President's Message - April 24, 2024

April 24, 2024

Your Red River Métis Government is looking forward to our first ever Business Excellence Awards Gala. The event will take place on May 30 and will honour our hardworking business community by recognizing the best of the best in the following categories: Traditional Economies, Young Entrepreneurs, Sustainable Economy, Infinity Women Secretariat Spokeswoman's Award, and President's Lifetime Achievement Award.

These categories are reflective of our growing entrepreneurial strength. Whether you're a beader, a trapper, a fisher, a Youth entrepreneur, a woman leading a business, the owner of a stable and mature business, or a business invested in preserving our Homeland, it's important that we recognize and celebrate the contributions of our Citizens.

From the days of our buffalo hunts, making and selling pemmican, early farming, creating our flower beadwork, and operating trade routes across our vast Homeland, Red River Métis have always been hardworking, entrepreneurial people.

I am so proud of the many entrepreneurs, not only because of their individual accomplishments, but because they represent the continuation of our Ancestors' entrepreneurial spirit, which earned the Red River Métis the title of the economic engine of the West.

Caring for our Homeland and supporting our traditional economies

Protecting and promoting our traditional economies and way of life remains a top priority. Trapping, fishing, farming, forestry, and artisanship have been and will forever reflect who we are as a people.

Today, our traditional economies continue to provide an income for Citizens and their families, and enable our collective economic success, particularly in rural areas.

The Red River Métis Fur Company is one of the ways we support businesses in our traditional economic sectors. Launched in February of 2022, through the company we have bought 4,500 furs from our Red River Métis trappers for $250,000. As we buy furs at 25 per cent over market value, we are seeing growing interest in the revival of our trapping industry, doubling our transactions over the previous year.

We don't just buy the furs to sell in the open market. To promote our continuing cultural resurgence and support for entrepreneurs, a portion of the furs are provided at no cost to Red River Métis artists through our Fur and Hide Program. In the past seven months, 147 furs have been given out to 28 artists. Artisans then make beautiful moccasins, mitts, gauntlets, pouches, hats, and jewelry that are sold to our Red River Métis Marketplace at fair market value.

I'm proud to share that our marketplace is now buying regularly from over 140 Red River Métis Citizens. Items are available for purchase at the stores in the MMF National Office at 150 Henry in Winnipeg, in the Northwest Regional Office in Dauphin, or online at This summer, our Red River Métis Marketplace will be mobile, selling these beautiful traditional goods at events across the Homeland.

Commercial fishing also continues to be an important economic activity for many Red River Métis Citizens. Given that the majority of commercial fishers in Manitoba are Red River Métis, we have made it a priority to safeguard this industry, protecting our traditional way of life. That's why we are actively involved with Canada in the sale of the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. We have expressed our vigorous opposition to the recent open "Expression of Interest" process, which would make the corporation available for anyone to buy, leaving our commercial fishers with deep concerns about the future of this traditional economy.

We are also working with Manitoba on the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin Outlet Channels project, making it clear that we will not support anything that puts fish species at risk. We will continue to fight to defend the rights and interests of our commercial fishers, while protecting the health of our Homeland.

Inviting the world to our Homeland

Our warm and welcoming Red River Métis culture is showcased daily by our nearly 50 Red River Métis tourism and hospitality businesses and entrepreneurs. From lodges to farm-to-table dining to culture and history experiences, there is an opportunity to participate in a range of tourism activities while supporting Red River Métis Citizens. Citizens can also experience great food and customer service at any one of the 21 Red River Métis-owned restaurants, including the Shady Lane Tea Room outside of Brandon or Sophie's Restaurant & Deli in Hadashville.

If you and your family are looking for a home-grown adventure this summer, check out the full list of Red River Métis tourism and hospitality businesses on our website.

If you're not familiar with our Business Registry, now is a great time to get to know it. There can be no doubt that one of the best ways we can continue to build our economic strength is by supporting our businesses. It now has close to 700 registered and verified Red River Métis businesses in it. This directory is not just for use by our Citizens - it's also used by other governments, corporations, and individuals wanting to purchase goods and services from authentically Red River Métis businesses.

Supporting our business community

While we are hosting our first ever business awards gala, this is far from the only way in which we are recognizing and supporting our Red River Métis businesses.

Last year, we established the Métis Economic and Community Development team, which now has officers in nearly all Regions, as well as with our Beyond Borders team and our proud affiliate, Infinity Women Secretariat. The officers deliver important on-the-ground supports for businesses and entrepreneurs where they live and work. This includes helping them connect with financing and business opportunities, promoting them in partnership with others, and engaging them in events like the Red River Métis Business Expo held last December.

Of course, our affiliate, the Louis Riel Capital Corporation, continues to serve a key role in providing financing and other business supports to Red River Métis business owners and entrepreneurs. Following the devolution of the Métis Economic Development Fund last year, we also established the Red River Métis Business Development Corporation. This MMF affiliate now holds equity and debt financing and plays a lead role in the delivery of major events for Red River Métis businesses and entrepreneurs, including the Red River Métis Business Expo and Red River Métis Business Excellence Awards Gala. It will also continue to build and support the Red River Métis Business Association, recently hiring a manager to advance the development of the business association.

Our efforts to support our Red River Métis businesses and entrepreneurs continue to grow, keeping pace with the growth and advancement of our business community. Through our annual surveys, we continue to learn more about your needs and your sense of the marketplace. We know that our business community consistently shows greater than average optimism for the future. To me, this not only speaks to our enduring entrepreneurial spirit; it also speaks to the continued advancement of our Nation at every level.

I remain very proud of every Citizen who is gaining ground for themselves and their families, creating the economic success and well-being that was the enduring vision of our Ancestors. We are truly the inheritors of their spirit, pride, and innovative ways, and we have shown what happens when we believe in ourselves, and believe in our Nation.

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



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

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