MSGC President Updates Members on the Federal Initiative – November 30, 2017
President Gerald Cunningham provides a video update to Settlement Members on the status of our Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Canada and ‘Next Steps’ after it is signed. You can also catch up on the Federal Initiative, and many others, in the latest edition of The Messenger – Fall 2017
REMEMBRANCE DAY STATEMENT
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
Each Remembrance Day is a somber time not only for all Canadians to remember those veterans who served our great country, but for the Metis Settlements to reflect on members who also, so bravely, answered the call.
Indeed, it is our privilege to extend General Council’s appreciation to each and every Metis Settlement family whose loved ones gave so selflessly to all of us. We invite you to join tomorrow’s Moment of Silence in honour of our very own. Marcee!
Moy Wihkac Ka Wanikiskisinow.
Lest we forget.
Gerald Cunningham, President
Darren Calliou, Vice President
Sherry Cunningham, Treasurer
Dorothy Anderson, Secretary
Metis Settlements General Council Raises Flag at Alberta Legislature to Commemorate Proclamation Day
Edmonton, AB – November 1, 2017
For the first time in its almost eighty-year history with the Government of Alberta, the Metis Settlements General Council will be joining with members of the Government and other dignitaries to raise its flag at the Alberta Legislature. This historic ceremony is taking place to commemorate the anniversary of the proclamation of the suite of legislation negotiated as part of the Metis Settlements/Alberta Accord (1989). The Accord established the eight Metis Settlements and the governance structure that exists today.
Gerald Cunningham, President of the Metis Settlements General Council had this to say about the event:
“The Metis people helped to settle the west and played an important role in the evolution of Alberta. We were here before Alberta was even a province and many Albertans are not aware that the only legislatively protected, land-based Metis communities in Canada are right here in their Province. We hope days like today help bring that awareness.”
The Metis Settlements and their members have a long history in the Province of Alberta, going back before the Province was established in 1905. It was an act of the Legislature in 1938, the Metis Betterment Act, that established what were then referred to as the Metis colonies. These communities evolved and grew as beacons of the Metis way of life.
They suffered their share setbacks and difficulties, there were challenges with the relationship between the Metis Settlements and Alberta. But in 1990, after a long hard negotiation, both partners agreed to ratify the 1990 Metis Settlements/Alberta Accord and implement the four pieces of legislation, including the Metis Settlements Act and the Metis Settlements Land Protection Act, that created the framework under which the Settlements operate today. The ultimate goal of the Accord and the legislation was to enhance local autonomy and respect the Metis Settlements’ right to self-determination. It was an historic step forward, but, as President Cunningham notes, there is much more yet to do:
“We appreciate the long history between our Settlements and Alberta, and we’ve come a long way in eighty years but the work of community building never ends. We are also beginning the process of reconciliation with the Government of Canada given recent Supreme Court decisions and we truly hope that all three parties – the Metis Settlements, Alberta, and Canada – can formalize a framework to cooperate as we move forward.”
The flag raising ceremony will begin at noon on Wednesday, November 1, at the south end of Federal Plaza. The event is open to the public and all are welcome.
MSGC Disappointed Metis to be Excluded from “60s Scoop” Settlement
Metis Settlements Outraged by Exclusion of Metis Survivors of “60s Scoop”
Edmonton, AB – October 18, 2017 – The Metis Settlements General Council (“MSGC”) is tremendously disappointed and frustrated with the Federal Government’s decision to exclude Metis survivors of Canada’s infamous “60s Scoop.” Recent announcements by the Federal Government indicated that a financial settlement had been reached with survivors but that it did not include Metis. Although MSGC is heartened that justice is being brought to the First Nations and Inuit people, many of whom are related to the members in the Metis Settlements, Canada’s only legislated land-based Metis, many questions remain as to why the Metis have been excluded. Particularly given that no process or arrangements have been proposed to address Metis survivors. President Gerald Cunningham of the MSGC had this to say:
“It is our hope that we can create practical and real solutions for achieving lasting justice and support for our Metis survivors of the 60’s Scoop. The Federal Government’s decision only serves to further disenfranchise Metis victims.”
Countless families within the Metis Settlements have been seriously affected by the “60s Scoop,” primarily because Settlement members and their children were easily located in the communities. The Scoop, a government policy that allowed for the stealing of Indigenous children from the families and placing them in foster care or up for adoption, is yet another example of the prejudicial and harmful policies that Canadian governments enacted. Many of the members in the Metis Settlements are still dealing with the trauma and intergenerational effects created by this travesty, one that was often enforced with violent abductions of Metis children from their homes and communities. These lasting impacts are still felt very deeply today.
Minister Bennett has expressed her dismay with the past policies regarding Canada’s Indigenous peoples and even referred to the “60s Scoop” as a “dark and painful chapter.” The continued exclusion of the Metis from receiving justice only perpetuates Canada’s dark chapters. President Cunningham elaborated:
“The Government of Canada’s words about reconciliation and building a positive relationship with the Metis people continue to be betrayed by their exclusionary and harmful actions. It is our sincere hope that Minister Bennett and the Government of Canada will hear our voices and correct this egregious error.”
Update on Metis Settlements Consultation
Edmonton, AB October 10, 2017 – The Metis Settlements General Council has been meeting regularly with Minister of Indigenous Relations, Richard Feehan, to keep the lines of communication open on a variety of issues. As a result, at a meeting on September 28th that included the Minister, MSGC and Alberta agreed to re-open dialogue on the Metis Settlements Consultation Policy.
The Metis Settlements General Council began negotiating for a consultation policy with Alberta in 2014, leading to Cabinet approval of a policy in 2015. “The Metis Settlements Consultation Policy was not perfect but it was important to get our foot in the door, knowing that we would continue work to improve it,” said Gerald Cunningham, President of the Metis Settlements General Council.
For decades, MSGC has been a constant and consistent advocate for the recognition of the inherent Rights of Metis Settlements. A consultation working group has been established to review and propose revisions that will enhance the Consultation Policy. This working group, which includes representation from the Government of Alberta, has committed to four meetings by the end of November 2017. President Cunningham noted, “this is an ambitious schedule but we recognize that this issue is a high priority for both the Metis Settlements and Alberta, and we owe it to our members to make progress quickly.”
Once a draft is in hand at the end of November, Metis Settlement Members will have opportunity to review the draft and provide feedback. “Having a consultation policy in place that works for both the Metis Settlements and the Government of Alberta is vital to creating opportunity in our communities and to the protection of our traditional lands and our culture. The Metis Settlements have a long and storied history in Alberta and this must be recognized by governments, regional partners and industry,” said President Cunningham.
Regular updates on progress can be found at www.metissettlements.com and in the MSGC newsletter, The Messenger.