By: Tessa Vanderhart, Winnipeg Free Press
The Manitoba Metis Federation is offering a $10,000 reward for tips that lead to a conviction in the murder or disappearance of community members.
"It will give a tool, an extra tool, that RCMP or WPS can use to find them," said president David Chartrand Saturday, after announcing the policy at the MMF’s Annual General Assembly.
Some of the details are still being worked out with police, but Chartrand said the policy will take effect "immediately" and apply to all Métis, "whether a boy or a girl, a man or a woman."
MMF justice minister Julyda Lagimodiere’s personal loss informed her work on the policy. Her grandson Christopher Ponask was killed just days before his 20th birthday in 2008, and she still tears up when talking about him.
"I just know, from personal trauma, how difficult it is, what that kind of misfortune is," she said.
Ponask was found dead near a gas station in Thompson, and no one has ever been charged in his death.
She hopes the reward will help other families, especially those with loved ones are still missing.
"I feel for those people even more, that don’t have a body to have a funeral for," she said. "It doesn’t bring them back, but it helps with the closure. It helps very much with the closure."
Lagimodiere has custody of Ponask’s daughter who was born after his death, a constant reminder of her love for her grandson.
"She cries for her dad that she’s never met," she said.
Chartrand said he’s prepared to spend even $100,000 or even $500,000 a year on rewards.
He said all too often, families feel they have to offer whatever reward they can afford.
"They’re pleading with the killers, to say ‘just tell us, where is the body, so we can have peace in our family,’ that’s how desperate they are," he said. "We’ve got to find ways to make a difference."
Any type of support for families of missing and murdered is good news, said Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, MMIWG liaison for Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak.
"Anything that any organization can do to support a family of someone who is missing is a good thing, and if they have the financial means to do that, even better," Anderson-Pyrz said.
Many Indigenous communities don’t have the money for that kind of support, she said.
Equally important are resources for family to cope with the trauma of losing a loved one, especially to violence, she said.
A REPORT BY ISABELLE HACHEY AND MARCO CAMPANOZZI of LAPRESSE+
English Translation by Metis Nation News
Luc Michaud spreads a map of Quebec on the table. The plan covers the territory of Eeyou Itschee Baie-James, between the 49 th and 55 th parallels. A vast northern expanse, largely uninhabited and as large as Germany. Nearly 350 000 km 2 of forests, lakes and wild rivers.
Despite the vastness of the territory, Luc Michaud and the members of his group feel more and more cramped. They show two tiny spots at the bottom of the map: the "enclaves", they say, of Chibougamau and Chapais. To hear them, they are now virtually confined.
It's not the fault of the Crees, they insist. But it must be said that since the signing of the James Bay Agreement in 1975, the representatives of this Aboriginal people have shown that they know how to negotiate. Over the course of the treaties with the government, they got the biggest piece of the pie. "We, we suffer," says Luc Michaud.
Excluded from these historic talks, these men who have spent their entire lives in the North now see themselves as left behind. Three years ago, they decided to be heard ... by creating an Aboriginal community in Chibougamau.
"We wanted to be on the winning side. " - Luc Michaud, leader of the self-proclaimed Métis of Chibougamau
The 59-year-old city council member, blue-eyed and red-faced, is the leader of these self-proclaimed Métis. He admits he does not know exactly who his native ancestors are. This did not prevent him from wearing an impressive headdress during a visit to Paris in the summer of 2017. Nor to multiply the meetings with elected officials in the hope of obtaining official recognition for his community, which today has nearly 400 members, including some politicians and prominent entrepreneurs in the small mining and forestry town of 7600 inhabitants.
A POPULAR MOVEMENT
The "Métis" of Chibougamau joined a movement that has exploded in Quebec for a dozen years: that of Whites who proclaim themselves Métis - and claim the rights and privileges attached to them - by invoking disputed genetic tests or vague indigenous ancestors.
The number of Quebeckers who identified themselves as Métis with Statistics Canada in 2016 jumped 149% from 2006 - faster than anywhere else in the country. No less than 69,360 Quebecers today call themselves Métis. There is no Métis community recognized in the province.
Professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Darryl Leroux has been studying this movement for four years. He identified some twenty "Métis" organizations active in Quebec. Many of them use membership fees to fund legal battles and seek official recognition in court.
None has yet arrived.
Professor Leroux also discovered that the origin of the movement can not be explained solely by a quest for collective identity. In eastern Quebec, Métis groups were created in response to First Nations land claims.
"It's a political strategy to oppose Mi'kmaq and Innu. " - Darryl Leroux, Professor, Saint Mary's University, Halifax
One example: on the North Shore, a man who once defended the "white rights" of an anti-Aboriginal organization - and did not hesitate to treat the Innu as "Red Taliban" in the media locals - presents itself today as a ... Métis clan leader!
Rather than continue his fight against the claims of the natives, this man now claims to be theirs - and have, too, ancestral rights. The same strategy was observed in Gaspésie and Saguenay. It now seems to have been adopted in Nord-du-Québec.
WHITE AND BITTER
The president of Forages Chibougamau, Serge Larouche, does not hide his bitterness when we mention the treaty of the Peace of the Braves, signed in 2002. "The communities [cries] receive how much per year? We are peanuts here. [...] We do not even have a community hall in Chibougamau anymore! "
Serge Larouche is a founding member of the "Métis" community of Chibougamau, just like his brother Steve, who was the "vice-chief" and financed the activities. The two brothers' drilling business has been part of the city's landscape for over 50 years. Until then, they had never mentioned an indigenous root.
Serge Larouche cultivates a feeling of obvious injustice in the face of the concessions made to the Cree people by the government. "We have no rights. "
"Can I fish without having to take a license? I want to take a license, but why can other adjacent communities put in a net anytime? " - Serge Larouche, President of Chibougamau Drilling
Under the James Bay Agreement, the Cree have the right to hunt and fish as they wish on their ancestral lands. The inhabitants of Chibougamau are subject to the same rules as all Quebeckers: to hunt and fish, they must obtain a permit.
Robert Haché, another founding member, regrets not being able to hunt like the Crees. "They have the right to come around our camps to hunt our moose. We can not say anything. Why can not I [hunting moose], like them, winter? "
RECRUITMENT AT THE PENITENTIARY
It was by chance that Robert Haché met Guillaume Carle, the controversial "grand chief" of the Confederation of Aboriginal Peoples of Canada (CPAC).
In 2011, Robert Haché was sentenced to four years in prison for drug trafficking. At the reception center in Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines, he was asked if he was Aboriginal - a routine issue for new inmates.
Robert Haché remembered his uncle's discussions about the "Indian blood" circulating in the family. He tried his luck.
At Cowansville Penitentiary, a practitioner submitted a list of organizations willing to represent him. "I got the first one off the edge. It was CPAC, which is not recognized by either Ottawa or the Assembly of First Nations. Its great leader, Guillaume Carle, is widely regarded as a usurper of the Aboriginal identity, as revealed by a survey of La Presse in November.
Nevertheless, it was proposed to Robert Haché to become a member of his group, without further verification. "The way we determine whether an offender is Aboriginal is based on the principle of self-reporting," says Kathleen Angus, Regional Administrator of Aboriginal Initiatives in Correctional Service Canada.
This is how Robert Haché obtained his CPAC membership card - a document without legal value - at the penitentiary.
"I fell in the wing of the Amerindians. We had a lot more benefits. " - Robert Haché, Self-proclaimed Métis
Tobacco. Moose meat. But above all, a single occupancy cell.
Robert Haché remembers that one day an Aboriginal elder working in the prison warned him: "There are many people who take the card from Guillaume. Be careful. He ignored the warning.
A SUBSIDIARY IN CHIBOUGAMAU
Shortly after his release from prison, Guillaume Carle asked him to create a community affiliated with CPAC in Chibougamau. "He wanted me to open a community here," says Robert Haché, who hails from the city. "I tried it. "
The founding meeting took place on November 28, 2015 in a disused bar on the main street of Chibougamau. Twenty people were present, including Guillaume Carle, Robert Haché and the Larouche brothers.
"It was so anything! "Recalls Myriam Gaudreault, a lawyer who attended the meeting with her husband, Alexandre Cyr. "What really angered us was that there was not a shout there. The couple believed - wrongly - that the new organization would serve as a bridge between the two communities.
In the old bar, Guillaume Carle took a saliva sample of those present, to determine their percentage of indigenous blood. "He was doing DNA testing without gloves. He put [the sampling stick] in people's mouths, took it out with his fingers and went on to the next, "wondered Alexandre Cyr.
The couple distanced themselves after this meeting. But others stayed. Soon, the community was going to be very popular in Chibougamau.
"Everyone wanted to be on board. Everybody ! It was overflowing. I worked one day a week just doing the DNA tests. The world called me, it was not dizzying. " - Luc Michaud
No less than 550 of the city's 7600 inhabitants paid $ 250 to pass the DNA test, according to Luc Michaud. None of them were rejected in the community - not even an Irish immigrant, whose test strangely revealed that native blood was flowing through her veins.
The saliva samples were analyzed by Viaguard Accu-Metrics, a Toronto lab that also discovered Aboriginal roots last year to CBC journalists of Russian and Indian descent. The lab even got positive results from samples taken on ... dogs!
Viaguard Accu-Metrics owner Harvey Tenenbaum declined to comment on the revelations, citing pending lawsuits.
The report did not shake Luc Michaud. "DNA tests, I trust them 100% if it's done right. There are murderers with that. He admits that the "crisis" caused by the CBC and La Presse reports has nonetheless caused him to lose 160 members.
Those who remained received - for $80 - a plastic card from CPAC that wrongly states that the holder "is an aboriginal person within the meaning of section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada (1982) and is entitled to aboriginal rights applicable ".
Notable members of the city include the Executive Director of the Community Futures Development Corporation, a former aspiring mayor and two of the six councilors. "Even my deputy in Chibougamau is a member," sighs the MP Roméo Saganash, himself from the Cree community. "I do not interfere with his personal belongings, he is a good worker", he hastens to add, without hiding that he finds "desolate" the popularity of this group "Métis" in full Cree territory.
"I was surprised by the craze. I was told, "Manon, did you do your saliva test?" - Manon Cyr, Mayor of Chibougamau
Some of the citizens of Mayor Cyr hoped to use their card to obtain tax exemptions when buying goods. "I said," Take care, because it's not legal. You will never be recognized. "
Unlike the former mayor of Saguenay Jean Tremblay, who financially supported the local "Métis" movement and opposed territorial negotiations with the Innu of his region, Mayor Cyr has no time to lose. with the "Métis" community of Chibougamau. "I'm going to be a bit straightforward: for me, it's an NPO. The equivalent, she says, of "a Golden Age Club or a Nursing Club".
The mediation of Indigenous identity in Canada cannot be disentangled from the ways that non-Indigenous Canadians attempt to mediate their own settler identities. For significant numbers of non-Indigenous Canadians, this mediation occurs through uncritical and problematic mobilizations of what is often perceived to be Métis identity—an identity which, for many with little connection to Indigenous histories or politics, simply signifies the mixing of cultures, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. Indeed, countless Canadians who otherwise would not identify themselves as Indigenous, will inevitably cite a distant First Nations or Métis relative, claiming they themselves are Métis, part-Métis, or possess Métis heritage. Hardly a month goes by that notions of “Métis-ness” do not appear to be up for debate, or, more often, especially in the east, uncritically championed as part of Canada’s own national identity.
The one-drop rule is a social and legal principle of racial classification that was historically prominent in the United States and Canada in the 19th and 20th centuries as a way to marginalize minority populations. It asserted that any person with even one ancestor of questionable heritage (in most cases sub-Saharan African ancestry) having just "one drop" such blood was considered not white.
The use of the one drop rule was a fundamental tool used by racists to control people of color and was a weapon of white supremacy.
Now, in the 21st century, there is a marked push among some white people - propelled by ancestral DNA testing, genealogical research, and a strange vogue - to reverse the one drop rule and to use it to assert their dominance and privilege to retroactively declare themselves indigenous based on the assumed existence of a single ancestor (or marginal DNA) as a means of self-identifying as Indian, or Metis.
While such antics seem harmless in most cases, some people have taken this new "reverse" one-drop rule and have used it to try to push claims to aboriginal rights, indigenous scholarships, and other activities where their white privilege allows them to flourish while hiding behind a mask they can put on and take off at will. This has even led some one-drop, race-shifting groups to take Canada to court to try to push for hunting or land rights reserved for actual indigenous people.
What is your opinion on this subject?
A self-declared "Metis" makes the case for the one-drop rule in the video above.
Indigenous anthropologist and historian, Kade Ferris, has been researching the cultures and history of the Ojibwe, Cree, and Metis people of the upper-Midwest for over 25 years. During this time, Kade has worked with dozens of tribal communities, and has collected numerous archival and oral historic accounts, found hundreds of interesting historical snippets, and is now sharing the fruits of his research with readers.
A collection of twenty-three “Little Histories” related to the Metis and Plains Ojibwe people. These Little histories are vivid, short historical excerpts that are presented in digest form, like the old Harper’s Weekly or Readers Digest, where they can be easily read and easily remembered, like a storybook. Stories include tales about old time bush dances, battles, buffalo hunts, chiefs and leaders, and more. While small, these histories are inspiring and entertaining. They provide vital information on some of the most interesting events, people, and places in a deceptively simple, engaging way that takes you, the reader, back into the past to look at these snippets from time through bite size chapters, making these little histories perfect for casual reading, as bedtime stories, or to educate yourself without the need for in-depth research.
More essential history of the Ojibwe and Metis people of the northern prairies of the United States and Canada.
This book features short histories, fascinating stories, lists of names from petitions, treaties, and grand councils, and more.
A vital source for history that can be shared and remembered .
Giiwenh! So the story goes...
Featuring over two dozen traditional legends and stories of the Anishinaabe, including tales of bravery, love, magic, and dangerous events.
A wonderful collection to read to your family to learn about the rich culture and heritage of the Ojibwe and Cree people of the forests and prairies of North America.
Great stories for young and old alike.
The Falcon: A narrative of the captivity and adventures of John Tanner, during thirty-years residence among the Indians in the interior of North ... with Historical Annotations and Translations
Edited with historical annotations and translations, John Tanner's seminal autobiography tells the story of a man who, over the course of 30 years, became almost fully assimilated into Anishinaabe society and culture - coming to view the world almost completely through an indigenous lens.
The narrative includes fascinating stories of survival, daring hunting, starvation, sickness, and coming home to the white world only to return to the only life he had become accustomed to: that of an Indigenous person.
For the South Peace News
‘Darrel’s Bobcat Service,’ owned by Darrel Laboucan, won the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) – Region 5, Business of the Year Award, 2019.
Laboucan started in business in the spring of 1988, working for a number of years at East Prairie Metis Settlement.
Over the years, Laboucan worked for many of the municipalities and institutions in the region. He cites the MD of Smoky River and Holy Family Catholic Regional Division as always being supportive.
His first big job was at the McLennan Hospital and Laboucan says he was grateful for that opportunity as they hired him through the entire project, from start to finish.
He also worked for Larry Lamoureux with the Town of McLennan and says that Lamoureux always treated him fairly, hiring him to plant trees and for bobcat work.
These days, Laboucan’s work often takes him to some areas north of Smoky River, such as Grimshaw, Peace River, and east to Red Earth, Keewatin Tribal Council Education, Lubicon Lake Band, Cadotte Lake Band, often being called to these locations to install chain link fences, a skill for which Laboucan is greatly in demand.
On “Darrel’s Bobcat Service,” receiving the MNA Region 5, Business of the Year Award, Laboucan says he must share the honour with his wife of thirty-five years, who has always stood by him.
He also said he would like “to take his hat off,” to Nora Chapdelaine for nominating him, how she has always been welcoming and friendly when he runs into her and that she is never “afraid to share strong Métis knowledge and speak her tongue.”
Laboucan praised the MNA’s new Regional Vice President, Dan Cardinal, for being very helpful in getting him to Edmonton for the awards.”
The Métis Nation of Alberta is comprised of six regional areas. Each area has a regional council consisting of a President and Vice-President and council members from within the region. The Region 5 Council is situated in Slave Lake.
The MNA’s mission is “to pursue the advancement of the socio-economic and cultural well-being of the Métis people of Alberta.”
MNC president shares concerns about self-government agreements signed in Ottawa: APTN News Interview
Published on Jul 2, 2019
The president of the Metis National Council has concerns with three self-government agreements signed in Ottawa, last week. The presidents of the Metis organizations in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta signed the agreements with Crown Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett on Thursday. For more, MNC President Clément Chartier joins host APTN National News Host Dennis Ward.
The presidents of the Metis organizations in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta signed the agreements with Crown Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett on Thursday.
For more, MNC President Clément Chartier joins host APTN National News Host Dennis Ward.
In an effort to gain some measure of relevance in the wake of the self-government agreements signed between three of the Metis Nation provincial affiliates and the Government of Canada, a group claiming to represent Metis people has declared that it will be signing the 7th modern "treaty" between their self-declared "nation" and another recently formed group in New Brunswick.
The group, calling itself the "Metis Nation of Canada" (or MNOC) states on its Facebook page that they are signing their 7th partnership treaty on July 12, 2019 with the Metis Nation of Saint-John, N.B. Self-declared Chiefs Karole Dumont and Albert Chaisson are inviting their "citizens" to join them at a yet undisclosed location to attend the signing.
The practice of newly formed groups claiming to represent mixed-blood people is a recent phenomenon that seems to have the purpose of trying to self-legitimize by recognizing each other, since their respective provinces and the federal government have not recognized their claims, despite numerous failed court cases and ignored requests to meet with the government. Further, most Metis people do not view them as being part of the Metis Nation itself. Just last fall, the Metis National Council signed a Memorandum of Agreement condemning these groups with the Mi'kmaq people of Nova Scotia.
Other newly formed groups claiming to represent metis people have signed similar treaties. The Metis Federation of Canada (MFC) - another unrecognized group claiming to represent all Metis people "from coast to coast to coast" - signed three treaties with other groups as publicity events to promote their cause.
Some of these groups even sign treaties with unrecognized groups in the United States, such as one newly formed group in Oregon, USA, who claims to represent any mixed-blooded persons who wants to enroll in their "nation". The Una Nation, formed by a single nuclear family and presided over by a self-styled “king”, claims that it is recognized as a legitimate nation on the basis of signing treaties with the Eastern Woodland Metis Nation Nova Scotia and the Metis Nation of Canada (MNOC). Most recently, this group offered US Senator Elizabeth Warren enrollment in their tribe based on her family story and DNA test showing she had a possible distant ancestor who was Indian.
The court ruling of the Powley case established a very concrete method with which to determine the validity of both what qualifies as a rights-bearing Métis community, and who is a rights-bearing Métis.
While Self-identification as a Métis person is one of the key parts of establishing Métis identity, that self-identification cannot exist in a vacuum. As mentioned in the Powley case, that Métis identity must also accompany an ancestral connection to a recognized historical community, and also to acceptance as a Métis by a modern community that is a living, thriving community that collectively descends from that historical community.
While many Canadians have a measure of indigenous ancestry that blends with their European heritage, the thing they often lack and which keeps them from claiming rights as a Métis under s35 of the Constitution is the lack of a connection to a rights-bearing community. While it’s possible to look back in the annals of history and potentially find that your ancestors were part of a historical community, the question is this: does your “Métis” community actually still exist as a community? The thing is that unless that historical community of mixed-blood people you descend from has maintained some form of collective identity, quasi-cohesive mutual interdependence, or has been understood by outsiders to stand apart (and together) as a separate, indigenous community/entity from mainstream society, from historic times until present day, it is very unlikely that your community exists or that it can be proven in a way that would meet S35, or that would ever be legally recognized by Canada.
Just finding evidence of a historic community that included mixed-blood people is not enough, because communities can scatter and the members can wind up in various towns and cities, becoming assimilated and absorbed into mainstream society, which is what happened to most (all?) of the historical mixed-blood populations in eastern Canada. Just because online genealogical research makes it easy to search your family tree back to the 1600s where you might errantly find a distant Indian great grandmother who had mixed-blood children, does not mean that you have a connection to a historical community. Even more so, if you live in suburbia, a city, or a small town surrounded by non-indigenous Canadians the chances are that you, your parents, and several generations before you also lived, worked, and married with other non-indigenous Canadians. Your connection to that historical community was severed hundreds of years ago and a contemporary community never actually existed.
Sure, you can do your genealogy and find an ancient connection to an Indian ancestor; of course can declare yourself "Métis"; and certainly you can join one of the hundreds of newly formed “Métis communities” that have sprung up across Canada (from coast to coast to coast, as one fake Métis organization likes to say) and pretend to part of a community; but at the end of the day it is a meaningless declaration that doesn't fly in the real world of courts and government.
You aren’t Métis.