Métis Nation BC celebrates major milestone in registering its 20,000th citizen
Surrey, B.C. (February 20, 2020) – A delegation of Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) leaders, staff, and citizens today proudly presented a citizenship card to Jason Smart, the 20,000th registered Métis Citizen in British Columbia.
“It is a truly a significant milestone for our Nation to present Mr. Smart with this citizenship card,” says MNBC President, Clara Morin Dal Col. “Our growing membership underscores how prevalent and important the Métis presence is in British Columbia, as well as the strength of our Nation.”
The 2003 Supreme Court of Canada decision R. v. Powley, defined who the Métis are in the context of Section 35 of the Constitution of Canada and also affirmed that the specific collective identified as Métis has Aboriginal rights. Prior to the Powley decision, Métis identification was community driven; however, this only defined Métis membership at a community level. The Supreme Court of Canada identified three broad factors in Métis identification that all must be met to gain Métis citizenship:
– Self identification as a Métis person;
– Ancestral connection to the historic Métis community;
– Acceptance by the contemporary Métis community;
Métis Citizens are the only Indigenous people in Canada who have control over their own identification and registration process. The MNBC Citizenship Registry was introduced in October 2004 and fully implemented in 2005. The provincial Citizenship Registry is responsible for compiling and maintaining a database of Métis Citizens in British Columbia and is based on the process requirements identified in the Powley decision. The MNBC Citizenship Registry is the only Powley compliant Métis Identification Registry in British Columbia.
The MNBC Citizenship Registry has consistently grown over the last fifteen years. MNBC actively encourages all of the self-identified Métis people in BC to apply for MNBC citizenship.
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MNBC was established in 2003 and represents nearly 90,000 self-identified Métis people in British Columbia, including 20,000 Métis Citizens provincially registered with MNBC. MNBC represents 38 Métis Chartered Communities in British Columbia and is mandated to develop and enhance opportunities for Métis communities by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services. Recognized by the Métis National Council, the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada, the MNBC is the official governing body of the Métis in BC.