President's Message - April 13, 2023

April 13, 2023

We recently marked the celebration of Easter with friends and family. This is also the end of Lent, and for those who observed it, this means the time of devotions and reflections is at an end. Denying ourselves the things we enjoy is not easy, but I know those who undertook Lent received strength and peace, and gained a new appreciation for the things we didn't allow ourselves for 40 days. Whether you observed Lent or not, I hope you all had a peaceful and joyous Easter and are excited about the renewed energy that comes with spring.

Continuing to consult with our Citizens

We are well into our consultation with Citizens about our modern-day Treaty. The response we have received from attendees has been whole-hearted and enthusiastic. It's clear that our Citizens understand the importance of the Treaty as a framework for the future and a way to forever secure our place in Canada's Confederation.

It is powerful to see all the people who have been moved to tears by this historic moment. Many Citizens have shared with me that they are thinking about their relatives who have passed on, those patriots who fought so hard for this time to arrive. I am proud that our meetings are allowing our Citizens to renew their sense of pride in our progress as a people and honour the memories of the patriots who came before us. Our people are dreaming of a bright future again, and understand that we are building a legacy that will ensure we will never again be Canada's forgotten people.

While this dream is a patriotic one, it is also a practical one. There are programs and services needed by our Citizens, and your Red River Métis Government is in the best position to design and deliver supports that meet your needs. While we continue to advocate for more funding for all Citizens, we continue to build on our existing supports for Citizens. We have many new child care centres opening, housing programs underway, mobile health clinics coming to our communities, and many more initiatives. We are also getting close to opening our Dauphin pharmacy and I look forward to the official grand opening of this facility.

I also want to remind our Citizens that filling your prescriptions at our pharmacies helps us provide medications to seniors and Elders. All the proceeds of our pharmacies are and will continue to be dedicated to programs and services, and as we continue to open more pharmacies, our ability to expand on programs also grows.

Our Treaty and our Land Claim

Even as we are travelling to meet with our Citizens to discuss our Treaty, we are also continuing to advance our agenda with the federal government. This is the way we continue to make progress toward our goals, by continuing our efforts on multiple fronts. That's why we met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister Marc Miller on March 20: to speak about the settlement of our historic Land Claim and finally close the dark chapter on Canada's history.

During our meeting, the Prime Minister reaffirmed his continued commitment, first made in front of our 2013 AGA and repeated continuously since then, that he intends to settle our Land Claim by the end of his current term.

The promise made to our People in 1870 was broken and we know that the promise made by this government will not be broken.

Spring harvest and renewal

With spring coming, I know many harvesters are watching the skies, looking for the returning duck and geese. This is not only a sign that spring weather is on its way, it's also a signal for the spring harvest. There's nothing that beats the taste of spring ducks and geese, and I look forward to enjoying it.

Citizen Harvesters have shared with me their concerns about Avian influenza, or "bird flu" affecting the ducks and geese coming back to our Homeland. Citizens should know that the risk of you or your loved ones getting bird flu from wild meat is extremely low, and the viruses that produce it usually do not infect humans. However, it is always wise to take precautions to avoid any issues. Make sure you wash your hands and work surface thoroughly after you've cleaned your harvest, and cook it well before eating.

Still, Red River Métis Harvesters can take precautions while handling game meat by avoiding birds that appear sick, and making sure that the meat is thoroughly cooked before it's enjoyed. We will continue to monitor the effects of avian influenza on the wildlife population in Manitoba, and provide you with the best and most current guidance available.

I extend my best wishes to those Citizens who will honour our traditions by harvesting from our Homeland this season. As always, it's vital that Citizens follow our harvesting laws, including making sure you have your harvesting card and remembering to share the bounty of your harvest with Elders and vulnerable members of our community. Abiding by our harvesting laws and sharing with the community are important parts of how we honour our Ancestors and keep our culture and traditions alive. As you undertake the spring harvest, stay safe and remember - your Red River Métis Government has your back.

Until we meet, I offer my prayers to all our Citizens, friends, and neighbours, and my deepest condolences to those who have been caused to grieve.


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