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Edmonton, Sept. 29, 2009
Métis Settlements General Council, President Gerald Cunningham commented on today’s historic Métis hunting decision in the Provincial Court of Alberta that ruled in favor of Dion Lizotte of Paddle Prairie. President Cunningham stated “Mr. Lizotte and the Métis Settlements have won an important hunting decision for Métis settlement members”.This decision offers two important points for Métis Settlement members; firstly settlement members enjoy Powley Métis status. Central to this case is the extent to which a “Métis” under this Alberta law avoids or is automatically a Métis under the relevant aspects of the “Powley” test.
Secondly as Métis we are able to hunt off settlement. Mr Lizotte a Métis community hunter was hunting off settlement in a prescribed radius as per 2007 Sustainable Resources policy when charged.
The presiding Judge was satisfied that the Crown’s position in this case was inconsistent with the Alberta government’s historical approach to the Métis people. He went on to comment that Alberta has passed an Act (Métis Betterment Act, 1938) which no other Province has since duplicated. In essence the people of Alberta through this delegation recognized that they trusted the Métis Settlements to decide for themselves, who was a “Métis”.
The Metis Betterment Act, 1938 has since been replaced by the Métis Settlements Act, 1990 which seen the transfer of the existing 1.25 million acres of land in fee simple to the Métis.
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