SFU Aboriginal Steering Committee MNBC Seat Called Into Question

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Dr. Andrew Petter, President Simon Fraser University

Re: SFU Educational Engagement Re Métis

Dear Dr. Petter:

My name is Keith Henry and I am the President of the BC Métis Federation, a provincial representative organization for Métis people in British Columbia. In a recent email dialogue between Simon Fraser University (SFU) and one of our board members, we learned that SFU signed an MOU with the Métis Nation BC last year. We learned that Mr. Bruce Dumont, the current President of the Métis Nation BC, in the words of William Lindsay, “sits on the powerful Aboriginal Steering Committee for SFU.” According to Mr. Lindsay, “he was invited to do so by the university president at my suggestion.”

Given this situation we feel compelled to advise you that there is more than one provincial Métis representative organization in British Columbia. Moreover any MOU signed with the Métis Nation BC is likely void given a recent discovery that this organization has falsely asserted their organization as the Métis Nation BC. Their corporate name is the Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia and there is another entirely separate organization properly registered as the Métis Nation of British Columbia. The Métis political landscape has been rocked by a recent independent legal opinion from Bull Houser and Tupper LLP and as such I attached for you and SFU collectively to read the actual facts of the current situation.

My question to SFU is how come SFU has not conducted due diligence before included representatives of this now defunct organization on your “powerful” SFU committee? This organization has falsely represented themselves by using the name or acronym Métis Nation BC, Métis Nation British Columbia or MNBC is any agreements throughout the province. Moreover this group claims to represent approximately 60,000 Métis people and 36 chartered communities but that is simply not true. Far worse, this organization is not a legal entity in good standing in BC. Mr. Bruce Dumont has not been honest about his status or that of his “organization.”

There are broader implications. SFU involvement as a university with Mr. Dumont and this status quo sends a message to both Métis and non-Métis citizens in British Columbia. The message is that SFU does not only accept but also implicitly approves of current unethical practices by both funding governments and corporations in the province of British Columbia. This message is evident through the continued signing of contracts and flow of financial resources between governments, and this MNBC/MPCBC.

This “MNBC group” does not represent or consult with Métis people prior to their decisions which is another issue in addition to the corporate status identified above. The closest Métis community to your lower mainland campus locations is Vancouver Métis Cultural Society (VMCS) and their leadership terminated any working relationship with this MNBC group last year. Furthermore, by stark contrast the BC Métis Federation is a grassroots Métis organization committed to accountability, transparency, consent and dialogue with Métis people in British Columbia.

We recognize that any organization, such as SFU, does not want to be perceived as not being fair minded and likely does not want to get involved in what is referred to by many as “internal Métis issues”. Many of our Métis people would not agree with any such view given the current issues. By instilling Mr. Bruce Dumont on your committee as an alleged Métis Nation BC representation, which legally he does represent, and not conducting due diligence about what is going on in our community shows a complete lack of respect and proper protocol. SFU actions are complicit in denying Métis people the real representation and dialogue exchange necessary for real reconciliation with Métis people and communities, including Métis SFU students and Métis alumni. By this status-quo situation, there can be no real dialogue. We continue to correct the years of misinformation the MNBC group has perpetuated to industry and other stakeholders such as SFU, this notion that the “group” makes all decisions, etc.

The BC Métis Federation is requesting a meeting with representatives of SFU in the near future. At that time, the BC Métis Federation wishes to assist SFU in exploring options on how to move forward with regard to our people to ensure the legal, social, educational and economic interests for the Métis people in British Columbia are not lost due to the objectionable conduct of others.

I look forward to your timely response as we seek a mutually respectful and objective relationship. We also recognize this is a challenging situation but one that we cannot stand by and continue to ignore. To say nothing make us as Métis people passive and accepting of this MNBC “groups” unethical conduct.

Thank you,

Keith Henry
President, British Columbia Métis Federation
Suite 300-3665 Kingsway
Vancouver, BC
V5R 5W2

[ilink url=”/wp-content/uploads/BCMF-Letter-SFU-President-June-26th-2012.pdf” style=”download”]Download the full letter in PDF format[/ilink]

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