Developed by Marcel Guay. Revised by Nicole Wegner, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan; Rebecca Major, Department of Political Studies, University of Saskatchewan and Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Area Representative.
The first part of this module addresses identity issues in Métis history. Defining the Métis People has been a long process which has fluctuated from including all so-called “mixed blood” Aboriginals to narrow definitions of the Métis as being only descendants of the Red River Colonies in the mid-1800s. This module will introduce historical and modern identity and political issues affecting Métis groups to show the unique political challenges that Métis People have endured.
The second half of the module will focus on Métis political organization in Saskatchewan. Recent reorganizations of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) have been based on the Métis Act 2002 and governance structures laid out in the Act. The Métis People have had a modern Constitution since the 1980’s and have organized themselves to run social and business programming with federal Canadian government funding and provincial funding. These programs have set up special housing, work, training and education programs to benefit the Métis People and have also been the source of Métis business and corporate development in the province. Larger organizations include women’s groups and national lobby groups, which represent the special Aboriginal rights of the Métis People to the federal and provincial governments.
The module will conclude with a discussion of recent issues faced by the MN-S and ongoing solutions to address these governance challenges.
Self Test and Answers
Quiz yourself by writing down responses to each of these questions below. When finished, click each question to reveal the suggested answer. Doing the Self-Test in this way will help you prepare for the Midterms and Final Exam.
Daniels v. Canada 2016: A Supreme Court of Canada ruling that established Métis and non-status Indians should be considered “Indians” as the term is used in s. 91 (24) of the Constitution Act, 1867
Southern Inuit (Newfoundland and Labrador): Southern Inuit, distinct from the Inuit and Innu communities, are descendants of Europeans and Indigenous groups in Labrador. They are represented by the NunatuKavut Community Council and are attempting to have their Aboriginal status recognized by provincial and federal governments in Canada (Heritage Newfoundland).
Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S): The provincial governing and regulating body made of members who self-identify as Métis and are culturally accepted through local or regional councils as members of the Métis community.
Métis Act 2002: Sets out the constitutional structure and recognition of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Inc. and the processes for cooperation of this body with the provincial government.
R. v. Powley: A 2003 Supreme Court case that set precedent for Métis hunting rights to be recognized as legitimate Aboriginal hunting rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act. It also provides a set of guidelines to help determine who can legally be a claimant to section 35 rights as a Métis person.
Section 91 (24) Constitution Act 1867: Stipulates that the federal government has exclusive legislative authority over “Indians and lands reserved for Indians”. This constitutional authority does not translate into a legal duty to act.
Anderson, Chris. “I’m Metis, What’s your excuse?”: On the optics and the Ethics of the Misrecognition of Metis in Canada. Aboriginal policy studies. Vol 1 (2) 2011, pp. 161-165.
Chartrand, Paul A.H. (ed.) (2002). Who are Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples? Saskatoon, SK: Purich Publishing.
Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. “Métis and Non-Status Indians”. Available online at http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100014271/1100100014275 (last retrieved Jan. 01, 2014)
Métis Electoral Consultation Panel. (2006). Métis Governance in Saskatchewan for the 21st Century: Views and Visions of the Métis People, A Report Prepared by the Métis Electoral Consultation Panel, submitted to the Saskatchewan Minister of First Nations and Métis Relations, 2006, Appendix 4.3: Constitution of the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan pp 197-208. The entire report is available online at http://epub.sub.uni-hamburg.de/epub/volltexte/2012/15312/pdf/ElectoralConsultRpt.pdf
Métis Nation of Alberta. “Who are the Métis?” Available online at http://www.albertametis.com/MNAHome/MNA2/MNA-Who2.aspx
Newfoundland Heritage. “Aboriginal Peoples.” Available online at: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/aboriginal/aboriginal-peoples-introduction.php
Peterson, Jacqueline and Jennifer S.H. Brown. (1985). The New Peoples, Being and Becoming Métis in North America. Winnipeg, MB: The University of Manitoba Press.
Supreme Court of Canada. (2016). Daniels v. Canada. Available: https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/15858/index.do
Sprague, D.N. (1988). Canada and the Métis 1869-1885. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier Press.
Statistics Canada. (2011). “Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis, and Inuit. Available online at http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/as-sa/99-011-x/99-011-x2011001-eng.cfm#a4
Gabriel Dumont Institute of Native Studies and Applied Research. “The Métis Museum.” Available at: http://www.metismuseum.ca/
The Métis National Council. Available at: http://www.metisnation.ca/
Métis Culture & Heritage Resource Centre Inc. (MCHRC) http://www.metisresourcecentre.mb.ca/
The Métis Nation-Saskatchewan. Available at: http://metisnationsk.com/
Marcel Guay. The Métis. [PDF in BlackBoard]
Marcel Guay. Who Are the Métis? [PDF in BlackBoard]
Marcel Guay. Métis Groups. [PDF in BlackBoard]
Janique Dubois and Kelly Saunders. “Rebuilding Indigenous nations through constitutional development: a case study of the Metis in Canada” Nations and Nationalism 23 (4) 2017, 878-901. Available at https://library.usask.ca/scripts/remote?URL=https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/nana.12312