Minister Leah LaPlante
Associate Minister Peter Fleming

The Manitoba Métis Federation's (MMF) Natural Resources portfolio, housed within the MMF's Energy, Infrastructure and Resource Management Department, is centred around the Métis Laws of the Harvest and the constitutionally protected Section 35 rights. As the Minister Responsible for Natural Resources, Leah LaPlante is dedicated and passionate about protecting Métis Harvesters, and has ensured that Red River Métis Citizens' concerns and interests are brought forward to help conserve and manage the lands, waters, and resources of Manitoba.

The MMF has the privilege to introduce Associate Minister Peter Fleming as the Associate Minister of Natural Resources. Minister Fleming's knowledge of harvesting, conservation-related work, and Métis harvesting rights will be invaluable to the Natural Resources portfolio.

A few developments within the portfolio through 2021-2022 include the following:

Harvesting

Despite the MMF's best efforts to defend Métis harvesting rights within the Recognized Métis Harvesting Area (RMHA) and MMF RMHA Expansion Areas (GHAs 5, 7, 7A, 17A, 26), the Manitoba government has continued to charge Métis Harvesters who exercise their constitutionally protected right to harvest, ignoring both Canada's Constitution protecting Métis harvesting rights as well as the provincial Crown's commitments in the 2012 MMFManitoba Harvesting Agreement. A Red River Métis Harvester must follow the laws of public safety, must adhere to Métis Laws of the Harvest: Revised 3rd Edition, and must hold a validated MMF Harvester Card with the current year's Conservation Trust Fund (CTF) sticker. Following these requirements, in the case of wrongful harvesting charges that are a direct infringement of Section 35 rights, Red River Métis Harvesters may contact the MMF's Energy, Infrastructure and Resource Management Department. Once contacted, the MMF will gather harvesting charge information and will determine the necessary steps required to decide whether support and legal assistance can be provided. The MMF reminds all Harvesters that they are taking a risk while harvesting in MMF RMHA Expansion Areas [i.e., GHAs in which the 2018 MMF AGA voted unanimously to defend Métis harvesting rights (GHAs 5, 7, 7A, 17A, 26)1 ] as well as areas outside of the RMHA2 .

Due to recurring issues with Red River Métis Harvesters hunting on private property with verbal permission only, a permission slip must now be used to obtain written permission from private landowners. The permission slip will reduce the chance of Harvesters being faced with a situation if the landowner decides to revoke permission after the fact. Be aware that verbal permission is no longer acceptable and that it is the responsibility of the Harvester to understand where they are harvesting. Written permission from private landowners supports Red River Métis rights to harvest on private property when approached by a Conservation Officer. Permission slips are available at the MMF Home Office, Regional Offices and /harvesters.

Red River Métis Harvesters must validate their Métis Harvester Card yearly by purchasing the current year's CTF sticker on or after April 1. In addition, Red River Métis Harvesters are required to complete the mandatory MMF Harvesting Survey prior to receiving the new season's CTF sticker and big-game tags. The survey is important to help manage resources, monitor harvesting activity, and increase conservation efforts throughout the province. The MMF recently developed and launched an online Harvester Portal to ease the process of completing the survey, and obtaining the new season's sticker and tags. The Harvester Portal looks to improve and streamline the overall harvesting reporting system.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an incurable fatal disease that affects members of the deer (i.e., cervid) family, which includes white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, and caribou. While there is currently no direct evidence CWD can spread to humans, meat from an infected animal is not recommended for consumption. In response to the discovery of the fi rst case of CWD in the province on Nov. 1, 2021, the Manitoba government announced management actions, including deer culls, a mandatory CWD surveillance zone, and the establishment of a licenced mule deer hunting season, to increase efforts to effectively monitor CWD, help prevent the spread of CWD, and protect deer family populations in other areas of the province. It is important to note that these management actions do not apply to Red River Métis Harvesters exercising their Aboriginal right to hunt for sustenance within the RMHA. Harvesters must understand the seriousness of CWD and be sure that they are using a conservation-minded approach by following all health and safety regulations, as these actions play a key role in preventing the spread of CWD. The MMF has worked to ensure that the harvesting rights of harvesters are protected, and that steps are being taken to minimize the loss of food resources resulting from Manitoba's CWD Emergency Response Plan. Earlier this year, 1,000-lbs of tested and CWD-safe, salvaged deer meat was taken to MMF Regions to be distributed among Red River Métis Elders and Citizens in need.

Following consultations with Red River Métis Citizens and Harvesters regarding night hunting, the MMF submitted a report to the Manitoba government and passed two Resolutions at the 2017 AGA. First, a complete prohibition on dangerous spotlighting throughout Manitoba, and second, prohibition of night hunting within Agro Manitoba from dusk to dawn, with continued night hunting and stationary spotlighting in Non-Agro Manitoba when away from settlements and local populations. On February 9, 2018, the MMF Cabinet passed the MMF Night Hunting and Night Lighting Agro-Zone Boundary Resolution, providing policy specifying the Métis night hunting law in Manitoba, including definitions, maps, and map notes.

Moose

In 2011, the provincial government implemented moose harvesting closures in the Duck Mountain and Porcupine Mountains (i.e., GHAs 13, 13A, 18, 18A, 18B, and 18C) without meaningful or adequate consultation with the Red River Métis. The MMF, in response to conservation concerns highlighted by the Red River Métis, initiated a voluntary closure of moose harvesting in the above-noted GHAs as an exercise of stewardship and self-government rights. The Red River Métis have not been meaningfully consulted or engaged regarding moose management decisions, including ongoing conservation closures or any proposed changes since the closures were put in place.

In October 2020, and again in 2021, using a conservation-minded approach, the MMF announced the reopening of GHAs 13 and 13A - Porcupine Mountains - and GHAs 18, 18A, 18B, and 18C - Duck Mountain - for the harvest of bull moose (i.e., no cows, calves, or yearlings) on a limited basis for Red River Métis Harvesters through the MMF's Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative. The Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative consisted of Conservation Moose Tags, Captains of the Hunt, and Conservation Moose Harvesting Parties. A live draw took place with one Conservation Moose Tag being issued to each successfully drawn Captain of the Hunt on behalf of all Red River Métis Harvesters of their Conservation Moose Harvesting Party. Each Conservation Moose Tag was GHA-specifi c, with a total of 16 tags being issued for Duck Mountain and 10 tags for the Porcupine Mountains.

Caribou

The MMF has taken part in the National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium (NBCKC) since its beginnings in 2018. The NBCKC brings together a number of participants with knowledge relating to and experience working with boreal caribou, including federal and provincial governments, academic institutions, industry, non-governmental organizations, and Indigenous governments and representatives. The NBCKC has developed working groups in which the MMF has been actively involved, including the Indigenous Knowledge Circle, the Monitoring Working Group, the Habitat Restoration Working Group, and the Chronic Wasting Disease Knowledge Network. The NBCKC provided the opportunity to learn about caribou conservation projects across the country, to explore partnerships, and ensure that the voices, concerns, and views of Red River Métis Citizens and Harvesters are included in caribou conservation work. The MMF has determined through yearly Caribou Workshops in northern Manitoba that there is a concern for diminishing caribou populations across the province as well as a need for support for immediate conservation efforts to ensure species survival. In the winter of 2020, in response to these concerns, the MMF began work on Project Caribou, a caribou monitoring and research project using motion-activated monitoring cameras installed throughout critical caribou wintering habitat in northern Manitoba. The MMF has continued work on the project and is planning to add cameras throughout the wintering habitat over the next three years. The MMF also plans to continue working with the NBCKC to ensure that the Red River Métis are well represented.

www.cclmportal.ca

Parks Canada

a) Indigenous Open-Door Program

The MMF and Parks Canada have worked to expand Parks Canada's Indigenous Open-Door Program by providing free entry for Red River Métis Citizens into Parks Canada-administered national historic sites and national parks throughout Manitoba, including the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site, the Riel House National Historic Site, and Riding Mountain National Park. Red River Métis Citizens in possession of their MMF Citizenship Card and/or Métis Harvester Card are provided free entry. Parks Canada's Indigenous Open-Doors Program provides free entry; however, other fees for attractions and services - including tours, workshops, and special programing - or any other fees associated with the site, do still apply and must be paid at the visitor centre.

b) Call to Action 79 - Truth and Reconciliation Commission

In 2021, the MMF was engaged by Parks Canada to undertake a review of Parks Canada's Cultural Heritage Policy, as part of the Call to Action 79 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. To accurately respond to Parks Canada, the MMF held virtual engagement sessions with each of the seven MMF Regions, inviting Red River Métis Citizens to provide input, discuss the policies, and identify concerns and impacts of the policies' initiatives on Red River Métis rights. Following the engagement sessions, the MMF submitted an Engagement Report to Parks Canada summarizing the comments and concerns identified at the meetings.

c) Métis Reconciliation Fund - Wapusk National Park Trail Camera Project

The Métis Reconciliation Fund is an internal Parks Canada fund to help support Métis reconciliation activities. To date, the MMF has used this fund to help support trail camera deployment and the maintenance, data collections, and inclusion of Red River Métis Citizens in on-the-land activities in Wapusk National Park.

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas 

In January 2020, the MMF finalized two multi-year Contribution Agreements with Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC) that provides the MMF with multi-year funding to work towards creating two Indigenous Protected & Conserved Areas (IPCAs). The first IPCA is in The Pas and Northwest Regions within the Kettle Hills Blueberry Patch, and the second IPCA is in the Thompson Region, near Wapusk National Park.

This ECCC initiative stems from the federal government's commitment to protecting 25% of Canada's land and 25% of its oceans by 2025. The purpose of the MMF's proposed IPCAs is to conserve and protect Canada's wildlife and habitat along with ensuring Red River Métis Citizens are engaged in conservation. The MMF has conducted a variety of engagement on this fi le, including traditional knowledge interviews, community workshops, virtual community meetings, and webinars to ensure the protected areas are built on Red River Métis values, knowledge, and priorities.

Specific to the Kettle Hills Blueberry Patch IPCA, and for the past two summer fi eld seasons, the MMF has maintained and cleaned up access trails, assessed the prevalence of blueberry species, blueberry competition, and blueberry regeneration after forest fi res using vegetation quadrat surveys. Specific to the Thompson Region IPCA, the MMF held a Community Cultural Values Mapping Interview to collect traditional and contemporary Red River Métis land use and occupancy information, which will be utilized in future on-the-land management decision-making. Additionally, tied to Project Caribou, the MMF continues to maintain the trail cameras deployed in this area, forming a passive monitoring network within critical caribou wintering grounds.

Make Our Homeland Green Again - MMF's Tree Planting Initiative

The Manitoba Métis Federation has made the commitment to plant 2 million trees across the National Homeland of the Red River Métis through a new initiative entitled Make Our Homeland Green Again. This commitment came as a direct result of the Government of Canada's announcement in September of 2019 to plant 2 billion trees across Canada by 2031.

This initiative will see native tree and shrub species planted through 5 program streams:

  1. Citizen Yard Improvement Program - a Citizen-focused program that will provide the opportunity for Red River Métis Citizens to apply for tree or shrub species (including a limited number of fruitbearing species) for planting in their own yard.
  2. Edible Forest Program - a community-focused program that will utilize fruit and nut-bearing tree and shrub species to create a hub for fresh produce within communities.
  3. Shelterbelt Program - a program focused on the betterment of the environment that will utilize tree species to provide natural windbreaks within communities and on Red River Métis Citizens' private land.
  4. Wildlife Habitat Enhancement & Restoration Program - a program focused on the betterment of the environment that will enhance (further improve the quality and value of) or restore (return, back to its natural state) wildlife habitat areas throughout Manitoba.
  5. Riparian Area Revegetation Program - a program focused on the betterment of the environment that will support the improvement of riparian areas (strip of land between the shoreline and the upland zone) along waterways within Manitoba.

Approximately 1,350 trees were planted in the fall of 2021 of the 2021-2022 fiscal year; all trees were planted through both the Citizen Yard Improvement and Shelterbelt Programs. If you are interested in applying for trees or in volunteering, please contact technical staff at trees@mmf.mb.ca.

Powley Program

The MMF and the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) have an ongoing and longstanding partnership to monitor the harvest of migratory game birds by the Red River Métis. Through the Powley Program, the MMF has been able to undertake consultation initiatives, identify key knowledge holders, and better equip ourselves towards mitigating impacts to the Red River Métis, our lands, waters, and resources. The MMF plans to continue monitoring migratory bird harvests by the Red River Métis through the mandatory harvesting survey, and to share migratory bird harvest data to manage resources, monitor harvesting activity, and increase conservation efforts throughout the province.

B300-150 Henry Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0J7

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