The BC Métis Federation Questions Deal in Manitoba

This week the Manitoba’s Métis Federation (MMF) and Ottawa signed a deal to end a 146-year-old land dispute.

The BC Métis Federation believes the Manitoba Métis Federation and the Federal Government of Canada have rushed a “land deal” without consulting Métis communities or First Nations.  While progress is important for any Métis issues in Canada, the duty to all Metis to be consulted properly is once again being ignored.

One-off ‘solutions’ by ‘elites’ ignore what is right/best for Métis communities.  It is terrible news here that the Federal Government of Canada would move to rush a deal without consulting with Métis communities in BC with direct kinship to the issuance of land scrip following the Manitoba Act in 1870.

The BC Métis Federation communities are not represented by Manitoba Métis Federation or their national organization the Metis National Council.

Prime Minister Trudeau was elected to work with communities and ensure inclusion but this latest situation demonstrates how his Minister, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, continues to ignore Métis communities in BC and their situation and voice. The Federal Government continues to only recognize elitist national Métis organizations such as the Métis National Council and affiliates like the Manitoba Métis Federation that are simply not accountable to Métis communities and don’t reflect the broad diversity of Métis people in Canada, a key issue demonstrated in the Daniels Case ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada this past year.

These organizations play exclusive identity politics and attempt to establish exclusive relations and shut down real dialogue between all Métis communities, First Nations, and all Canadians.

This process is deeply flawed.

The Manitoba Métis Federation and affiliates DO NOT have a dialogue with First Nations, but instead are caught up in ‘politics of recognition’ and exclusive ‘identity politics’ with governments.  In Ontario, for example, First Nations academics have recently deeply crticized the MNO (affiliate of MMF) over this very issue:

“As we see it, recognition from Canadian law and jurisprudence is not enough to claim Métis title within Anishinaabe territory. Rather, we feel that if Métis want to claim land within Anishinaabe territory, and use settler institutions to advance their agenda, they would need to first have those conversations and agreements with Anishinaabeg.”First Nations’ are not bystanders here and appear to have similar challenges.  Just look at the recent Ontario “Algonquin deal” and the evidence that racially charged exclusive ‘identity politics and ‘individual rights based approaches’ and narrow government “core mandates” limit and threaten ALL indigenous peoples including First Nations, Métis and Inuit.It is urgent that First Nations in BC and across Canada take steps to question the legitimacy of this  high handed “deal” and  ‘negotiate coexistence’ and dialogue and research partnerships with Métis communities with rights potentially impacted to truly understand the issues going forward.

This means proper nation-to-nation dialogue and accountability to a ‘pluralistic association’ that makes possible the well being of ALL legitimate self determining Indigenous communities/nations.

The BCMF action plan includes attention to the practice of ‘negotiated coexistence’ and dialogue between Métis nations, First Nations and Canada based upon mutual recognition as well as strong research partnerships.

For more information on the deal in Manitoba, click here.

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