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Métis Nation of Alberta: A Letter to Métis Nation Citizens

Press Release

February 12th, 2020

Dear Métis Nation of Alberta Citizens,

I am writing to you because the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) has been receiving many questions and comments about recent statements and press releases issued in the name of the Métis National Council (MNC).

You should be aware that the MNC is now almost solely controlled by the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) with periodic appearances by MNC National President Clem Chartier (who claims to have “stepped aside”). The MNC Board of Governors have not met in over 14 months. The MNA currently has no input or advance notice in relation to MNC activities and announcements.

While the MNC exclusion of the majority of the Métis Nation Governments that mandate it is the new normal, the MNC’s recent statements on Métis Nation Identity, Citizenship and Homeland are particularly troubling and inaccurate. This letter and accompanying information is intended to directly address these issues.

I want Alberta Métis to know that others will not be allowed to make decisions or impose their positions on the democratic will of the Métis Nation within Alberta. The MNA is your Métis Nation government here in Alberta. Your ancestors built our government: community meeting by community meeting; assembly by assembly; election by election.

Today, the MNA has the largest and most credible Métis Nation Registry within Canada with over 42,000 registered citizens, and those numbers continue to grow weekly. In July 2019, we signed our Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement (MGRSA) with Canada that provided us with immediate recognition of our right to self-government here in Alberta. The MGRSA also sets out a clear process to finally have our self-government recognized on our own terms.

Self-determination and self-government has always been our goal for the Métis Nation within Alberta, and MGRSA recognizes this right and sets out a path for us to get there. For generations, our assemblies have called for us to develop our own Constitution instead of continuing to rely on corporate bylaws. We now have even more of a reason to finally get this done.

Ultimately, our Constitution will be developed following extensive consultation with our citizens. It will then be adopted by a province-wide referendum where all of our citizens will have the opportunity to vote on it, not just a select few. All of our citizens will get to decide our collective future, not just 55 people meeting at a MNC meeting. Unlike others, I am not afraid of letting all of our citizens having their voices heard.

In the coming weeks and months, there will be MNC organized meetings where some unelected and hand-picked individuals, including those who have created unaccountable “Métis Community Associations” will say they speak for the Métis Nation within Alberta and our 42,000+ citizens. They do not. Every four years, we, as MNA citizens, hold democratic elections. This holds the MNA accountable as your government. Every year, we, as MNA citizens, gather at our assembly. This holds the MNA accountable as your government.

This small number of self-interested Métis individuals, encouraged, and likely, financially supported by the MNC, are accountable to no one. Some have or are trying to transfer land and assets from MNA Locals to their own personal control through “Métis Community Associations.” These individuals are also being used by the MNC in an attempt to derail and delay our self-government negotiations here in Alberta, since we are now further ahead on these talks than other MNC Governing Members.

This ongoing MNC campaign of misinformation cannot be left unaddressed, so I am responding to the falsehoods in its statements and press releases – in detail – in the attached fact sheet. In the upcoming months, I will not be engaging in a back-and-forth through dueling press release and media statements, but I will continue to communicate with those who I am accountable to: Métis Nation citizens here in Alberta.

Let me be clear: our goal remains self-determination for the Métis Nation within Alberta based on a Constitution that is developed by, and approved through a province-wide referendum of our citizens. We will not let other governments, including other Métis Nation governments or the MNC, get in the way of what our ancestors and citizens – here in Alberta – have fought for and sought for generations.

By working together and staying united, we can achieve the MNA’s long-standing goal: building a strong Métis Nation based on Métis rights!

Yours very truly,

Audrey Poitras
MNA President

Download the full letter and fact sheet package.

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