Métis Nation of Ontario

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Métis Nation of Ontario is an aboriginal organization for the Métis population in Ontario.

Founding and Prime Purpose[edit]

Prior to Canada’s crystallization as a nation, a new Aboriginal people emerged from the relations of Indian women and European men. While the initial offspring of these Indian and European unions were individuals who simply possessed mixed ancestry, subsequent intermarriages between these mixed ancestry children resulted in the genesis of a new Aboriginal people with a distinct identity, culture and consciousness in west central North America – the Métis Nation.

This Métis people were connected through the highly mobile fur trade network, seasonal rounds, extensive kinship connections and a collective identity (i.e., common culture, language, way of life, etc.). Distinct Métis settlements emerged throughout what was then called “the Northwest”. In Ontario, historic Métis settlements emerged along the rivers and watersheds of the province, surrounding the Great Lakes and throughout to the northwest of the province. These settlements formed regional Metis communities in Ontario that are an indivisible part of the Metis Nation.

In 1993, the Métis Nation of Ontario (“MNO”) was established through the will of Métis people and Métis communities coming together throughout Ontario to create a Métis-specific governance structure. Prior to 1993, Métis had been involved in pan-Aboriginal lobby groups and organizations. The MNO was not created to represent all individuals and communities that claim to be Métis, but those individuals and communities that are a part of the Métis Nation.

At its original meetings, Métis representatives from communities throughout the province set out the foundational vision for the MNO. This vision is encapsulated in the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose. The statement is a seminal document for the MNO and it sets out why the MNO was formed, who MNO represents, and what the MNO wants to achieve. The statement has been central to the MNO’s success over the last 18 years.

The statement also affirms that the MNO was created to represent Métis people and communities in Ontario that are a part of the Métis Nation. Specifically, the document states,

“We, the Métis are a people of the lands which gave rise to our history and tradition and culture. We call these lands the Métis Homelands. The Homelands stretch from the lakes and rivers of Ontario; cross the wide prairies; traverse the mountains into British Columbia and into the far reaches of the Northwest Territories. They include the hills and valleys of the north-central American States. These are our lands. They are Métis lands. They are the lands of our past which nurture us today and which we value as the precious foundation of our future.”

Some of the goals set out in the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose include:Creating a Métis-specific governance structure for the implementation of the nation’s inherent right to self-government in the province; Establishing a credible and recognized identification system for Métis people within the province; Focusing on ‘nation building’ through working together as a collective in order to support Métis citizens and communities;Pursuing a rights-based agenda and proudly asserting the Métis existence as a distinct Aboriginal people within Ontario; Protecting and preserving the distinct culture and heritage of the Métis Nation in the province; and,Improving the social and economic well-being of Métis children, families and communities throughout the province.

Today, based on the pursuit of the abovementioned vision and principles, MNO has built an impressive province-wide governance structure which includes: an objectively verifiable, centralized registry of over 15,000 Métis citizens; approximately 29 Chartered Community Councils across the province which represent Métis citizens at the local level; a provincial governing body that is elected by ballot box every four years; an Annual General Assembly where regional and provincial Métis leaders are required to report back to Métis citizens yearly between elections; a charitable foundation which promotes and support Métis culture and heritage (Metis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission); and, an economic development arm (Metis Nation of Ontario Development Corporation).

In addition, the MNO has built an accountable, results-based provincial delivery structure to meet the socio-economic needs of its citizens and communities. Currently, the MNO delivers programs and services to its citizens through these branches: Health and Wellness; Education and Training; Housing; Lands, Resources and Consultation; Economic Development. Through these various branches, the MNO maintains 30+ service delivery access points across the province, administers over $20 million annually, and, employs over 150 employees across the province.

Governing Structure[edit]

Founded in the early 1990s, by the will of Ontario Métis, the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) represents the collective aspirations, rights and interests of Métis people and communities throughout Ontario. The MNO has a democratic, province-wide governance structure. Every four years Métis citizens have the opportunity to choose their provincial and regional leadership, by voting in province-wide ballot box elections.

In addition, Community Councils have been established throughout the province. They get their mandate to support local governance from the MNO through signed Community Charter agreements, and work collaboratively with the MNO and other Community Councils to represent the rights and interests of regional rights-bearing Métis communities throughout the province.

As the only recognized provincial Métis governance structure in Ontario, the MNO has advanced the Métis rights agenda through the precedent setting Powley case. The MNO has established bilateral and tripartite processes with the federal and provincial governments and in November, 2008 signed an Ontario-Métis Nation Framework Agreement with the Government of Ontario. The MNO also has a negotiated accommodation agreement with the provincial government on Métis harvesting rights.

The MNO, through its province-wide infrastructure delivers a range of programs and services in the areas of health, labour market development, education and housing, to approximately 73,000 Ontario Métis and other Aboriginal groups. More than 150 people work for the MNO in 19 offices throughout the province.

PCMNO[edit]

The Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) takes its direction from and is required to report to its Citizens or Citizen representatives at Annual General Assemblies. The PCMNO is composed of a five member Executive, nine Regional Councillors, four Senators, a Youth representative and a post-secondary representative. Women’s interests are represented by the Vice-Chair. The members of the PCMNO are elected through democratic ballot box elections and represent members of the Métis community across the province.

The role of the PCMNO is to assist in the decision-making process and determine priorities for the future. With province wide representation, the PCMNO offers a forum for debate and deliberation that helps to ensure the MNO will continue to grow as a unified nation of Métis people.

Executive[edit]

  • Gary Lipinski, President
  • France Picotte, Chair
  • Sharon McBride, Vice-Chair
  • Tim Pile, Secretary-Treasurer

Senators[edit]

  • Reta Gordon, Executive Senator
  • Rene Gravelle, Senator
  • Verna Brunelle, Senator
  • Joseph Poitras, Senator

Regional Councillors[edit]

  • Theresa Stenlund, Councillor - Region 1
  • Cam Burgess, Councillor – Region 2
  • Marcel Lafrance, Councillor – Region 3
  • Ernest Gatien, Councillor - Region 4
  • Juliette Denis, Councillor - Region 5
  • Tom Thompson Jr., Councillor – Region 6
  • Pauline Saulnier, Councillor - Region 7
  • Anita Tucker, Councillor - Region 8
  • Peter Rivers, Councillor - Region 9

Representatives[edit]

  • Jennifer Henry, Post-secondary Representative
  • Mitchell Case, Youth Representative

Senators[edit]

Senators have a special place in Métis culture, the Métis Nation of Ontario and in its governance structure. Highly respected for their knowledge, values, and experience.

Senators provide an elder’s presence at community events and meetings, and they help to keep Métis culture alive by sharing Métis traditions and ways of life. One Senator sits as a member of each Community Council and a total of four Senators, including one Executive Senator, sit on the PCMNO.

The Women's Secretariat of the Métis Nation of Ontario (WSMNO)[edit]

The Women’s Secretariat of the Métis Nation in Ontario (WSMNO) is composed of Métis women from Ontario who are committed to promoting women’s issues and advocating on their behalf within the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) community. The WSMNO also advises the PCMNO on matters pertaining to women and works with community councils, Aboriginal boards, government bodies and women’s groups to assist Métis people with issues of concern specific to women. This work includes policy development and review, coordination, consultation and education. The main goal of the WSMNO is to encourage the full participation of all women within the MNO in helping to build a strong and healthy nation.

The Women's Secretariat of the MNO works with the Women of the Métis Nation

MNO Veterans[edit]

Established in 2001 at the direction of the MNO at their Annual General Meeting, the Veteran’s Council (MNOVC) represents the interests of Métis veterans within the MNO’s governance structure. MNOVC’s concerns and issues are brought to the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) by the Regional Councillor and Senators who sit on the PCMNO

Métis Nation of Ontario Youth Council (MNOYC)[edit]

The mandate of the Métis Nation of Ontario Youth Council (MNOYC) is to identify issues affecting Métis youth and to work with the MNO to ensure these issues are addressed. The MNOYC representatives are elected in province-wide elections held every three years.

The MNOYC President also sits on the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO). Members of the MNOYC take part in meetings across the province, including the MNO’s Annual General Assembly, and often attend national conferences, such as the National Métis Youth Role Model Conference. The MNOYC representatives also sit on the Métis National Advisory Council.

This enables Métis youth in Ontario to raise issues at a national level. Each MNO Community Council has a position for a local Youth Representative who promotes youth initiatives, works directly with the MNOYC and represents the voice of Métis youth in his or her area.

The Métis Nation of Ontario Development Corporation[edit]

The Métis Nation of Ontario Development Corporation (MNODC) is incorporated in the Province of Ontario as a “for profit” corporation. The Métis Nation of Ontario is the Corporation’s only shareholder. The MNODC pursues economic opportunities that will benefit all MNO citizens and is uniquely positioned to develop opportunities that reflect the MNO’s philosophy of environmentally sound projects.

The Métis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission[edit]

The Métis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission (MNOCC) is a not-for-profit corporation created to preserve and promote Métis history, values, traditions and pride in Métis arts, culture and heritage.

A registered charity, the Commission can issue tax receiprs for contributions that support its objectives. The nine member Board of Directors is appointed by the PCMNO, following a call for Directors to all MNO Citizens. MNO’s Chief Operating Officer sits as an Ex-Officio member.

MNO Chartered Community Councils[edit]

Métis citizens are the heart and soul of the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and are represented at the local level through MNO Charter Community Councils. The Councils are the cornerstone of a strong foundation for the MNO in its push toward its inherent right to self-government. The local Councils are an important communication hub for MNO and play a significant role in fostering community empowerment and development for Métis citizens living within the geographic territory of that council.

Community Councils operate in accordance with MNO Charter Agreements, which give councils the mandate to govern, while ensuring accountability, transparency, and consistency. The Charter Agreements along with the Community Code and Community Electoral Code are the policy documents Community Councils refer to when holding mandatory community elections. The documents also outline the rules and regulations for conducting council business, and for ensuring accountability through good fiscal management.

The number of Métis Charter Communities in the province continues to grow. The Community Relations arm of the Lands, Resources and Consultation Branch is actively engaged in the work of the Councils and helps to ensure they have the resources and expertise they need to fulfill their mandate. The interests of the Community Councils are represented at the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (PCMNO) through one of nine Regional Councillors.

List of Active Community Councils[edit]

It is affiliated with the Métis National Council.

Further reading[edit]

  • Barkwell, Lawrence J., Leah Dorion, and Audreen Hourie. Métis legacy Michif culture, heritage, and folkways. Métis legacy series, v. 2. Saskatoon: Gabriel Dumont Institute, 2006. ISBN 0-920915-80-9
  • Ontario. Ontario First Nation, Metis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework Delivering Quality Education to Aboriginal Students in Ontario's Provincially Funded Schools. Toronto, ON: Ministry of Education, Aboriginal Education Office, 2007.
  • Ontario Métis and Non-status Indian Association. The Art Issue. Willowdale: Ontario Métis and Non-Status Indian Association], 1981.
  • Peters, Evelyn J., Mark Rosenberg, and Greg Halseth. The Ontario Métis Characteristics and Identity. Winnipeg, Man: Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg, 1991. ISBN 0-920213-53-7

External links[edit]