After years of struggle and millions of dollars, your Métis Government is preparing to negotiate on your behalf the settlement of the collective claim of Manitoba’s Métis Community. Towards this end, we have prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions that will help explain the MOU and assist in taking our next steps.

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Frequently Asked Questions


Why is the Memorandum of Understanding significant?

This is the first MOU that Canada has ever signed with the Métis south of the 60th parallel that recognizes and commits to resolving an outstanding Métis claim. This MOU is a significant and necessary step towards advancing reconciliation and achieving a modern day treaty between the Crown and Manitoba's Métis Community.

Over 35 years ago, the MMF launched its Land Claim case against the Crown for non-fulfillment of the constitutional compact our ancestors negotiated with Canada back in 1870. In 2013, the SCC validated the MMF Land Claim and declared "the federal Crown [Canada] failed to implement the land grant provision set out in s. 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870 in accordance with the honour of the Crown."

The MOU signed between the MMF and Canada commits to time-limited exploratory discussions for the development of a mutually agreeable Framework Agreement.  The MOU is a necessary first step towards negotiating a modern day treaty between the Crown and the Manitoba Métis Community.


Why is Canada negotiating with the MMF?

In its 2013 Decision on the MMF Land Claim case, the SCC expressly granted the MMF standing to represent the Manitoba Métis Community's outstanding collective claim. Canada is negotiating with the MMF in order to address and resolve the judicially-recognized outstanding collective claim of the Manitoba Métis Community.


Has the MMF begun formal negotiations on the MMF Land Claim already?

No. Formal negotiations have not started yet, however, the MOU signed between the MMF and Canada commits to time-limited exploratory discussions process for the development of a mutually agreeable Framework Agreement that will lead to the negotiation of a modern day treaty. The MOU now puts the MMF on a shared path with Canada towards reaching this ultimate goal. Specifically, the MOU sets the end of September 2016 as the target date for reaching a Framework Agreement. This Framework Agreement will set out a formal negotiations process as well as subject matters for formal negotiations.

Once a Framework Agreement is approved by the MMF and the federal Cabinet, formal negotiations will begin. The MMF will be undertaking extensive and deep consultations with the Manitoba Métis Community in order to inform and guide the formal negotiations with Canada once the Framework Agreement is approved.


How can I get involved?

Over the Summer of 2016, the MMF will be undertaking a series of community engagement sessions across Manitoba to update and seek input from Métis Citizens. At these sessions, we will be explaining the MMF Land Claim and the MOU in greater detail. We will also be discussing what should go into our Framework Agreement, including subject matters for negotiations. The MMF encourages as many Métis Citizens as possible to attend these meetings. Information about the dates, times and locations of these sessions are available by contacting the MMF or via the MMF’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

The MMF will also be holding sessions on the MMF Land Claim at the upcoming MMF Annual General Assembly that will be held in Winnipeg on September 23 to 25, 2016.

For those Métis Citizens that cannot attend these sessions in person, we encourage you to provide your thoughts and ideas to your Local and Regional leadership as well as via email to the following address: ideas@mmf.mb.ca.


When the MMF Land Claim is settled, will I get my Métis ancestors’ section 31 lands back or individual cash compensation?

No. The outstanding claim that the SCC recognized was the collective claim of the Manitoba Métis Community. The SCC held that "the action advanced is not a series of claims for individual relief. It is rather a collective claim for declaratory relief for the purposes of reconciliation between the descendants of the Métis people of the Red River Valley and Canada." The personal or individual claims of the descendants of the section 31 land grant holders were not recognized by the SCC.

With that said, however, all of these individuals will benefit from the collective settlement negotiated between the MMF and Canada—as the beneficiaries of any future modern day treaty. For example, the MMF hopes to negotiate and design specific programs, supports and initiatives that will individually and collectively benefit Métis children, youth, families and Elders. If you have suggestions on what initiatives you would like to see available in the future, please email them to ideas@mmf.mb.ca or attend an upcoming community information session.


Will our modern day treaty mean we will get back all the lands we lost?

The MMF has made it very clear from the beginning of the MMF Land Claim that it would never seek to take lands from others who now own those lands. The Manitoba Métis Community would never attempt to do to others what was done to our ancestors. It is recognized, however, that land will need to be a part of any future settlement between the MMF and Canada.

Potential lands obtained through a negotiated settlement will be for the collective benefit of the Manitoba Métis Community—not for specific individuals. These lands may be for social, cultural, economic or other purposes. These lands also need to come from lands that are available for purchase or for transfer from the Crown. It remains to be seen exactly how the issue of lands will be dealt with based on consultations with the Manitoba Métis Community and negotiations with Canada. It is simply too early to speculate on exactly what a future settlement might look like, but lands will need to be a part of any settlement.


If the MMF is not seeking to have specific lands returned, why is it called the MMF Land Claim?

Since its creation in 1967, the MMF has sought to have Canada—its negotiating partner in Confederation—return to the negotiation table because it did not uphold its end of the constitutional compact that allowed for the province of Manitoba to be created back in 1870. The MMF has long recognized that the past cannot be undone, however, the recognition of our outstanding claim based on section 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870, combined with section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, sets out a "way forward" for reconciliation. Specifically, section 35 reads,

  1. The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
  2. In this Act, "aboriginal peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
  3. For greater certainty, in subsection (1) "treaty rights" includes rights that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired. [Emphasis added.]

The MMF's ultimate goal has always been to negotiate a "land claims agreement" with the Crown as expressly contemplated under section 35(3) of the Constitution Act, 1982. A "land claims agreement" (also known as a modern day treaty) would resolve our outstanding claim in relation to section 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870 as well as establish a forward-looking, nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship between the Crown and the Manitoba Métis Community for generations to come.


Will a future settlement result in compensation being directly paid to the descendants of those who received or were to receive section 31 lands?

The claim made by the MMF to the SCC was not one for personal or individualistic compensation to the individual descendants of the Métis living at Red River in 1870. It is a collective claim for the benefit of the Manitoba Métis Community as a whole.

Any settlement will be focused on providing collective benefit to all of the Manitoba Métis Community's Citizens in order to address the loss of the "head start" we failed to obtain because of Canada's dishonorable implementation of section 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870.

Any settlement will also attempt to ensure the Manitoba Métis Community—as a collective—is able to secure a "lasting place" in Manitoba for generations to come. The MMF's Annual General Assembly has already provided direction through a resolution made in 2014 any future settlement should be put within a trust for the protection and benefit of future generations.

As part of this settlement, programs and initiatives in areas such as housing, education, training, economic development, etc. will be developed for the benefit of all Métis Citizens as beneficiaries of our modern day treaty. Individual compensation payments will not be a part of any settlement since those personal and individualistic claims were rejected by the SCC.


Will the Manitoba Government be involved in the negotiations of the MMF Land Claim?

The Supreme Court of Canada's declaration in the MMF Land Claim case was issued against the "federal Crown" for its failure to uphold the honour of the Crown in relation to its implementation of the section 31 land grant provision set out in the Manitoba Act, 1870. As such, Canada has a bilateral obligation to negotiate with the MMF in order to resolve our outstanding constitutional claim against it. In order to advance these discussions and negotiations the Manitoba Government is not required. However, both Canada and the MMF recognize that Manitoba's participation would be welcomed and helpful. As such, the MOU included the following provision:

The Parties recognize the importance of having the Province of Manitoba's participation in a process to advance reconciliation, and will, when and where appropriate, encourage the Province of Manitoba to contribute to the exploratory discussion table's discussions as an active participant.

Since the MMF's ultimate objective is to negotiate a modern day treaty with the Crown, which will address the MMF Land Claim as well as other subject matters that are addressed in modern day treaties, the Manitoba Government's participation will be necessary on some subject matters. Where the province's jurisdictions may be implicated, it is hoped that the Manitoba Government will agree to participate in the negotiations.

A formal invitation will be extended to the Manitoba Government to participate in upcoming exploratory discussions as well as the Framework Agreement. It is hoped that they will agree to participate in some capacity.


Is this MOU a result of the Supreme Court of Canada's Decision in the Daniels case?

No. This MOU deals with the implementation of the MMF Land Claim—not the Daniels case. While the Daniels case removes any doubt Parliament can pass legislation that would give legal force and effect to any modern day treaty negotiated between Canada and the MMF, it has different implications than the MMF Land Claim. The MMF is pursuing separate discussions with Canada with respect to understanding and implementing the Daniels case.


Is the MMF Land Claim’s goal to establish Métis reserves or be recognized as ‘Indians’ under the Indian Act?

No. The Métis Nation and our ancestors fought against being put onto reserves or having legislation like the Indian Act imposed on us. We are the Otipemisiwak—the people that own themselves. The MMF seeks to negotiate, on behalf of the Manitoba Métis Community, a nation-to-nation relationship—through a modern day treaty—with Canada that will recognize our self-government, jurisdictions and rights as a Métis government. This relationship will be set out in our modern day treaty. The MMF will not be seeking to create Métis reserves or legislation similar to the Indian Act in these negotiations.


I am Métis and a descendant of the Red River Métis, but I don't presently live in Manitoba. Can I register for citizenship with the MMF?

Yes. The 2014 MMF Annual General Assembly removed the requirement that Citizens of the Métis Nation need to be resident in the province of the Manitoba in order to obtain a MMF Citizenship card. For more information on how you can apply for Citizenship within the MMF please visit our citizenship/membership page.


Click here to download the MOU

For more information please feel free to contact the Manitoba Metis Federation at info@mmf.mb.ca or by telephone at (204) 586-8474.