President's Message - May 11, 2023

May 11, 2023

With treaty consultations still to come in the Interlake and Southwest Regions, as well as in Vancouver and a virtual date, we continue to gain momentum toward our historic Extraordinary General Assembly on June 3 and 4. We are getting so close to this important Assembly, and the excitement keeps building.

This is the essence of our democracy - our commitment to coming together when there are matters of importance to discuss. Much like the open-air Assemblies held by our Ancestors more than 150 years ago, we also encourage as many people as possible to share in this moment. We will never waver in our dedication to our rich democratic traditions, including Assembly.

Due to the outstanding engagement by Citizens, we are finding new ways to accommodate more Citizens who wish to be a part of the Assembly, as we gather to take our Nation into a new era.

People who can't attend in person will have options for their participation. If your health, child care, or other commitments prevent you from coming to the Assiniboia Downs, you can participate from home, virtually.

For those Citizens who have challenges with poor internet connectivity, or those who want to be around community and share in the excitement of voting, we will have satellite locations in all of our Regions. Each Region will host an event, similar to our Regional Meetings, for the two days of the Assembly, and will support Citizens who need to travel to the satellite locations to attend.

We will also have locations in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver for our Citizens who live beyond the borders of our Homeland. One of the things we heard clearly as we consulted with our Citizens Beyond Borders was the powerful feeling of being around community, and the sense of home they felt when they walked into a room of Red River Métis. I know Citizens in our Regions, who have ready access to community and kin, can understand how hard it would be to feel cut off from our people. Rest assured, we will continue to find new ways to help these Citizens feel connected, beyond the important work of consulting them on our treaty.

However you choose to participate, I encourage all who wish to be a part of your history. Truly, your participation honours your parents, grandparents, and all Red River Métis who have fought tirelessly to get us to this milestone, guiding our steps to this day.

I know this Extraordinary General Assembly will be much like our consultations, with Citizens wearing beaming smiles and feeling the buzz of excitement. I also know that many will be moved to tears, recollecting all the steps required to arrive at this turning point for our people. This is especially true of our Elders, who can remember when times were so much tougher. They know, as your President knows, that securing the future for our children and grandchildren has been the long-held desire of our continued governance, ever since our first treaty 153 years ago.

Our Youth know that this treaty is for them. They understand that we are dreaming greater dreams for their future than we dared dream for ourselves. All that any of us ask in return is that our Youth continue to keep the flame of our Nationhood alive, taking on the responsibilities of leading us into this new era. Those who attend this historic Assembly will tell the Youth of the future that they were present for this moment, and share the story of our treaty. I know these leaders of tomorrow will honour all those who set their feet on this path, as we in the older generations honour those who guided us.

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's vital that Citizens follow our harvesting laws; make sure you have your harvesting card 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.

I offer my prayers to all our Citizens, friends, and neighbours, and my deepest condolences to those who have been caused to grieve. I express my solidarity for our Youth and Infinity Women Secretariat members who, on May 5, walked from the corner of Portage and Main to mark Red Dress Day, the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people. For all who participated in honouring our lost Red River Métis loved ones and all Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people, I thank you for your continued advocacy and your efforts to keep their memories alive.

Red River Métis Ride of Hope

I want to draw Citizens' attention to the upcoming Red River Métis Ride of Hope, scheduled to begin Friday, May 19 in Hadashville and end in early June, with a small parade on a service road just outside of Winnipeg, at the sign marking the longitudinal centre of Canada.

Armand Jerome, a Red River Métis Citizen and cartmaker, along with his wife, Kelly, are the organizers at the heart of this ride. Their original goal was to complete a month-long Red River Cart ride to honour our Ancestors as part of the Manitoba 150 celebrations, which were cancelled by the pandemic.

When Armand and Kelly learned about the plight of the children in the Ukraine who'd been orphaned by the war, they decided to turn their long-postponed ride into a fundraiser for those children and the communities that protect them. I am proud of their determination to see this ride through, and am very moved by their thoughtfulness in making this a fundraiser. Citizens wanting to learn more about the event can go to the website for the ride:




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