President's Message - January 03, 2022

January 3, 2023

On behalf of the Cabinet and staff of your Red River Métis Government, I extend my best wishes to all Citizens for a bright and prosperous 2023.

This is a time of year to reflect on our progress in the last year, and how our plans for 2023 will build on past successes. You'll be able to read more about the events and activities of 2022 undertaken by your government in this edition of Le Metis and see how hard we worked on your behalf.

As for the future, I can tell you that I am excited for 2023, and ready to tackle the work ahead of us. There are many plans already taking shape for this new year, more than I could share in one message. However, I wanted to share some of the things that have been on my mind for the coming year.

Work will continue on our digitally innovative heritage centre this year, bringing us one step closer to sharing our Nation's history with all visitors. The location of our heritage centre at the crossroads of commerce in the heart of our Homeland is a powerful symbol of our Nation finding our rightful place in Canada's confederation. I know Citizens will join me in feeling a deep sense of pride when the heritage centre is opened for the public.

I also look forward to seeing our work with Red River Métis artists and artisans continue to evolve, as we build an online store to complement our in-person Ed Simard General Store. Through these stores, we will continue to promote the beautiful work of artists and artisans, and provide a venue for our community and friends to purchase wonderful pieces made by our Citizens. I'm so proud of the revival we're seeing in beadwork. Your government will continue to find ways to secure the long-term health and prosperity of the market for our artists and artisans. You've already seen us take some steps that include the creation of our Red River Métis Fur Company, which is already up and running, purchasing furs from our trappers at an above-market rate.

Politically, know that your Cabinet is always engaged in the business of government-to-government relationship building. This helps our Nation by ensuring that our voices are heard directly by our counterparts in the federal and provincial government, and our needs and vision for programs and services are the driving force for our future. This is a critical part of reconciliation - the self-determination recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is not subject to the lens and perspective of other governments. We decide who we are and where our Homeland is, and I know our Citizens stand alongside me in defence of this right - it's the fight our ancestors gave their lives for, and it's not a fight we'll ever lose again. We will build on our strengths, advance ourselves where there is opportunity, and advocate for our land claim settlement, modern-day treaty, and Métis-specific healthcare.

The opening of the Lake Manitoba Resort will be another highlight of the year, as well as the advancement of our Youth camps and the completion of the retrofit at our Home Office. These are just some of the initiatives that are underway for 2023, and I look forward to sharing our progress with you as we continue to advance our Nation this year.

We know that with the cold, dark days of January, people can begin to feel sad and struggle with their mental health. Remember that our Nation is not only a political force and an economic engine; we're also a community. Never be afraid to reach out if you're feeling challenged or struggling with your mental health. We have always been a people who support one another when times are hard, and I hope we never lose this important value. When you reach out to your community and even your Local members to have a cup of coffee and talk about what's on your mind, you are helping secure the future of our cherished tradition, as well as helping yourself get through a difficult time.

Your Red River Métis Government is always hard at work trying to improve the lives of Citizens, and your mental health matters to us just as much as your economic and political well-being, from the grassroots level of our government up to your Cabinet and your President.

I continue to send my well wishes to Citizens who are honouring our traditions by harvesting from our Homeland to feed family and community. Stay safe and remember - your Red River Métis Government has your back.

Until we meet again, 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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