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

39 caught speeding through Cowichan school zones

On June 1, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP conducted speed enforcement in several school zones

Lake Cowichan firefighters douse blaze at Mayo Road

Sahtlam called in for mutual aid in abandoned shop and motorhome

Caps send Luciano Wilson to Penticton Vees

Hometown hero led Cowichan in scoring last season

Considerations made to keep Crofton drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

$10,000 stolen bikes recovered after Maple Bay break-in

Police track high-end bikes to storage locker

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read