First Nation leaders in BC and across Canada.
An open invitation was extended to all Métis people in BC to review the recent Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) and Assembly of First Nations (AFN) resolutions, as well as Pacific Northwest research, and other priorities for Métis people in British Columbia. The forum was designed as a safe space for all Métis people to meet in community and celebrate our shared culture, while aligning on the issues that matter most.
“The past few months have been challenging for Métis people throughout BC, with our very existence being called into question by UBCIC Chiefs. That’s why BC Métis Federation felt compelled to bring our Métis brothers and sisters together under one roof to experience a sense of unity and show that we will not be intimidated into silence,” said Keith Henry, President of the BC Métis Federation.
During the forum, participants and Métis leaders from across BC discussed the current situation regarding anti-Métis sentiment expressed by First Nation Chiefs throughout British Columbia and other parts of Canada. This included a review of correspondences from the UBCIC from June 8th and a view of the recent AFN Special Chiefs meeting regarding AFN Resolution 33 which passed and affects Métis across Canada. This was followed by a presentation of Pacific Northwest research, which showcased the historical record of Métis families in BC and their evolution since the 1800s. The Clark Wilson LLP legal team provided an update on the BC Human Rights Complaint filed in July and the Section 35 Legal Declaration. The forum concluded with a celebration of Métis culture led by Bev Lambert, Métis cultural facilitator and performances by Métis Bev’s ButterTown Jiggers.
The forum demonstrated how strong the Métis community in BC is, and its commitment to working together to stand up for Métis rights in the province. The forum provided a safe environment for open dialogue which delegates took full advantage of to address their concerns throughout the day. Moving forward, attendees pledged to take what they learned back to their communities and organizations. BC Métis Federation leadership will be reviewing forum recommendations and continuing to address the rightful place of Métis in BC.
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The BC Métis Federation (BCMF) is a non-profit association that works with Métis communities to ensure the well being of BCMF members. Through grassroots efforts, BCMF advocates on behalf of its many members, living all across the province.
Keith Henry, President, BC Métis Federation