President's Message - January 18, 2023

January 18, 2023

There can be no doubt that staying in touch with Citizens is important for your Métis Government. We are constantly advancing our national agenda and delivering new programs and services, as well as announcing new developments and activities to our Citizens. It can be a lot to keep up with, but transparent and accountable governance is critical to my leadership and to the approach of your elected officials in Cabinet.

Not only is it important to share with Citizens, we also know that it's a priority for you that we continue educating all Manitobans and Canadians about who we are and what we stand for. We are the Red River Métis, and our heritage, history, and contributions to Canada must be recognized and honoured, and we must continue to share our story. This is one of the ways we can ensure that our identity is well-understood by all, and no one can distort our culture, history, and heritage for their own purposes.

The ways we communicate with Citizens and educate others about who we are - these have been on my mind for quite some time.

Expanding our ability to tell our own stories

Relying on mainstream media outlets to share events of importance to our Nation is not always the most effective way of getting our stories out. I know it can be frustrating for our Citizens to read news stories that don't accurately reflect who we are. Sometimes we read phrases like "Métis and Indigenous" in news stories, reflecting a misunderstanding of the fact that the Red River Métis are an Indigenous people. Some outlets report stories out of places like Simcoe, Ontario, little realizing that organizations from places like this are making false claims to the history and identity of the Red River Métis.

It is clear that we must expand on our ability to tell our own stories. This is the only way we can be confident that the resulting information is accurate, and reflects the stories, thoughts, and events of the true and historic Métis Nation.

This means putting a greater focus on the stories of our community and our families, both past and present. It also means ensuring that we remind Citizens and Canadians about how far we've come, using archival videos, documents, and pictures to breathe new life into historic events.

We know that our Elders are precious for many reasons - one of those reasons is the history and knowledge they hold about the events of the past. Ste. Madeleine is a well-known story within our community, because it was carefully and thoroughly documented by Elders who remembered the events that took place there. We know there are Red River Métis towns and villages across the Homeland with important parts of our history to document. It's vital that we speak to Elders from these places and preserve their knowledge and wisdom for future generations, as well as Citizens and Canadians today.

Finding and recording our stories is only the first step. We must make sure we have the right platforms in place to share our stories and preserve our history, and that we reach as many people as we can with this accurate information. In 2023, we will make this important work an area of focus within your Métis Government.

Ways to keep in touch today

There's no doubt that we already have an effective communications system in place.

Remember, we use a large variety of communications tools to make sure you can stay informed of our activities. We make good use of billboards, radio and television commercials, along with advertisements in both regional and local newspapers to share information about our priorities and our key messages.

Social media is another significant way in which we engage with Citizens - and where we often promote important information or alert you to events taking place near you.

If you're a regular listener of the Métis Hour x2 on NCI every Saturday from 11-1, you know that this is another opportunity for Citizens to hear a report on our activities.

I encourage you to tune in to the program, along with reading our regular messages, and checking out our website and social media. We also send out thousands of emails to our Citizens with messages on important issues and announcements, as well as Le Metis and my President's Message. If you are not receiving these by email, please reach out to our communications department and they can ensure you are on our email "mailing" list.

Together, all these communications will give you ongoing updates, throughout the year, on the progress we're making towards the priorities you've told us are important to you.

Another very important way to share information and make decisions has always been the assembly. There are regular Local Meetings as well as Regional Meetings, and of course the Annual General Assembly.

Sharing our stories, talking with one another, making use of digital platforms and in-person gatherings where we can - these are all important parts of what make us a united Nation. Our Ancestors knew the importance and strength of our unity from the beginning. In 1856, Alexander Ross wrote a book called The Red River Settlement. In it, he says:

"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."

Having a shared purpose and vision for the future was the way forward - only collectively could we fight against those who wanted to erase us, or free ourselves to pursue those objectives that were important to us. It is this collective mindset that distinguished us from anyone else in the Northwest. It is what continues to distinguish us today in the country now called Canada. That's why your active participation and continued engagement are foundational to our Nation, and always will be.

We will continually look for more ways to engage with Citizens, creating more videos of our recent activities, as well as finding ways to reflect back on historic moments for our Nation. I encourage you to keep an eye on our communications platforms, including social media, like YouTube. We have exciting things to communicate and share for this year and beyond, and I can't wait for Citizens to see where we are going.

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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