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(Kelowna, BC) – The Inauguration of the Metis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) leadership elected September 13th, 2008 marked the historic 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Métis Nation. Hundreds of Metis citizens gathered to celebrate the official inauguration of twenty-one elected leaders, which included President, Vice President, Regional Directors, Women and Youth Chairperson’s, and Regional Women and Youth Representatives. The AGM titled “ Building our Legacy” also featured key announcements from the BC Provincial Government.• BC150 Initiative
Honourable Mike de Jong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation opened the AGM with the announcement of $150,000 to support an MNBC project that enables the Métis citizens of B.C. to share in celebrating B.C.’s 150th anniversary. MNBC will celebrate their contributions to the development of British Columbia and the achievements of Métis people in the shaping of B.C.’s history. The BC150 project was collaboration between MNBC, the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. The funding will support the following initiatives:
• Publication of “The Métis in British Columbia: From Fur Trade Outposts to Colony”. • A DVD that shares the biographies of significant Métis people in the settlement of B.C.
• Métis cultural festivals across B.C including a provincial celebration of Louis Riel Day November 16th
• A music DVD highlighting the significance of Métis music in B.C. and the artists who perform it.
• Publication of an illustrated guidebook about the Métis Nation in B.C. today.
“It is only right that we recognize and salute the Métis for their valuable contributions to British Columbia over the last 150 years,” said de Jong. “We will continue to learn and work with all Aboriginal people to preserve and celebrate a fundamental part of our province’s history and present identity.”
“The Métis in B.C. played a significant role in the formation of this province, and it is inspiring to have the province’s recognition and support in this important initiative,” said Bruce Dumont, MNBC President. “Métis citizens will have the opportunity to celebrate their unique culture and share it with other Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal residents of B.C.”
• Official Release of Publication “ The Metis in British Columbia: From Fur Trade Outposts to Colony”
Under the MNBC BC150 project, MNBC collaborated with George and Terry Goulet, authors of the best selling book The Trial of Louis Riel: Justice and Mercy Denied, to produce a book that was specific to the history of Metis people within BC. The official release of the publication was celebrated at the AGM with every delegate being provided with a copy of the book.
• $50,000 Provincial Government Investment in Cultural DVD project and Métis Chartered Community events.
Honourable Mike de Jong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation also announced $50,000 towards the development of Metis Cultural DVD project and support for Metis community cultural celebrations. MNBC, in collaboration with the University of British Columbia Okanagan launched the DVD at the AGM. The DVD is an interactive series and includes information on Métis music and dance, harvesting and the Michif language.
• The MNBC Natural Resource Act was unanimously passed by Métis citizens at the AGM, further establishing Self-Governance.
President Dumont ended with “ I am looking forward to the next four years and the continued growth of our Proud Nation. I would like to thank all of the individuals who attended the AGM and acknowledge their commitment and willingness to move the Métis Nation British Columbia forward”.
The Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) works on behalf of approximately 59 000 (source 2006 Census) Métis people in British Columbia. MNBC was created in 1996 and was formally incorporated as the Métis Provincial Council of British Columbia (MPCBC). In 2003 the Métis leadership ratified the Métis Nation British Columbia Constitution thereby establishing a new Métis Nation governance structure. Since 2003, the Métis Nation British Columbia leadership has implemented a number of institutions of governance such as the Senate, Métis Nation Governing Assembly, Youth representation, Women’s representation, and an objectively verifiable citizenship process.
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