Métis Lands - Métis Rights - History on Trial
WINNIPEG, MB, April 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Métis National Council President
Clément Chartier and Manitoba Métis Federation President David Chartrand were
among a large group of Métis to promenade to the Manitoba Law Courts today to
witness History on Trial.
Despite a cold prairie breeze, several hundred Métis gathered at the
Louis Riel statue behind the Manitoba Legislature before walking the four
blocks to the courthouse for the start of a historic Land Claim trial.
MMF v. Canada has been bogged down in legal wrangling for 25 years but
finally, the case began. More than 2000 historic documents form the foundation
and basis for the trial. During the next three months, the evidence will focus
on broken promises made by Manitoba and the Government of Canada. Sections 31
and 32 of the Manitoba Act of 1870, included among other things, protection
and a 1.4 million acres of land for the Métis.
Métis National Council President Clément Chartier said in an interview
with CBC News World, "The treaty of 1870 signed under Section 31 was a promise
of land for Métis. But that commitment was never fulfilled. It's now up to the
courts to right this long outstanding injustice."
The case will not be easily decided. It's fully expected, no matter the
outcome of MMF v. Canada that it will likely be left up to the Supreme Court
of Canada to make the final decision.
Although, it could take a decade to reach a settlement, no matter how
many more years, President Chartier is confident history will be proven and
justice will rule on the side of the Métis Nation.
Today's march to the Manitoba Law Courts followed a weekend conference
hosted by the Métis National Council. The theme was Métis Lands - Métis Rights
and featured a panel discussion outlining the details of the trial, along with
a special evening honouring Métis Veterans. And the Métis Nations highest
award, the Order of the Métis Nation was presented to retired MMF President
John Morrisseau also played a pivitol role in launching the lawsuit.
The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and
international level. The Métis Nation's homeland includes the three Prairie
provinces and extends into Ontario and British Columbia, parts of the
Northwest Territories and northern United States. There are approximately
350,000 - 400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada. Métis represent
approximately 30% of the total Aboriginal population in Canada, according to
/For further information: Robert McDonald, Director of Public and Media
Relations, Cell: (613) 295-9298, www.metisnation.ca/