Messagepar admin » Dim 15 Mars 2015 00:11


The Powley Case contradicts the original cultural definition of Métis and what is a Métis community.

The original definition of the Métis community versus the Legal Supreme Court definition of Métis communities.

The Powley decision made in 2003 by the Supreme Court of Canada regarding the existence of a Métis community in Sault-Ste-Marie defined a legal appropriate criterion as to the existence of this community and claim to recognize the rights of all the Métis and Métis communities in Canada. Does that mean that all Métis in Canada must accept the accuracy of this legal appropriate criteria to this inappropriate legal definition of Métis communities and what follows from this definition for the Métis in Québec?

Depending on the application of the cultural knowledge of the Métis and especially according to the spirit of freedom of movement that has always existed among the Métis as their mobility rights , the citizens of the Métis Nation in Quebec, unlike other Métis, categorically reject, and without any fear from their part, this colonialist definition of a Métis community proposed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Powley decision and supported by the Métis NAtional Council leadership. .

La Nation Métis au Quebec refused this definition because it forces the Métis and their family clans to be defined according to European concepts and to identify themselves from being sedentary people living strictly on land base physical communities, something they never did in the past. The application of the Powley case force and push the Métis in the Province of Québec to a collective suicide, another native genocide.

Métis cultural movement cannot be frozen into time or to operate strictly in the past like it is proposed by the Powley case definition to eliminate the Métis. They implemented the indian act to define who are the members of First Nations communities and we can see the result today.

Every day, like in the past, new marriages are formed between European and First Nations, Métis and Inuit and from these unions are born new Métis. These new Métis now have the opportunity to recognize themselves fully as Métis and to adopt their true cultural identity as Métis rather than the one of their parents. New Métis families are created at all time in the present and will become eventually in the future as historical Métis of the 7th generation. It might be that these Métis might be more culturally active and documented than the ones of the past.

No one has the right to deny recognition of these new Métis as Métis, even if those Métis have a right to be registered under the Indian act to receive temporary services, as the governments of Canada and Québec refuse to provide them services as Métis until la Nation Metis au Québec is fully recognized as the 12th Aboriginal Nations in Québec.

Never the citizens of la Nation Métis au Quebec will allow that their identity come from a definition based on historical communities, defined as a land base physical community established and designed on a limited land space in an enclave perimeter well measured in inches and feet, and then identified and named and baptized according to European seigniorial and parochial laws. This concept of community does not exist and never existed among the Métis and First Nations alike.

To accept this definition of Métis community proposed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Powley case is like asking us to abdicate our own cultural definition of our Métis communities in Québec and to restrict ourselves according to the same concept of reserves established under the Indian Act.

This seigniorial and parochial definition of a land base physical community began and was imposed by colonial governments to define and control the population of First Nations communities with the creation of most Indian reservations in 1852, following the Durham Report.

This seigniorial definition of supposed to be historic communities was not well received by the Métis of Québec, because the Métis continuously regroup and travelled as landless transient families, always rejected by First Nations and especially by French Canadians.

The Métis have ended for the most part, following the concept of private property imposed by the French and English regimes, to settle mostly in the vicinity of First Nations reserves or at distance of French Canadians communities to become not by choice "squatters" on the uninhabited Crown land. Anyway, all the land that was habitable or cultivable had been distributed to French Canadians settlers or removed from First Nations through the process of Land session or treaties agreements.

Métis lived mostly as "squatters" in the proximity of the Catholic missions and First Nations communities before and after the creation of reserves. It is quite later after the Durham Report of 1852 that some Métis families have become sedentary and had to settle in fixed locations in parish communities as did the French and English since their arrival on the soil of North America in Lower and Upper Canada.

According to the toponymy of Quebec, for example, few villages in Quebec are in principle Métis squatters settlements that became parishes of Quebec after the movement of the canonization of the French villages into Catholic parishes. They are not part of what the Powley Judgment considers historic communities.

As for most of them transients, Métis and First Nations peoples once define themselves as occupying and sharing a vast territory to which the movements of their families were adapting to the needs and tasks for the seasonal food gathering. The concept of village or land base enclave village or a parish or municipal community did not exist among First Nations and Métis before 1850. This concept of a land base physical community or Métis villages applied until very late among the Métis even beyond the year 1880 in Québec.

The concept of local land base physical community permanently fixed did not and has never been part of the organizational structure of the Métis and First Nations. A historic Métis community has always been based on the number of family clans that form a community of peoples. A historic Métis community according to Métis cultural definition is not defined or restricted or limited by a land base physical place such as those that were created by French Canadian under the seigniorial system precisely to protect themselves from the invasions of Métis and First Nations.

Therefore the Powley Case contradicts the original cultural definition of Métis and what is a Métis community. A historic Métis community is a community of people composed and defined by its family clans. Métis family members compose and define a Métis community. Métis communities are not defined by a terrestrial space. The Métis did not really have land base physical communities but rather communities of peoples composed of its family clans spread over the whole territory of the province of Québec and later extended to the prairies.

The cycle of seasonal movements of the family clans encroached even in other provinces after the dismissal of Upper and Lower Canada in the provinces of Canada. Métis family ties are not fixed in a land base physical and local communit, but extend as far as they could maintain the family ties evet when some members of their Métis family clans left for the Prairie Provinces. So members of the same Métis family clans could live in different places at the same time but they were still all part of the same community of peoples, therefore from the same Métis community, from a true cultural historical Métis community.

Today's Métis families in Québec still live in the parish communities established on territories that have always been occupied by the Métis.

Unlike First Nations, Métis also possessed and still possess, under the parish and now municipal governments, checkerboard private land they have purchased in the same way the French Canadians did in Québec. Never the Métis received land or territories for their exclusive use and for those of their clans or regional territories for communal use for the entire Métis population of Québec. These private properties that belong to Métis are also considered part of the Métis cultural communal heritage as these private lands also belong to Métis clans.

It is therefore inconceivable for the citizens of the Métis Nation of Québec to recognize and accept the legal definition of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Powley case when it touches and tries to legally define a historic Métis community from a temporal definition of a fixed land base community.

To accept the complete and exclusive legal definition of Métis community, proposed by the Supreme Court of Canada, is also to accept that this definition of community will also determine who is and who is not Métis like they did to define who is an Indian under the Indian act.

Even worse, to accept this definition is also to subdue ourselves to conform to the desire of the Government of Canada to restrict and control, as they did with the First Nations, the number of Métis and to submit the Métis to a legal definition that does not reflect the Métis cultural definition of a Métis community.

This legal definition more so limits the access of Métis to define themselves and their communities according to their own cultural values and a cultural definition specific to the Métis. To accept this legal definition of belonging to and connecting to Métis communities from a land base community definition, is like abdicating our social, cultural, spiritual, political and national Métis identity.

To sign, to accept and to implement this legal definition would become our death warrant.

The Métis are able, in a context of familial, communal and national driven self-governance and according to governmental principals worthy of a Métis Nation, distinct from First Nations of Québec, French Canadians and English, to determine who are and who will be their communities of yesterday, today and tomorrow and especially who the Métis population is. The Métis also have the duty and the obligation to preserve the integrity of their cultural definition to build their future and to protect the 7 generation of Métis past and future.

Yes, la NAtion Métis au Québec recognizes that the Nation is composed of Métis from diverse cultural and national community and that the Métis still occupy different regions of Quebec. Yes, it can be said that there were 11 First Nations and several European nations that have shaped this entire Nation Métis au Québec. LA Nation Métis au Québec recognizes its communal and regional cultural distinctions but, collectively, the Métis must form a single political Métis Nation for survival in Québec and Canada.

Métis must open their doors to self-governance for family clans, for communities and for the Métis Nation and not close them based on legal definitions that please the governments. Métis must first organize themselves in an inclusive way in all the respect of their respective family, as communities of peoples formed from their family clans tied to a common national Métis identity and a Métis Nation before they can even think of negotiating with governments.

No offense to jurists, la Nation Métis au Québec chose to be inclusive in all its cultural definitions. The Métis have no obligation to subdue themselves in whole or in part to the exclusive legal definitions proposed by the courts at the service of foreign governments to the Métis, let alone to surrender to Métis Corporate Services Organization, the responsibility to negotiate our individual Métis rights.
Claude Aubin
Métis et administrateur de ce site.

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