Tag Archives: Metis

‘We want to be owners’: Fort McMurray First Nations and Métis unite on pipelines

The Fort McMurray regions’s 10 First Nations and Métis community say they want to be pipeline owners. (Terray Sylvester/Reuters)

‘Let’s move on and let’s start building a pipeline and start moving the oil’

First Nations and Métis communities in the Fort McMurray region are expressing interest in becoming business partners in the pipeline industry.

The indigenous communities want to either buy a stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline or partner and build another future line.

“We want to be owners of a pipeline,” Allan Adam, chief of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, said in an interview. “We think that a pipeline is a critical component to the oil and gas sector, especially in this region.”

“If Fort McMurray and Alberta are going to survive, the Athabasca Tribal Council has to be alongside.”

Adam, a board member with the Athabasca Tribal Council, an umbrella organization that represents the regions’s five First Nations, admitted, the details still need to be worked out.

Ron Quintal, president of the Athabasca River Métis, the organization that represents five Métis communities in the region, confirms it too is on board with the proposal.

But, Quintal said, he expects they would need backers to help guarantee loans to help fund the multi-billion dollar project.

Tired of fighting oil companies

The announcement happened on the heels of the groups’s meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the basement of a Fort McMurray hotel on Friday.

Participants say it was the first time region’s Cree, Dene and Métis communities met together with the head of the federal government. Typically such high level meetings don’t take place together.

Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, says the Fort McMurray region’s First Nation and Métis communities back pipelines and they want to own one. (The Canadian Press)

Also in the background is the uncertainty over the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion which would ship bitumen from Alberta to the B.C. coast.

On Sunday, Kinder Morgan announced it will halt “non-essential activities” and related spending on the project and set a May 31 deadline to decide whether the project will proceed. The company declined to comment for this story.

Premier Rachel Notley said the May deadline is a serious concern and suggested Alberta may become a co-owner in the pipeline’s construction.

The announcement from Adam is a change in position for the chief who is no stranger to pipeline opposition. The chief has posed with celebrities and activists critical of the oilsands’ environmental legacy.

Most recently, Adam was pictured with Hollywood actress Jane Fonda who described the oilsands on a 2016 trip to Fort McMurray as if “someone took my skin and peeled it off my body over a very large surface.”

Adam denied he was ever anti-pipeline or against the oilsands, rather the chief said he is critical of the feverish pace the oilsands developed without environmental considerations.

But, Adam also admitted fighting oil companies and industry has been tough and it’s time for a change.

“The fact is I am tired. I am tired of fighting. We have accomplished what we have accomplished,” Adam said. “Now let’s move on and let’s start building a pipeline and start moving the oil that’s here already.”

Archie Waquan, chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, also supports a pipeline partnership.

“No disrespect to the other First Nations that are against the pipeline in B.C.,” Waquan said.

“From our end — from this northern territory where the oilsands comes from — we would like to see more things happen and hopefully this will go ahead.”

Ultimately we are the keepers of the land

The region’s Métis communities say their Indigenous pipeline ownership would help alleviate the roadblocks the oil and gas infrastructure have been facing lately.

Elaborating, Quintal said, First Nations and Métis would provide ease of access for the pipeline route on their traditional territory.

Also, he said, Indigenous owners would take the upmost care to ensure the pipeline route would avoid sacred or sensitive areas and the infrastructure is maintained to the highest standards to prevent spills.

Chiefs and heads of the Athabasca Tribal Council and the Athabasca River Métis Council pose after a meeting Tuesday at Fort McMurray’s Raddison Hotel where they announced they are willing invest in pipelines. (David Thurton/CBC)

“From our perspective, the Métis have always for the most part been pro-pipeline,” Quintal said. But, “I am not saying that it’s an open book or a blank cheque for the industry to develop pipelines.”

“Ultimately we are the keepers of the land and it is of the upmost importance that lands are protected as much as possible.”

Quintal also said, Indigenous owners behind a pipeline, might also lend credibility that could quell some of the opposition.

This article was originally published by David Thurton  · CBC News · Posted: Apr 15, 2018

RELATED:

[SOURCE]

Who is Métis? Statistics Canada numbers open window on debate

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation, middle, carries the Métis flag in Ottawa on April 14, 2016 (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

‘It’s not simply you just get a little check mark and say I’m Métis. You have to prove your identity’

The president of the Manitoba Metis Federation says the 2016 census numbers for Métis in Canada are wrong — but his objections point to a larger debate about who in fact is Métis.

“People just think that because you have potentially First Nation blood in you that you can quantify yourself as Métis,” David Chartrand said Tuesday. “I can guarantee there’s not 125,000 Métis Nation citizens in Ontario.”

The 2016 census asked people whether they were Aboriginal, and then further broke that down to First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

There were 587,545 people who self-identified as Métis, a growth of more than 50 per cent since 2006, with the most in Ontario, where there were just over 120,000. Almost 90,000 in Manitoba self-identified as Métis.

But Chartrand says a lack of understanding prompted many people to incorrectly self-identify as Métis, a word with roots in the French for mixed blood.

“Our nation is probably about no more than 400,000, from parts of Ontario all the way to parts of British Columbia and all of the Prairies. That’s our population. We know it. We know where we live, we know who we are,” he said.

Chartrand’s organization strictly regulates who gets Métis Nation citizenship cards.

David Chartrand, president of the Manitoba Metis Federation. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

They must show they trace their ancestry back to the mixed First Nations and European people who lived in Western Canada during the time of the fur trade.

“It’s not simply you just get a little check mark and say I’m Métis,” Chartrand said. “You have to prove your identity and prove your connection to the historical and collective homeland of the Métis Nation. It’s a long process.”

However, not everyone agrees with Chartrand’s definition.

A 2016 Supreme Court ruling about Métis rights launched some infighting among Métis about who meets the definition.

The Daniels vs. Canada ruling states the Métis and non-status Indians are “Indians” under the Constitution and thus fall under federal jurisdiction, so they must turn to Ottawa when negotiating rights or for new programs and services.

The ruling determined Métis status must be granted on a case-by-case basis, with the generally agreed upon criteria including ancestry and community ties.

The Métis Federation of Canada has a broader criteria for membership than the Manitoba Metis Federation.

“The true history of the Métis is very inclusive,” said president Robert Pilon said following the Daniels ruling.

“If you want to have a true representation of Métis in Canada, they got to make sure all Métis are at the table,” Pilon said in 2016. “Not just pick and choose just because one group has been around longer.”

A Statistics Canada analyst said the census did allow a wide variety of people to identify as Métis, but more data is being gathered to learn exactly what people mean by the term.

“We understand that there’s no single definition of Métis that’s endorsed by all Métis groups in Canada,” said Vivian O’Donnell.

Statistics Canada is trying to find out what people mean when they self-identify as Métis, she said.

Statistics Canada added two new questions to the Aboriginal Peoples Survey for those who said they’re Métis.

“We asked them, ‘Do you have a card or certificate issued by a Métis organization that identifies you as Métis?’ and if they say yes, we ask what Métis organization issued the card or certificate,” O’Donnell said.

“We also have other questions about sense of belonging — trying to capture some cultural connectedness — so there’s a lot of research potential there to better understand how people are identifying with the Métis nation or the Métis population.”

‘Capital M Métis’

Jacqueline Romanow, chair of the department of Indigenous studies at the University of Winnipeg, says she uses the terms “capital M Métis” and “small m Métis” in her classes to define two separate groups.

Small m Métis are people with mixed blood, which is how many people interpret the word, which has its roots in the French for mixed blood, Romanow says.

Capital M Métis are members of the Métis Nation who trace their ancestry back to the Red River Settlement and Ruperts Land before the creation of the province of Manitoba, she said. She is a member of that group.

Those Métis developed a culture with its own language and traditions in a specific region, she says.

“This is a unique place in history and in time, where you have the genesis of a whole new kind of culture,” she said.

“This didn’t happen everywhere — a new culture with a new language, new traditions that evolved that are very unique and specific.”

There are also specific rights given to those who can trace their heritage to Red River Métis, including land entitlements tracing back to the creation of Manitoba, when Métis were promised land that many never got.

Chartrand said only those who meet the Manitoba Métis Federation’s citizenship requirements are entitled to those rights.

People who are not members of the Métis Nation but want to be identified as part Indigenous should embrace their heritage, but it is not Métis, he said.

“We worked too damn hard to get where we are as a nation,” he said. “We do not take kindly to others who are just trying to jump in to something we’ve been working on for 150 years.”

CBC News

[SOURCE]

Company Denied Urgent Hearing to Remove Protesters from Parker Wetlands

Owners of the Parker Lands slated for development by Gem Equities have filed a lawsuit against protesters and an injunction demanding the group leave. Demonstrators say the land is contested Indigenous land and home to endangered wildlife. (Laura Glowacki/CBC)

Gem Equities sought injunction to remove the protesters accused of trespassing, delaying work

By Laura Glowacki, CBC News Posted: Jul 26, 2017

A Winnipeg company hoping to develop the Parker Lands was not granted an urgent hearing for an injunction motion filed on behalf of the owner to remove protesters camped out on the land.

The lawyer representing Andrew Marquess, owner of Gem Equities, told a Winnipeg courtroom Wednesday that protesters on a piece of land slated for residential development in Fort Garry are fortifying the site and insulting the law.

“They are effectively giving the middle finger to everyone who pays their taxes and the rules of law,” said Kevin Toyne, lawyer for two numbered companies as well as Marquess.

Toyne argued that an urgent hearing is needed because the company is losing potential profits by not being able to proceed with development and there is a public safety risk.

The urgent hearing was not granted. Instead, the injunction motion will be heard on Nov 2. Defendants have until Aug. 25 to file their statement of defence.

Marquess’s company, Gem Equities, is hoping to build townhouses and apartments on the 24-hectare property known as the Parker Lands.

Protesters say the land is contested with roots in the Métis community and serves as an important habitat for birds and other animals.

Protest camp prevents further clearing

Protesters set up a small camp of about six tents on the Parker Lands last week after Gem Equities began clearing trees. The company says protesters are preventing mulching equipment from moving, making further clearing of trees on the site impossible.

A small group of protesters met outside the court on Wednesday morning.

“It’s important to me and I think a lot of people because first off, the land is beautiful and there’s a lot of animals there and people have been trying to protect it for a while,” said Maddy Jantz, one of the protesters. “But most importantly, it’s Métis land and the Métis folks were not consulted. They still haven’t been.”

Protesters have been seen holding an axe and wearing masks. Parker Lands advocate Jenna Vandal said the axe was being used to chop wood for a bonfire.

“No one would be allowed to walk in this courtroom with an axe,” Toyne told the judge. “An axe is a weapon.”

Marquess acquired the property in 2009 in a controversial land swap with the city.

Protesters set up camp last week when Gem Equities started clearing trees from the site. Earlier this year, the City of Winnipeg shredded trees as part of the next phase of the city’s rapid transit bus route.

The residential development Gem Equities envisions would be called Oak Grove. The plan includes high-density towers, medium-density low-rise buildings, low-density townhouses and single-family homes, arranged in concentric circles around a Southwest Transitway station plaza.

City council has not approved the area plan, rezonings or developments necessary for the company to move forward.

[SOURCE]

Métis Sniper Made His Mark for Canada at Vimy Ridge

Marilyn Buffalo holds a portrait of her great-grandfather Henry Norwest, a Métis marksman who was a celebrated sniper during the First World War. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

April 9 marks 100 years since Canadian troops began the battle for Vimy Ridge

At the bottom of the list of names etched into the cenotaph at the legion in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., there is one that stands out from the rest.

Henry Norwest’s name is in a different format. The white paint, which has not yet faded like the others, still gleams.

Norwest’s name was added to the First World War cenotaph at the Legion in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., in 2008. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

If the name looks like it was an afterthought, it’s because it was. Norwest’s was added to the cenotaph in 2008, an action formally honouring the Métis marksman who died 90 years earlier, during the First World War.

Sunday marks 100 years since Canadian troops began the assault on Vimy Ridge in northeast France. By April 14, the Canadians had won the battle, but lost almost 3,600.

“There is no doubt in mind that he is in a place of peace,” says Marilyn Buffalo, Norwest’s great-granddaughter.

“There is a special place for warriors like him.”

Ranch hand and roper

Before he took to the battlefields in France and was among the thousands of Canadians who fought at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, Norwest was a married father of three who frequently moved around to find work.

Of French and Cree ancestry, he was a ranch hand and a roper who helped to wrangle bison in Montana in an effort to move herds north to Canada.

He listed his trade as “Cow Puncher” when he signed up to be part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in January 1915.

Norwest, who sometimes went as Henry Louie, worked as a ranch hand and roper before enlisting with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. (Glenbow Archives)

With war underway in Europe, he eagerly enlisted in Wetaskiwin, Alta., under the name Henry Louie, but his initial military stint was short-lived. Records from the time show that he was discharged three months later because of what was then referred to as “drunkenness.”

Still determined to fight overseas, he headed south to Calgary and enlisted again, this time under the name Henry Norwest.

Norwest established himself as a skilled sniper while fighting in France with Calgary’s 50th Battalion (Marilyn Buffalo)

Before he left for England, he went to say goodbye to his three girls, who at the time were living in a residential school in Ermineskin, Alta.

Buffalo remembers her grandmother telling her about the last time she saw him.

“There was a very handsome man who came to bid her goodbye at the residential school and that was her dad.”

A hunter turned sniper

Starting out earning a monthly wage of $15, Norwest quickly established himself as a skilled sniper while fighting in France with Calgary’s 50th Battalion.

Snipers typically worked with an observer, but Buffalo says she heard stories about Norwest sometimes creeping through no man’s land on his own, slipping out of the trench at night and returning to camp early in the morning.

During the war, First Nation soldiers were among Canada’s top snipers, and Norwest’s upbringing and experience as a hunter were evident, says Al Judson, curator of the King’s Own Calgary Regiment Museum, where one of Norwest’s rifles is on display.

“He could move well, quietly with stealth,” says Judson.

“He could use camouflage and the natural foliage around him to hide.”

A Ross rifle on display at the King’s Own Calgary Regiment Museum is one of the rifles Norwest used. (Colin Hall/CBC)

He had a reputation that was feared by the Germans and revered by his comrades.

In military records, he is described by a fellow soldier as understanding “better than most of the us the cost of life and the price of death.”

“He showed complete detachment from everything while he was in the line.”

Off the battlefield, he was jovial and popular with the women in the dance halls, which is how Buffalo says her great-grandfather earned his nickname “Ducky.”

“He would dance all night and then duck out on the girls at the end of the night.”

Vimy Ridge

On April 9, 1917, under a barrage of heavy fire, Norwest was among the thousands of Canadian troops who made the deadly push to capture Vimy Ridge.

Norwest was awarded a Military Medal for his efforts to help allied forces capture “the Pimple,” a significant point along the ridge.

In his award citation, officials said he showed great bravery and “saved a great number of our men’s lives.”

In the three months leading up the to the battle, he shot and killed 59 men from opposing forces.

Norwest won a military medal for his efforts during the battle for Vimy Ridge. He died in August 1918, three months before the war ended.

In August of the following year, he fought during the battle of Amiens, taking out snipers and machine gunners. But just three months before the First World War ended, Norwest himself became the target of a German sharpshooter and the 33-year-old was shot and killed.

On his temporary grave marker, one of his fellow soldiers wrote: “It must have been a damned good sniper that got Norwest.”

‘Made me very proud’

At the time of his death, he had 115 confirmed kills, but the actual number of fatal shots he fired could be much higher because the military only recorded hits that had been observed by someone else. He was awarded a military bar posthumously to go along with his medal.

After the war, his remains were reinterred in a small church graveyard in Warvillers, France. In 2009, his great-granddaughter made an emotional visit to the site, where she performed a sacred Cree ceremony.

“It made me very proud,” Buffalo says.

“This is a part of the history, our contribution to the world and to the British Empire 100 years ago. It has to be honoured.”

Buffalo visited her great-grandfather’s grave in Warvillers, France, in 2009. (Marilyn Buffalo)

As a self-described history buff, she says she’s tried to learn as much as she can about Norwest. She has reflected on what his contribution and his loss meant to her family.

Before he was killed in France, his wife died in Alberta, so his three daughters were left as orphans and spent most of their childhoods at residential school.

‘He should have been there a long time ago.’- Dutchie Anderson

Today, Buffalo says Norwest has hundreds of descendants, mostly concentrated around Samson Cree First Nation in central Alberta.

Some of them were there for a special ceremony in 2008, when Norwest’s name was finally added to the cenotaph at the Fort Saskatchewan legion.

“He should have been there a long time ago,” says Dutchie Enders, the services officer for the legion.

Two stones have been placed in honour of Norwest at the cemetery in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

He believes Norwest’s legacy was previously overlooked because he was Indigenous. Enders himself had only learned about his story shortly before Norwest’s name was engraved.

“That is when we recognized that he had been neglected all these years.”

Two stones have also been placed in the community’s cemetery, each bearing a plaque recounting Norwest’s accomplishments during the war.

The legion’s canteen is now named in honour of Norwest. His black and white picture hangs in the room and pressed under the glass beside it is a single eagle feather, which is a sacred symbol in Cree culture.

“We had to do this,” Enders says. “He was one of our own.”

[SOURCE]

 

 

Cree, Métis Trappers And Fishermen Block Highway In Northern Manitoba

Cree trappers and fishermen from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation near The Pas, Man., stop a truck on Highway 6 as part of a blockade that began Aug. 30. (Thomas Monias)

Cree trappers and fishermen from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation near The Pas, Man., stop a truck on Highway 6 as part of a blockade that began Aug. 30. (Thomas Monias)

After negotiations over hydro development stall, groups block highway to protest

By Tim Fontaine, CBC News Posted: Sep 02, 2016

Around a dozen people from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation and their supporters have erected a blockade on a major highway in northern Manitoba, stopping trucks and equipment bound for a massive hydroelectric development project.

The blockade, which began Tuesday, is at the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 39 just south of Wabowden, Man. approximately 600 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

The protesters are allowing cars, trucks and bus traffic through, but they claim to have turned back semi-trailers and equipment that were en route to the construction site of Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask Generating Station near Gillam, Man., a further 500 kilometres north.

The protesters are mainly members of the Opaskawayak Cree Nation Local Fur Council and the Opaskawayak Commercial Fishery Co-op, two groups that have been attempting to negotiate a settlement related to the construction of the Grand Rapids Generating Station over five decades ago.

They’ve also been joined by people from the Misipawistik Cree Nation and Métis from Grand Rapids, Man.

“This is for land that was damaged in 1960 — 1.5 million acres of prime trapping and fishing area, when Hydro built the Grand Rapids hydro generating station,” said John Morrisseau, who is from Grand Rapids.

The fight for compensation

HYDRO-NATIVE-DEAL

Construction of the Grand Rapids Generating Station began in 1960 and lasted five years, but destroyed thousands of kilometres of Cree territory, protesters say. (Winnipeg Free Press/CP)

Construction of the Grand Rapids generating station began in 1960 and lasted five years until it was operational.

The dam, which was built on the Saskatchewan River, required thousands of kilometres of land to be flooded — much of it trapping and fishing grounds used by First Nations, including people from Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

The trappers and fishermen from that community say that because of the changed landscape they now have to travel up to 150 kilometres just to fish or reach their traplines. Because of that, some people lost their livelihoods altogether, they say.

Several of the First Nations and Métis people affected by the dam have already negotiated settlements with the province and Manitoba Hydro. But for the past nine years, trapping and fishing groups from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation have been trying negotiate their own compensation.

Those talks broke down around two weeks ago.

“We’ll stay here as long as it takes to get Hydro at the negotiating table,” Morrisseau said.

Hydro responds

But a spokesperson for Manitoba Hydro said it was the trappers and fishermen who walked away from the negotiating table in the first place.

“[Manitoba Hydro] is more than happy to talk to them but I want to be very, very clear that they were the ones who walked away from the negotiating table, not us,” said Scott Powell.

“We’ve even offered to bring in a mediator at our expense to help with the discussions.”

According to Powell, there’s a dispute over how many fishers and trappers are eligible for compensation. Hydro is willing to compensate 59 fishers and more than 150 trappers, based on how many were harvesting in the area at the time the dam was built, but the First Nations say hundreds more should be eligible.

CBC News has been trying to reach the heads of both the Opaskwayak Cree Nation Local Fur Council and the Opaskwayak Commercial Fishery Co-op for further comment, but cellphone coverage is poor in the area where the blockade is set up.

Powell confirmed that several trucks on contract with Manitoba Hydro that were headed to “points north” had been stopped and turned back by the blockade.

RCMP didn’t respond to requests from CBC News for information about the situation but Canada Carthage, a major trucking company, has been warning drivers and operators about the blockade on social media.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/cree-trappers-blockade-manitoba-hydro-1.3746010?cmp=abfb