Comprehensive Metis Policy Will Strengthen Partnership Through Greater
Recognition, Capacity, Accountability: Robinson, Chartrand
One hundred and twenty-five years after the Northwest Resistance and the
death of Louis Riel, Premier Greg Selinger today unveiled a permanent
display of historical documents and photographs that pay tribute to the
central role of the Métis in the political and social history of Manitoba.
Selinger said the ceremony marked an important step toward appropriate
recognition of the contributions of the Métis in the creation of Manitoba.
This recognition is a key principle of a new provincial Métis policy,
announced today by Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Minister Eric Robinson,
intended to address persistent disparities between Métis and non-Métis
"Manitoba, as we know it, would not exist without the fundamental
contributions of the Métis," said Selinger. "Working with Métis people to
close gaps in the historical record will help us move forward in our
commitment to close gaps of opportunity that persist to this day."
Developed jointly by the Government of Manitoba and the Manitoba Metis
Federation in consultation with the Métis people, the Manitoba Métis Policy
Framework consists of four strategic goals:
· enhancing Métis participation in the provincial decision-making
· promoting better understanding of Métis history and culture for all
· applying a distinctions-based approach that respects the unique roles
of Métis people past and present, and
· improving relationships between the province and all organizations
representing Métis interests.
"Given that 2010 is recognized across the homeland as Year of the Métis, it
is very timely that we make this announcement. I am very pleased by the
province's forward-thinking approach in establishing a Métis policy and I
commend Premier Selinger for his leadership throughout this process," said
David Chartrand, president, Manitoba Metis Federation. "This historic
government-to-government relationship will ensure that the Métis of Manitoba
will be a full partner in future socio-economic opportunities and provide
much needed direction for future decision-making. It's a positive first
step that will benefit not only the Métis but all Manitobans as well."
The historical documents and photographs unveiled today include the original
sessional journal of the legislative assembly of Assiniboia and a portrait
of its members. This missing link between the Comité National des Métis and
Convention of Forty, commonly known as Louis Riel's provisional government,
and the legislative assembly of Manitoba, was discovered and interpreted by
a team of researchers in the summer of 2010, the Year of the Métis.
The records show the legislative assembly of Assiniboia was formed during
the Red River Resistance and ratified the Manitoba Act in June of 1870,
allowing Manitoba's entry into Confederation. In making the transition from
martial law to representative democracy in a period of months, and
ultimately negotiating terms acceptable to the Red River settlers it
represented, the assembly is a unique political body in Canadian history.
The display will be permanently located near the member's gallery at the
Manitoba Legislative Building that includes portraits of every member of the
legislative assembly of Manitoba since 1871.
"Today is an important step on the path of truth and reconciliation," said
Robinson. "In the spirit of the commission that bears the name, today's
events remind us all of our responsibility to teach our children the real
history of this land. This recognition is essential as we begin writing a
new chapter under the policy announced today."
Robinson noted the new Métis policy builds on recent progress including a
new $10-million Métis Economic Development Fund designed to stimulate the
economic development activities of the Métis people of Manitoba by providing
better access to equity and capital for Métis-controlled businesses.