From left: Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James

Louis Riel Day marks Métis status in B.C.

Supreme Court of Canada has declared Métis people to have he same constitutional rights as 'status Indians'

The province marked Nov. 16 as Louis Riel Day with the raising of the Métis flag at the B.C. legislature, and an expanded commitment to recognize Métis identity.

There are 70,000 people in B.C. recognized as Métis, and that number is growing as genealogy research identifies more people with mixed aboriginal and European ancestry.

“People are learning that they are Métis and it’s important that they learn what it means to be Métis,” said Clara Morin Dal Col, president Métis Nation B.C. at a ceremony at the legislature.

They have the same constitutional rights as aboriginal people, or “status Indians” as Canadian law still defines them, thanks to a judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in April 2016 known as the Daniels decision. The decision also recognizes “non-status Indians,” although it does not immediately confer the rights to programs and services available to “status Indians” on reserves across Canada.

Related: Métis Nation BC answers questions on taxes, hunting

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada does not yet have an estimate of how much the Daniels decision will cost to implement.

“We are studying the decision to determine next steps,” says a statement on the INAC website. “We will be working in genuine partnership with Métis and non-status Indians – based on recognition of rights, respect, and partnership – in order to meaningfully advance the work of reconciliation.”

B.C. Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad signed a new accord with Métis Nation B.C. representatives, updating one signed 10 years ago to set objectives to address health, housing, education, economic opportunities, Métis identification and data collection.

The updated accord includes children and families, justice and wildlife stewardship, areas where the province works with on-reserve aboriginal people, said Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Marc Dalton, who was named parliamentary secretary for Métis relations in October.

Dalton is Métis, as is Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James. Among those recently discovering their own Métis heritage is Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick.

Rustad said Métis people represent a third of the indigenous people in Canada.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Multi-vehicle crash shuts down eastbound lanes of Highway 1 at Annis Road in Chilliwack

Everyone asked to take detour at Annis Road and expect delays

First rainstorm of the season pelting the Lower Mainland

Batten down the hatches as heavy rains, wind, and some localized flooding possible

Atchelitz Threshermen’s big garage sale in Chilliwack goes ahead this weekend

The annual fundraiser for the association was delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Sprinkler system extinguishes fire in industrial building in Chilliwack

Progress Way building had only minor fire, smoke and water damage thanks to sprinkler system

UPDATE: Suspect who once killed a man in jail was arrested in Chilliwack after truck fire

Jordan Cole Burt was taken into RCMP custody while wanted on an outstanding warrant

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

Attorney General of Canada defends Kelowna Mountie involved in rough arrest

Tyler Russell filed a lawsuit against Const. Siggy Pietrzak in June of this year

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

Most Read