Submitted by Christopher Yates
Director of the West Kootenay Métis Society
The West Kootenay Métis Society board and part of a growing movement of Metis citizens feel compelled to inform our broader community of the events that led up to the Jan. 18 removal of our elected Métis Nation B.C. President and the ongoing consequences within the nation.
A few months ago, nine Board Directors staged a coup and removed our elected President, Clara Morin Dal Col. This after they failed in their attempt to force her to rescind her principled stand upholding the suspension of one of the governing members of the Metis National Council (MNC), Métis Nation Ontario (MNO).
MNO was placed on probation in 2018 over longstanding concerns with their citizenship registry and after they unilaterally declared six new historic Metis communities in Ontario. Only one of these communities, Rainy River, has a connection to the historic Metis Nation. After MNO failed to submit to an audit of their registry, they were placed on suspension in 2019.
Rescinding MNO’s suspension would endanger every Métis Citizen’s section 35 rights and our Nationhood. Rescinding MNO’s suspension would uphold a registry that bestows citizenship on individuals with no connection to the historic Metis Nation.
President Morin Dal Col refused to rescind and so, a week later nine Directors suspended her. Through these actions, the nine Directors have breached their oaths of office and fiduciary duty. One Director even openly declared war against a community President and our citizens.
It seems too, that like MNBC and MNO, two other governing members of the Metis National Council (MNC), Métis Nation Alberta (MNA) and Métis Nation Saskatchewan (MN-S) have issues. At this point, the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) is the only one of our governing members who has their house in order. At a recent citizen forum hosted by the Metis National Council, we heard from citizens in Saskatchewan and Alberta how the leadership of MNA and MN-S created the Tri-Council with no mandate from their citizens and outside of the MNC. In B.C. we have nine Directors who have not consulted with nor listened to the citizens in any of their decisions. It seems an even larger coup is happening across the Metis Nation homeland, at the level of the MNC.
To take over the MNC means the opportunity to change our National Definition and with it, the very essence of who we are as a distinct rights- bearing People and as citizens of the Métis Nation.
It might even turn the MNC into a pan-Indigenous organization and take us back to a time when our People and our interests were silenced in the pan- Indigenous Congress of Aboriginal People (CAP) in 1983.
Remember it was under the leadership of now MNC President Clément Chartier and others that the People of the Métis Nation left CAP and started the MNC to properly protect our interests at the Constitutional talks.
The main issues I see in B.C., MNO, MNA, and MN-S is the silencing of the grassroots – our citizens and communities – by the unilateral decision making of recently elected leaders.
Now is our time to rise up, speak boldly, and be heard. Now is our time to ensure our rights and those of our children and all future generations are protected against all who would knowingly or unknowingly do harm to our Métis Nation.
If you were not able to take part in the MNC Citizen’s Forum, March 20 and 21, we encourage all to watch and share with your community. If you need further information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kanaskimotin / Maarsii
Original Article: https://www.columbiavalleypioneer.com/author/columbia-valley-pioneer/