MMF celebrates successful appeal and order for new trial for Métis harvesting rights

June 1, 2022

Winnipeg, MB, in the National Homeland of the Red River Métis - Yesterday, the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), the National Government of the Red River Métis, also known as the Manitoba Métis, celebrated the advancement of Métis harvesting rights in our Homeland with R v Boyer successfully appealed at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, setting the stage for a new trial.

The Manitoba Métis Federation and Métis National Council both led by President David Chartrand, took intervenor status on this Saskatchewan harvester rights case.

"I want to thank Warren Boyer and Oliver Poitras for standing up for their harvesting rights, believing that if we work together and stand together, we will prevail," said President Chartrand. "I also commend the lawyers on this case, Clément Chartier and Kathy Hodgson-Smith, who fought for the rights of the defendants for eight years on a pro bono basis.

"It's clear to the Manitoba Métis Federation - the national government of the Red River Métis - that these lawyers, with their unwavering advocacy and pursuit of justice, have shifted the legal landscape in the Red River Métis Homeland. That's why we took intervenor status on this case - to provide the lawyers and their clients the supports needed to keep pursuing this important issue for our Nation."

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruling clearly indicates that, in its view, the acre-by-acre approach to settling Métis harvesting rights is not in line with the intent of the Supreme Court, and further sets out a framework that will allow for meaningful advancement of Red River Métis harvesting rights across boundaries.

The new trial will allow us to more fully present the case for recognition of our collective Métis harvesting rights as they existed before the Crown exercised effective control, in what was then called the Northwest - a territory without provincial borders - and today is known as Western Canada.

The outcome of last year's Desautel case in British Columbia - a case in which the MMF also took intervenor status - recognized Indigenous peoples' rights to traditional harvesting territory across borders and boundaries. It reflects the changing attitudes of Canadian courts as they move away from colonial and artificial restrictions on traditional harvesting rights.

"This is a victory for our people," said David Chartrand, President of the MMF. "We are pleased that the courts are being encouraged to end what the judge on the appeal referred to as a 'Pac-man approach' to our harvesting rights. We have been adamant and strong in stating that our rights don't only apply to that backyard, or that front yard - they cover the entirety of our Homeland."

The MMF sees this as a positive step forward in recognizing Red River Métis territories, traditions and rights, and stands ready to negotiate on behalf of our Citizens, no matter where they live in our Homeland.

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Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is the democratically elected National Government of the Red River, also known as the Manitoba Métis, the origin and core of the Métis Nation. The Manitoba Métis are Canada's Negotiating Partners in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.

 

For more information, media may contact:
Kat Patenaude
Media Relations Advisor
Manitoba Métis Federation
204-801-7710
Kat.Patenaude@mmf.mb.ca

 


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