(Terrace, BC) BC Metis Federation continues work with partner community organizations throughout British Columbia. Yesterday BC Métis Federation assisted the Skeena River Métis Community Association (SRMCA) to address two important items. A community meeting was held at the Best Western Hotel in Terrace where over 30 members of the community attended.
SRMCA represents a number of Métis members in the Terrace area of Northwest, BC and SRMCA has been rebuilding Métis community governance since 2013 in the community. The SRMCA organization has established Métis culture as one priority for their members as well of the non Métis residents of Terrace. To support SRMCA the BC Métis Federation announced an initial contribution of $1500.00 towards the SRMCA Métis music festival being planned for August 15th – 17th and event details will be posted soon. There will be a line up of Métis musicians and fun for the family to celebrate Métis culture. The event will have camping areas for families and is open to anyone. The Métis music festival is one of the events BC Métis Federation will be marketing and showcasing as part of the 2014 Summer of Culture projects.
Another priority for the community has been to address the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project (Northern Gateway). Therefore BC Métis Federation worked with Enbridge to facilitate a community information session to review the proposed Northern Gateway project and assist the community better understand the current situation in relation to the 209 conditions recommended by the National Energy Board in December 2013. This was the fourth meeting arranged this week between BC Métis Federation and Enbridge with Métis communities along the proposed project corridor.
BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry stated; “The meeting was well attended, there was Métis culture showcased with Métis fiddler Rene Therrien and a real sense of community. The discussions were spirited which is all part of a healthy community debate on issues that affect their community and livelihood.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry added; “Thank you to TransCanada who provided support for Métis cultural events and other initiatives through the BC Métis Federation. TransCanada continues to support Métis communities where possible. BC Métis Federation had requested cultural support to assist a number of cultural events and the initial payment to SRMCA last night was a direct result of the partnership between TransCanada and our organization. It was great to see the excitement of the SRMCA leadership and members when the BC Métis Federation cheque was presented to support the event in August.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry further added; “I also have to acknowledge the Enbridge representatives, who were patient and respectful throughout the meetings this week. The Métis community in Terrace, and elsewhere this past week, shared strong emotional views. Métis community residents asked a number of questions and raised concerns about the proposed Northern Gateway. The importance of this conversation has increased in light of the recent National Energy Board recommendations and the potential Federal Government decision expected in June. The Federal Government is expected to decide whether or not to grant Northern Gateway their necessary permits this next month which would enable Enbridge to proceed to construction. BC Métis Federation is aware of the strong opposition of many First Nations and others and expects Northern Gateway will continue to confront serious legal hurdles which may stop the project. It is also unfortunate Mètis community residents have not had proper consultation prior to these meetings organized by the BC Mètis Federation. Nevertheless our leadership felt it necessary to create a safe platform for our community and Enbridge to have new discussions. The result last night and this past week was obvious. The meetings were well attended and lots of input. People want to protect their environment, protect their cultural practices, ensure safety, and want to better understand the 209 conditions, especially considering that approximately 70 of the conditions directly relate to Aboriginal people in British Columbia, including all Métis.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry further added; “BC Mètis Federation will be following up with a report from these meetings and will outline a number of recommendations going forward. It is clear to our leadership that we cannot ignore Northern Gateway. BC Métis Federation will ensure Enbridge understands our concerns, especially in light of potential Federal Government decisions in the near future. These are not easy positions for anyone but we must ensure the rights and interests of our Métis constituents are protected and asserted.”
BC Métis Federation President Henry concluded, “I look forward to working with SRMCA leadership on these and all other issues that affect their community. BC Mètis Federation will continue to support communities to meet their priorities and there is a lot of positive work in the future. BC Métis Federation welcomed all who wanted to attend. It is clear there is rapidly growing support across this province for the BC Métis Federation because we are tackling the tough issues and supporting communities where it matters the most. We do not speak for communities, we speak on behalf of once we have their input and direction. Together I know we can better support and assist Métis families in Terrace and across this province.”
For more information about BC Métis Federation of the Métis music festival watch of updates on the website @ www.bcmetis.com.
Keith Henry, President
BC Métis Federation
Vancouver, BC V5R 5W2
You can now follow BC Métis Federation President Keith Henry on twitter @keithhenryMetis
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