President's Message - April 27, 2023

April 27, 2023

Your Red River Métis Government is well into consultations with Citizens about our modern-day treaty with Canada. We have nearly completed our negotiations and will soon be able to publicly share our treaty. Cabinet Ministers and I are keen to share the treaty with you - we want you to be empowered with knowledge to develop an informed opinion about the treaty and what it means.

Citizens who are attending our treaty consultations are paying close attention to the details presented to them and are asking intelligent and thoughtful questions. We have had record-breaking attendance at many of our meetings, which tells us that our people know how important and historic this treaty is. We fully expected strong engagement from our Citizens, and it has been wonderful to see it happening.

For those Citizens who have not yet attended a consultation, we look forward to seeing you, because there are some important things to know about our treaty.

About our treaty

The treaty is part of a series of steps that have been taken over the course of many years. It is not an isolated body of work. In fact, we have been working toward this moment since 1967 when the MMF was formed, our inspiration finding its roots in 1870 - we are standing on the backs of giants.

Our Assembly has guided us over the years, with a consistent message: our Citizens want us to take all necessary actions to ensure our ancestral rights to self-determination and self-government are protected, recognized, and strengthened for the benefit of our future generations. In other words, fight for our rights, our recognition, and our ability to own ourselves and our identity.

Each step of this process has been completed at the will of our Citizens, as expressed at our Annual General Assemblies. Our longstanding active Local executives and Citizens know this and have strong feelings about the tremendous work it took to get here. Our Youth may not be aware of all the steps leading up to this and may not have experienced the struggles of our Elders and seniors. It is essential that our Youth understand that the treaty is the result of the efforts, dreams, and sacrifices of the entire community.

The treaty will be followed by settling our land claim and creating Métis-specific healthcare legislation and more. Beyond this, we cannot predict what future generations will need to build their lives - these considerations will be the responsibility of our Youth, the leaders of tomorrow. That is why our treaty is a framework, so that it can evolve to accommodate the future needs of the Red River Métis.

The Extraordinary General Assembly - June 3-4

An important observation was made about the strength of our people by Alexander Ross, in a book called The Red River Settlement, published in 1856. He wrote:

"Experience could not but have taught them, that however insignificant and powerless these people were while scattered by twos and threes about their distant parts yet assembled together in one place with one common interest, one common object in view, they must soon become formidable either as friends or foes."

Now, 167 years later, we grow stronger still when brought together with a common interest or goal. The threads of our history are woven together with the decisions we have made in Assemblies. From the Convention of 24 in 1869 and the Convention of 40 that became the Provisional Government in 1870 to modern times, where the Assembly guided our government to leave the Métis National Council and stand alone in defence of our identity, or move beyond colonial borders, our formidable strength is at its best when we are together.

Assembly is the very heart of our democratic structure, and gathering to consider the ratification of our modern-day treaty will place our upcoming Extraordinary General Assembly in the history books. Like the Convention of 40, the Extraordinary General Assembly of 2023 will be discussed for decades, and perhaps even centuries, to come.

The responses you give us during consultations tell Cabinet and me that you understand the historic nature of this moment in history. We know this is the making of an incredible turnout at our Extraordinary General Assembly at Assiniboia Downs this June. We hope to see every Citizen there exercising their right to vote.

Until we gather, I extend my best wishes to those Citizens who will honour our traditions by harvesting from our Homeland this season. As always, it is vital that Citizens follow our harvesting laws; make sure you have your harvesting card with a valid CTF sticker and remember 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.

Thank you all for the opportunity to be your President at this moment in history. I look forward to sharing the exciting days ahead with you.

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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