MMF Protects Métis Harvesters in the Duck and Porcupine Mountains Takes Manitoba to Court over Province's Unconstitutional Regulations

December 16, 2021

Winnipeg, MB, in the Homeland of the Red River Métis - On Monday, the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) took its protection of Manitoba Métis constitutional rights directly to the Government of Manitoba's doorstep and filed a Statement of Claim in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.

The MMF is asking for declarations from the court, including declarations that the Manitoba Métis have collective rights in the Duck and Porcupine Mountains to hunt for food and domestic use, including social and ceremonial purposes; and, that sections of the Province's Moose Conservation Closure Regulation constitute an unjustifiable infringement of the section 35 Aboriginal Rights of the Manitoba Métis and, therefore, have no force or effect - meaning the regulations do not apply.

The MMF is also seeking declarations regarding: the province's failure to consult; and that the province breached the 2012 Manitoba Government - Manitoba Métis Federation Points of Agreement on Métis Harvesting in Manitoba.

Recently, Manitoba brought charges against registered Manitoba Métis Harvesters who were participating responsibly in the 2021 MMF Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative. As well, a Métis Youth and Métis Elder were harassed while participating in the Initiative.

The MMF is the National Government of the Red River Métis - also known as the Manitoba Métis - the origin, root, and core of the Métis Nation. The MMF Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative takes place in the Duck and Porcupine Mountains within our provincially-recognized harvesting territory. Participating MMF-registered Harvesters are required to follow the Revised Third Edition of the Métis Laws of the Harvest, as well as laws specific to the Initiative including special tag and reporting requirements.

"During past consultations with our Elders and Harvesters while implementing our modern-day Métis Laws of the Harvest, we were constantly reminded that conservation is a number one priority of our people," explained MMF President David Chartrand. "We must consider future generations. This year for the Duck and Porcupine Mountains, the province made it clear there were 60 Bull Moose available. So, bearing in mind the scientific evidence and constitutional law, the MMF decided to implement our Initiative for a second year and issued 26 Bull Moose Conservation Tags."

"The MMF has tried to work in good faith with the province's Wildlife and Fisheries Branch, but without receiving accommodations for our rights and without their cooperation for our Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative," said MMF Minister of Natural Resources Leah LaPlante. "Our Harvesters are being threatened for feeding our families in our traditional ways, in accordance with our Métis Laws. It often takes months for provincial staff to reply to our correspondence and meeting requests. Our claim is a response to Manitoba's dishonourable conduct and unconstitutional actions."

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