2.1.3 Indigenous People of Canada: Métis

The Métis emerged as a distinct people/nation in the 18th and 19th centuries. The “historic Métis Nation Homeland,” includes the three Prairie Provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States.1

The Métis National Council (MNC) adopted the following definition of “Métis” in 2002:1
“Métis” means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and is accepted by the Métis Nation.”

In 2003, Métis were confirmed as a rights-bearing Indigenous people by the Supreme Court of Canada through judgement in R. v. Powley.1 This judgement set out the following components of a Métis definition for the purpose of claiming Indigenous rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982:1
• Self-identification as a member of a Métis community.
• Ancestral connection to the historic Métis community whose practices ground the right in question
• Acceptance by the modern community with continuity to the historic Métis community.

Through the Métis Nation Protocol signed by the Government of Canada and the MNC in 2008, Métis representative bodies are pursuing greater capacity in the form of legal authorities and guaranteed, predictable financing that will enable them to fulfill the democratic mandate they have received from their citizens, their extensive responsibilities for delivering important programs and services, and their goal of implementing the Métis Nation’s inherent right to self-government within the Canadian federation.1

1Métis National Council websiteaccessed March 3, 2017.

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