President's Message - May 09, 2024

May 9, 2024

As our Citizens know, your Red River Métis Government has always stood strong in defence of our distinct identity as a Nation and a people. We left the Métis National Council in 2021 because that organization was trying to allow the Métis Nation of Ontario to introduce "new, historic communities" into our Nation, watering down our identity and allowing thousands upon thousands to claim our heroes, flags, and history, with no connection to us.

Our withdrawal from this pan-Indigenous organization was guided by a mandate we received from you, our Citizens, at our 2019 Annual General Assembly. As always, your Cabinet and I appreciate your direction, wisdom, and unity on this important matter.

Theft of our identity is a matter of national importance, and if it is left unchecked, it can do great harm to our families, villages, and Nation. It threatens everything we have fought for, both past and present. These frauds use Louis Riel as their hero. They claim our national flag as their pennant, as well as our Red River Cart, Red River Beadwork, and Red River Jig as their symbols. They appropriate the milestones of our history as their own and make efforts to change it to suit their own narratives.

Let me be clear - people who call themselves Métis with roots in Eastern Canada are not Red River Métis. They have no connection to our Homeland. They are not part of us.

Yet, their attempts to steal our identity risk serious harm to our peoples. It creates confusion among Canadians. It leaves our culture, heritage, symbols, and heroes vulnerable to misinterpretation and misuse by those who do not understand the cost our families and our Nation paid to preserve this legacy from our Ancestors. It opens the door to recognition, claims, and funding that do not rightfully belong to these groups.

This is a travesty, and it must be stopped. You can be confident that the MMF will remain the stalwart defender of the Nation. We will stand against this flood of beidentity colonists who are trying to swamp us from within, which was Louis Riel's greatest fear for his "Little Métis Nation."

Indigenous Identity Fraud Summit

To address this important issue, we have partnered with the Chiefs of Ontario to co-host the upcoming Indigenous Identity Fraud Summit on May 14 and 15 in Winnipeg, the heart of our Homeland. This historic Summit marks an unprecedented gathering of First Nations, Inuit, and Red River Métis leadership from across Canada, all of whom are bound by concerns about the wholesale theft of our respective identities, by those seeking to use them for their own purposes or gains.

For Citizens who are not familiar with the Chiefs of Ontario, their mandate is to support all First Nations in Ontario as they assert their sovereignty, jurisdiction, and their chosen expression of nationhood. They have stood firm in opposition to Bill C-53, which - if passed - would see the Métis Nation of Ontario recognized as a Métis government. The Chiefs of Ontario have commissioned reports that factually outline that the Ancestors claimed by the Métis Nation of Ontario are, in fact, the Ancestors of these First Nations. The Chiefs of Ontario correctly point out that if there had been any Métis communities in their homelands, they would have been known and been part of the stories passed down in families and communities.

We are proud to partner with the Chiefs of Ontario, led by Regional Chief Glen Hare, to address this important subject. When we act in unity, as we did in the past with our First Nations relatives, our voices are stronger, and our message clearer. Together, we can ensure that our distinct identities, our Ancestors, our cultures, and our history remain in our keeping, and our authority to speak for our Nations remains intact.

We will not allow these fraudulent organizations to use "root ancestors" or "verified family lines" to use our heroes, flags, culture, and symbols, paired with the Ancestors of the First Nations of Ontario to create some sense of legitimacy for themselves. By taking things that rightfully belong to the Red River Métis and the Ontario First Nations and mashing them together, these identity thieves are causing harms to legitimate rightsholders, and distorting our respective history and cultures to achieve their own ends.

The announcement of the Summit has generated massive interest and excitement from all sectors of Canadian society, and even from other countries. We have heard from our Citizens Beyond Borders across all western provinces as well as those who live in Ontario, who want to know how they can clearly identify themselves as rightful inheritors of our rich culture and history. We have received calls from representatives of other levels of government, from the academic world, and from other individuals and groups who have worked hard to expose Indigenous identity fraud in their respective areas of expertise. This is a good sign, telling us that there is growing awareness of what is being done to our identity and the identity of the First Nations in Ontario. It tells us that our efforts to educate Canadians have been working. We must continue on this path, demonstrating the strength and unity that kept our Nation alive, even during the darkest times of our history.

I know we have also received an overwhelming and positive response from Citizens about the Summit, and many questions about the ability of Citizens to attend. While we are livestreaming the event so Citizens can observe and learn about these important matters, you can also rest assured that your Cabinet and I are aware of the importance of providing you with an opportunity to interact with your government and each other, so you can also express our opposition to this wholesale fraud. This Summit is only the first step of many, and we will ensure Citizens and Local leadership continue to be engaged in this dialogue as time progresses.

Citizens can tune into our livestream of the Indigenous Identity Fraud Summit here:

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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