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As many of you are aware, Saturday, September 19, 2009 marks the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in R. v. Powley. The ground breaking decision ushered in a whole new era of Métis rights in Ontario and across the Métis Homeland. Especially important at this time of the year, are the Métis Harvesting Rights which are now recognized by the Province of Ontario.No doubt many of you will be part of the crowd which converges on Lafontaine for the Fifth Annual Métis Rendezvous this weekend. Regardless of where you are on Saturday, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on how the Powley decision has raised the profile of the Métis, and contributed to the recognition of our rights as a distinct Aboriginal people within Canada. It’s affirmation of the right to harvest, a component critical to the already rich fabric that defines Métis culture.
It is fair to say that in spite of a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice of many Métis, our pursuit of the full recognition of Métis rights continues. There is still much work to be done with the province and especially with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) in ensuring the acceptance of those rights when they are asserted. We will continue to push forward on the priority issues that you have raised with your Captains of the Hunt and myself at the MNO/ MNR working table, and will report progress and movement as it occurs. Each of us must do all we can to ensure that the collective right of Métis to harvest is preserved through responsible management of the Métis harvest in Ontario. The work ahead of us is great and the journey will be long and hard fought. But on September 19th, please take a moment to celebrate your Métis culture and heritage and to remember Steve, Rodney and the Powley family for their personal sacrifice and commitment to the ongoing struggle for Métis rights.
I look forward to greeting many of you in person this weekend as we celebrate this important anniversary and participate in the activities the volunteers from the Georgian Bay area have planned for the Métis Rendezvous.
Gary Lipinski, President
Métis Nation of Ontario
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