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 The Métis, Bois Boule, Half-breeds or Katipayimsosik were from the Battle of Seven Oaks in 1816 to the 1885 North West Rebellion, Princes of the Plains. Nothing happened on its vast expanse without some involvement of these proud and noble people. From the formation of the province of Manitoba to the signing of the Treaties by First Nations, the Métis were an integral part of the western plains. They were the mediators between the white fur traders and the plains Indians, having a stokehold in both cultures. This was the time in history for the Métis people, a time when Métis nationalism came to the forefront in the history of the Western Canada. They were the free traders; the Courier de Bois, buffalo hunters and negotiators

            The results of the negotiations were the Manitoba Act, passed by Parliament on July 12, 1870 and to take effect July 15. Although some of the Métis grievances were dealt with entry into Canada. It did not grant amnesty for individuals who involved with creation of the new province, consequently Riel and followers had to flee into the United States and would have to live the rest of his in fear of assassination. The Manitoba Act granted the Métis, 1,4000,000 acres of land where they could live. But this law was not abided by and it has been over 130 years of dealing with the government of Canada that have this legislation recognized. The Métis were abused and persecuted in the newly formed Province of Manitoba, many left further west where they could maintain their way of life.

            The Canadian Government had no intention of living up to its end of the bargain. They sent Colonel Wolseley with 1200 soldiers embarked on a campaign of violence. Racism became an everyday occurrence, the need for land and the vanishing buffalo lead a massive westward migration of the Métis the new frontiers were they could live their lives as they once had. In 1870 the population of Manitoba was 12,000 of whom 10,000 were mixed bloods and 6,000 French speaking the remained being English speaking Half-breeds. In 1885 less than 12% of the population was of mix heritage. With the exception of John Norquay an English speaking Half-breed became Premier of Manitoba in 1876.They were treated as second class citizens in the province which they helped to create. The Métis would never again dominant in their first homeland.

            A great migration took place which saw many of the Métis move from the new Province of Manitoba to places such as St. Laurent, Wood Mountain, Cypress Hills, Willow Bunch, Lewistown and other places that were traditionally places the Métis had visited in their travels. It was in isolated pockets of Western Canada and the United States that the Métis thought that they could live out there live as they always had.

            It was not long though before many of the Métis living in St Laurent experience the same problems they had faced in Manitoba. They would have to take action, in 1884 lead by Gabriel Dumont and a contingent of four Métis went to Montana to plead their case to Louis Riel who was living in exile. They convinced him to return with them and send petitions to Ottawa. At this time the Métis wanted recognition of their rights to the land, which they now have been occupying for some time and wanted to retain title to it. Many petitions were sent to Ottawa and were heard by deaf ears. So began the Riel Rebellion that left the Métis people destitute and homeless, wanting justice where there was none to be found.

 

The  Métis Constitution

This Article of Paper, by which the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan Governs it's affairs is the very form of government that our ancestors fought and died to protect us against.

Métis Constitution link

 

 The members of the Métis Nation should consider the following:

            Whereas the Canadian Constitution recognizes god as being supreme, thereby recognizing Natural Law.  We are born as individuals and live our lives as a individual in the eyes of god and the world, therefore all our rights are individual rights. As with individual rights comes the responsibility for everyone to be part of the negotiations process. With the supreme court decision of Daniels vs. Canada, we all have the right to determine our future within Canada. We also have to be weary of the fact that the Canadian Judicial system is filled with words of misdirection and double meanings.

            With the existing parameters and the various Métis Nations, who are organized by regions such as provincial boundaries (i.e. Métis Nation - Saskatchewan, Métis Nation of Alberta). This use of names and jurisdictions, are a recognition of conquering nation and the subjection of the Métis, that don’t apply to the Métis if we so chose. In order for Métis to be truly a Nation, they have to take ownership upon themselves.  They have use representation by traditional gathering areas or by Clans. Otherwise we will always be subjugated under the auspices of the government of Canada and will never have true Nation Status.

            As a Nation that has never had any of the Indigenous rights to hunt, fish, gather self govern or any other rights negotiated with the crown. We have the right to enter into treaty negations and have this dealt with and a fair and just manner. We have to seek justice for 150 years of tyranny and compensation for unjust acts against a people, who were used a scapegoat for the formation of the country of Canada.

            Potentially, we can have a land and economic base from which we can attain true nationhood status. Thereby enriching the lives of many that have been second class people in nation that overlooked there responsibility and neglected their obligations.

We can be like the Tsilhqot’in Nation and have a jurisdiction of our own. In 2015 the 8-0 ruling confirmed that the Tsilhqot'in had title to a 1,750 square kilometers region which the band had historically occupied. The province of British Columbia can no longer claim a right to clear-cut logging on these lands without approval from the Tsilhqot'in. This is a precedent in the courts of Canada, with Rule of Law this can be used to achieve the true Métis Nationhood.

Kelly Parker

 

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