Métis part of the Collaborative Consultation

by pmnationtalk on January 6, 2019526 Views

On August 3, 2015, Madam Justice Chantal Masse of the Quebec Superior Court ruled in the Descheneaux case that most of the Indian Act registration provisions were invalid, since they discriminated on the basis of sex when granting Indian status and therefore unjustifiably infringed section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

On June 12, 2018 the Government of Canada announced the launch of comprehensive consultations on Indian registration, band membership and First Nation citizenship. This was the second part of the federal government’s two-staged response to the Descheneaux decision. The Quebec Superior Court had advised that amendments should go beyond the specifics of the case and that is the reason why the consultation includes the broader issues of Indian registration, band membership and First Nation citizenship. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada testified before the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs that between 80,000 and 2,000,000 individuals will now be eligible to register under Bill S-3. Their estimate includes many Métis who are now eligible for registration as status Indians as a result of amendments made to the Indian Act under Bill S-3.

The Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Saskatchewan (CIPS) has initiated a constructive and open discussion on Métis identity and citizenship as part of our consultation process. We will be hosting a consultation session during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 26 and Sunday, January 27, 2019 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The AGM will be held at the Indian Métis Friendship Centre located at 1409-1 Avenue East, Prince Albert.

The issues involved with the collaborative process are complex and open to misinterpretation. Many broader questions will be raised such as: Is there only one Métis people in Canada? Are the only Métis in Canada the Red River Métis or Riel’s people? Are there Métis communities outside of the Red River core? Is the federal government attempting to limit its financial burden by limiting the number of Métis communities?

A broad range of historical, cultural and political factors will arise in the collaborative process concerning Indian registration, band membership and First Nations citizenship. Since 1992, the Métis National Council has asserted that they are the sole representatives of the Métis referenced in section 35(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982. In contrast, Harry Daniels, who negotiated the term ‘Métis’ into the constitution was clear that the term referenced Métis everywhere in Canada.

The purpose of CIPS is to enhance, promote and foster the social, economic, educational, cultural, health, well-being and rights of status and non-status Indians living off reserve and Métis living in Saskatchewan. Our mission is to build a strong and effective representative organization based on the governance principles of legitimacy and voice; strategic vision; responsiveness; fairness; accountability; and transparency.

Quote from John Hanikenne, President of CIPS:

“The concepts of Métis membership and Métis citizenship are closely linked to concepts of Métis self-government and self-determination. There is no doubt that because of the recent amendments to the Indian Act, many Métis now qualify for Indian status and will seek registration in order to access programs and services.”

John Hanikenne, President

Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Saskatchewan

Quick facts

Canada has committed to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and nation-to-nation relationship building, as well as to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.

The legal treatment of Indigenous People under Canadian law reveals a complex group of categories for Indigenousness.

Federal legislation has had a profound negative impact on Indigenous peoples living off reserve. Non-status Indians are often discriminated against by their own relatives, based solely on whether they are registered under the Indian Act.

For more information contact:

John Hanikenne, President
Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Saskatchewan
Tel: 306-922-0090
Email: metisman9@gmail.com

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