Canada Reconsidering Métis-definition Contract

Canada Reconsidering Métis-definition Contract

ICTMN Staff
2/13/11

Canada’s government is receiving so much flack over its contracting with an independent standard-setting firm to compile a list of Métis identifying criteria that it is now reviewing the whole idea, the news site Global Saskatoon reports.

Métis leadership was concerned that the Canadian Standards Association had been hired to develop a verification strategy for Métis identification purposes, the Canadian Press reported. David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, is perturbed that the same organization that sets standards for bike helmets and other consumer goods would be put in charge of compiling the list of Métis characteristics to help determine who fits the bill to register legally with the government. But even more than that, he told the news media, the federal government did not consult with the Métis about the contract.

All that John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and interlocutor for Métis and non-status Indians, wanted to do was “give the government a way to ensure the registration systems in place in the five Metis provinces are satisfactory,” the Canadian Press said.

After years of struggling to be recognized as a separate aboriginal group by the federal government, these descendents of unions between European fur traders and aboriginals feel they have it down, as The Globe and Mail reported on February 11.

To be considered Métis a person “must self-identify as Métis, be able to trace their connection to the Métis homeland (the fur trade areas from Ontario westward), be distinct from other aboriginal groups, and be accepted by other Métis,” The Globe and Mail said. Now about 400,000 people identify themselves as Métis in Canada, according to the newspaper, and 87 percent of them live in Ontario and the west.

Read earlier coverage here.

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