President's Message - September 4, 2019

September 4, 2019

History lesson 101: There is one Metis People and one Metis Nation. The Red River Settlement, now Winnipeg, Manitoba, is the Birthplace of that Metis Nation and it is the Heart of the Metis Nation Homeland.

There are things that distinguish us from others. We have our own language, Michif, and we have our very own traditions. Our dance is the Red River Jig. We fly our own Metis flag. The Metis are rooted here in the Prairies. One of our many powerful bonds is our collective political history. It was here, in what is now the corner of Main Street and Rupertsland Boulevard in Winnipeg, that we first went to battle as a people in 1816. That incident, known as the Victory at Frog Plain, was the moment when Nationalism was born for the Metis people.

In 1870, the Manitoba Metis Community became the Founders of Manitoba and Canada's Negotiating Partner in Confederation and were to receive 1.4 million acres for the children of Metis residents of Manitoba. But the governance of the Metis was to end in a Reign of Terror. Many had to flee for their lives.

There have been many dark days in our collective history. The recent 80th anniversary of the tragedy at Ste. Madeleine, Manitoba, marks a time when our Citizens were driven out of their homes, and saw them burned to the ground. Again, the Metis were forced to be nomadic. Yes, we have our roots here, but time and time again we have been forced to rove.

We recognize that many Metis Citizens have chosen or been forced to leave their Homeland. But each of these Citizens will have links to this Metis Nation, its land and traditions. We cannot confuse who these Citizens are.

In 1994, the Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was admitted into the Metis National Council

(MNC) to represent Metis people from the Prairies who have moved to Ontario and those who are from Northwestern Ontario near the Manitoba border. But the MNO has consistently ignored and breached MNC General Assembly resolutions by attempting to grandfather individuals into the Metis Nation who do not meet the National Definition - individuals who attempt to claim our rights, our flag, and our traditions. With their false identity, these groups would try to take the birthright of our Metis Citizens.

This will never happen. We are not simply people of mixed ancestry. We are a people marked by kinship and by our distinct culture. And we will fight for our rights. That is History 101.

And in that spirit, I remind you to get to the polls, and to bring along your friends, youth, and Elders. Your Metis vote counts. As the MMF fights to reclaim all that is owed to the Metis, we will protect ourselves from within and without.

In closing, I offer my best wishes for those who are sick or shut in. May they be blessed with healing, health, and peace. I pray for and share my heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies for all our neighbours, friends, and families who have lost loved ones. May they be comforted during this difficult time.

Meeqwetch,

 


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