President's Message - April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

In this trying time, the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) has been working tirelessly to ensure the health and safety of our Metis people here and across the Nation. As a result of our efforts, we are protecting all Manitobans - our friends, families, and neighbours. We have been unveiling many essential programs and resources to our Citizens regularly. We have been reaching out to other levels of government, agencies, and organizations to extend and potentially optimize services to not only Metis people, but to other Manitobans.

The MMF - your Manitoba Metis Government - has been working diligently to deliver hampers across the province. Over this past month, each Region has been forming partnerships and working with grocery stores and other food providers to put hampers together for our Elders and vulnerable Citizens in the Manitoba Metis Community.

It brings me a great amount of joy seeing the good work being done to assemble these hampers. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the stores across the province that have been responding positively to our requests for perishable and non-perishable goods. I would also like to commend the bravery of the delivery drivers and designated shoppers that have been delivering and gathering items for these hampers. In these times of uncertainty, we need brave people on the ground to ensure the success of this hamper program, and I thank them for their service. And finally, I thank Infinity Women Secretariat for their role in helping to support the hamper deliveries to our Metis Elders.

The MMF recently reached out to the Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres to offer support during these difficult times. Recognizing the important role that Friendship Centres play across the Homeland, the MMF has a longstanding Memorandum of Understanding with these Friendship Centres.

After discussions, the Metis Government has been looking at ways to financially assist with the Friendship Centres' needs, such as staffing and essential programming to help keep the doors open to provide services to children and families. Many Friendship Centres continue to support foodbanks in their area, and Manitobans cannot afford to lose this essential service that many families utilize, especially during this economic crisis. We are looking at the opportunity to assist with other foodbanks across the province to help address shortages during this pandemic.

We have also reached out to the leading homelessness organizations to have important discussions around helping people in urban environments. These discussions with the City of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WHRA), Siloam Mission, Salvation Army, Main Street Project, and many others are focused on a collaborative solutions-based approach. Together we are looking at gaps and the MMF hashave been asked to financially assist within some of the sectors of services that these groupentities provide.

During these discussions, the MMF has been asked for support to put funding in place for the potential use of Thunderbird House. This is not an MMF building; however, we are exploring the option of creating a COVID-19 testing site for those that are homeless. This building is vacant, but needs investment to cover items such as washrooms, outstanding costs, and operation costs to ensure it is ready for reopening. This matter is now being reviewed by MMF Housing Minister Will Goodon.

Recognizing that the COVID-19 crisis is not only affecting the Metis, but all Manitobans, the MMF is committing to providing supports in any way we can to the forementioned organizations and the populations they serve. We have gone one step further in our efforts to assist small businesses and utilize Metis grocery stores. For example, Metis-owned Elsie Bear's Kitchen has been making sandwiches, and these are being delivered to people who are homeless as well as organizations that provide meals for this marginalized population.

Recognizing the shortage of hand sanitizer in the market today, we have been exploring investments in the equipment necessary to produce our own hand sanitizer. Utilizing our partnership with Nonsuch Brewing Co., the MMF anticipates investing as soon as possible in the supplies necessary to begin producing hand sanitizer. We understand the role alcohol-based hand sanitizers play in protecting individuals from COVID-19, and want to ensure our Citizens and other Manitobans have products to help combat the virus. We are also looking at other opportunities to produce hand sanitizer and will have an update for our Citizens shortly.

In addition, the MMF has been recognizing the impacts of COVID-19 on Manitoba Metis Government affiliates. One of the most impacted services is Metis Child and Family Services (MCFS). The MMF has granted an additional $400,000 of support to the MCFS to ensure that there is no gap in service for children in care. This funding will go toward the acquisition of electronics that will allow Case Workers and other MCFS employees to continue their work from home. These types of investments are incredibly important for families to bond and communicate responsibly while ensuring isolation protocols are followed.

Another way the MMF is helping Citizens through this unprecedented time is through the recent announcement of funding to bridge the gap until federal funds are released in mid- to late April. These funding opportunities help Metis employees and entrepreneurs receive the supports they need to take care of their families. Please go to our website at for more detailed information.

Many of these programs are announced via media releases and emails to our Citizens. If you have not already signed up for our email service, please do so by contacting If you know of someone in your villages, towns, and city neighbourhoods who does not have access to emails, please share with them the work the MMF is doing to ensure they are not left behind.

Once again, I would like to thank all MMF Cabinet, staff, and Citizens for the roles they have been playing to mitigate the hardships faced in this difficult time. The Metis have been through difficult times before, but we always re-emerge strong. Rest assured, in the capable hands of our Cabinet and their staff, the Metis will never be left behind or forgotten again. As always, I will keep the health and safety of our Nation and its Citizens in my prayers. Please remember to practice social distancing, self-isolation, and hygiene, as we must protect not only ourselves but others around us from this horrible virus.


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