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Manitoba Métis Federation withdraws from Métis National Council

The Manitoba Métis Federation has withdrawn from the Métis National Council. In a letter sent Tuesday, MMF president David Chartrand informed MNC president Clément Chartier that the national council has “abandoned” the Manitoba leadership and “the true Métis nation” by allowing provincial Métis leaders to welcome members who Chartrand claims are not Métis. He cited them "selling out our Nation for political gain."

“We at the MMF have long been the wall protecting our Nation from eastern invasion,” Chartrand writes, “and never expected to be attacked from the west — from those who one would expect better.”

One big issue Chartrand has noted for years is action against the Métis Nation of Ontario for registering “thousands” of members who self-identify as Métis. "People outside of our Nation might try to steal our heritage but this is cultural misappropriation; indeed, it is Metis Nation identity theft," Chartrand wrote.

Métis people are typically defined as Canadians with mixed indigenous and European ancestry originating from the Red River Valley in Manitoba and the surrounding Prairies. However, parts of Ontario, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories are also home to Métis nations as defined by the national council.

Chartrand—a former vice-president for the national council—also cited the provincial Métis councils in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia as having allowed the registration of alleged non-Métis members in Ontario; a key decision that led to his move to withdraw from the national council.

“MNO’s action and the inaction of (other council leaders) undermines our citizenship, distorts our identity, and weakens our Nation,” he wrote.

Back in November 2018, Chartrand brought these concerns to a general assembly and a resolution was passed, placing Ontario’s Metis group on probation and calling for an external committee to review its membership registry. But the Ontario nation has refused to allow it, citing privacy concerns. Since then, the Metis National Council has issued proclamations saying Ontario has been suspended from the national body.

"It will always be known that Riel's people - the Red River Metis - continued to pursue our rightful place in Confederation as one of the founders and builders of this great country...our heads will always be held high as we walk our path into our Metis Nation's future. Unfortunately, it is now clear that this cannot be done as part of the Metis National Council," Chartrand concluded.

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