Seized firearms returned to Red River Métis Harvesters
August 16, 2022
Winnipeg, MB, in the National Homeland of the Red River Métis - Today, the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), the National Government of the Red River Métis, is pleased that the Provincial Court of Manitoba granted an Order, on consent of defence counsel and Manitoba Prosecutions, to release the firearms that were seized from three Red River Métis Harvesters.
The charges against the Harvesters have not been dropped at the time of this release, however the MMF will continue to work towards an amicable resolution, while still protecting the rights of our Red River Métis Harvesters.
The Red River Métis Citizens were harvesting with MMF Conservation Moose Tags under the MMF’s 2021-2022 Moose Conservation Harvesting Initiative that aims to protect the Métis collective rights in the Duck and Porcupine Mountains. As the National Government of the Red River Métis, it is a top priority to protect our Citizens when they are acting within the scope of our section 35 rights to harvest as Indigenous people under the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as adhering to the Revised Third Edition of the Métis Laws of the Harvest.
The MMF has continued to work diligently with the province so that our Harvesters can participate in our traditional practices without fear of harassment and prosecution. On December 13, 2021, the MMF filed a Statement of Claim in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench.
The Statement of Claim asks the Court to declare that the Red River Métis have collective rights in the Duck and Porcupine Mountains to hunt for food and domestic use, including social and ceremonial purposes; and, that sections of the Province’s Moose Conservation Closure Regulation constitute an unjustifiable infringement of the section 35 Aboriginal Rights of the Red River Métis and therefore have no force or effect – meaning the regulations do not apply.
The Provincial Court has ordered the release of the firearms to our Harvesters, and our Harvesters are pleased by this outcome, but they have chosen to remain anonymous out of concern for the potential ramifications. This emphasizes the need for the MMF to continue to fight for the rights of our Citizens, as our people should have no fear of possible repercussions.
“The MMF has previously tried to work with the province without receiving accommodations for our harvesting rights in the Duck and Porcupine Mountains,” said David Chartrand, President of the MMF. “We will continue to pursue our claim and hold Manitoba accountable for its unconstitutional actions. The MMF is committed to ensuring our Red River Métis Harvesters can continue to harvest safely and provide for their families.”
Believe in Yourself; Believe in Métis.
The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) is the democratically elected National Government of the Red River Métis, also known as the Manitoba Métis, the origin and core of the Métis Nation. The Manitoba Métis are Canada’s Negotiating Partners in Confederation and the Founders of the Province of Manitoba.
For more information, media may contact:
Media Relations Advisor
Manitoba Métis Federation