Métis Nation grieves the death of Micah John Messent, a rising young Métis leader with a passion for the environment who perished in flight on route to Nairobi
March 12, 2019 (Ottawa, Ontario) – On behalf of the Métis Nation, Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council, wishes to extend condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Micah John Messent, who was aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 30 that crashed on route to Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday. Micah was invited to attend the fourth United Nations Assembly of the Environment in the Kenyan capital.
“This is a tragic loss to Mr. Messent’s family, friends and those who worked with Micah. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who knew and loved him. The Métis Nation stands together in honour of this young Métis man who was living a life committed to doing good in his community and for the environment,” states Clément Chartier, President of the Métis National Council.
Micah Messent was the youngest of five siblings and was a member of the Red River Métis Nation in Manitoba. When Micah was young, his family moved to the Comox Valley, the traditional territory of the K’omoks peoples. A recent resident of Courtenay, British Columbia, Micah had a passion for B.C. parks and the ocean. After graduating in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree from Vancouver Island University’s Indigenous Studies program, Micah participated in the Indigenous Youth Intern Program with B.C. Parks. After his internship, Micah then worked for the Government of British Columbia as an Indigenous Relations Analyst and Training Specialist for B.C. Parks.
At B.C. Parks, Micah was involved in developing a student ranger program and was chosen last year to participate in the inaugural Ocean Bridge program, launched by the Vancouver Aquarium and the Ocean Wise Conservation Association. Micah was one of at least two Ocean Bridge members who died in the crash. Also on the plane was Toronto resident Danielle Moore who had also been selected as a delegate to the environmental assembly.
Micah is being remembered by friends as a leader, an activist, and all-around incredible human being. Laurie Meijer Drees, chair of the Indigenous Studies Department at Vancouver Island University, where Messent earned his B.A., called his death “devastating.”
“Micah was very inclusive. With the students who were in our classes he always showed leadership around getting people together, making sure everyone felt happy in the room. His enthusiasm and his creativity and his positive energy were really a hallmark of who he was.”
Drees said one of her most prominent memories about Messent was his approach to Indigenous issues. “One of the things he brought is a creative attitude towards this business of reconciliation. As a proud Métis person he didn’t want to focus on racism and negativity and critique that is often part of those conversations. He wanted to demonstrate goodwill and happy cross-cultural interaction.”
Micah and his family were known to be very engaged in their local Métis community. ‘When we lose a young member of our community, the whole Métis Nation mourns. The life Micah lived was one of great service to his ancestors and to his natural environment. He will be missed not only for who he was but for what he may have accomplished,’ says Clara Morin Dal Col, President of the Métis Nation British Columbia.
The Métis Nation sends condolences to all families who lost a loved one on Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 30.
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The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and international levels. The Métis Nation’s homeland includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into the contiguous parts of British Columbia, Ontario, the Northwest Territories and the United States. There are approximately 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada, roughly a quarter of all Aboriginal peoples in the country.