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

Fire Chefs give back to community with one free meal a day to those who are in need

Fire Chefs will offer one free meal from 3:30 until 4:30 on the days they are open to those in need.

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

North Island community groups are adapting due to COVID-19

‘The coronavirus and its effects make this a challenging time for us all’

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Most Read