Minister: Ken Leforte
Deputy Minister: Robert Gaudry
The MMF Natural Resources Portfolio is dedicated to protecting our Metis harvesters and our Metis rights. We have forged ahead with both the federal and provincial governments, resulting in promising new partnerships with some very important key government agencies. We have also been involved with other non-governmental and industry sectors, leading to stronger and respectful relationships and an understanding of our Metis self-government system and MMF Harvester Card initiatives.
A historic harvesting agreement was signed at the MMF's 44th Annual General Assembly in September 2012 between the MMF and the Province of Manitoba. It provides for the recognition of Métis harvesting rights in mutually agreed to regions of the province, and relies on the MMF's Metis Laws of the Harvest as the basis for the development of new provincial regulations to govern Metis harvesting. As well, MMF Harvester Cards are now recognized by Conservation officers and related regulation enforcement officers as a means to identify Metis harvesters within the Map area. Harvesters MUST continue to follow the Metis Laws of the Harvest within the recognized area, otherwise they will not be legally-supported by the MMF. Specifically, harvesters must validate their card each year by purchasing a Conservation Trust Fund sticker and use the Big Game tags issued by an MMF Regional Office. If a harvester wants to harvest outside the recognized Metis harvesting area, please contact the MMF (Regional Clerk or Home Office – Natural Resources Dept.), as a different process is currently in place.
Since the Goodon decision in 2009 and the 2012 joint Metis Harvesting agreement, we believe that governments are finally recognizing their responsibility to consult with the Metis people on any and all projects within the Manitoba borders that may affect our people. And with this duty fulfillment, comes more accommodations for our Metis people in traditional lands and resources protection, employment & training, and business ventures and partnerships. It has been a long, slow process, but every success we enjoy adds strength to our Metis government and benefits to government and industry. We applaud all the hard work everyone has done towards the goals of enjoying the rights that should be afforded to us as a distinct Aboriginal people under the Constitution of Canada.
The Harvesting Clerks in all of the regions have been hard at work registering our Metis people and issuing Harvester Cards. To date, we have over 4500 registered harvesters within our province, and with the recent harvesting agreement, expect many more to come. We will be looking at ways we can put the growing Metis Conservation Trust Fund towards conserving our resources for future generations.
As the Harvester Card system and its related policy expands and develops, we realize updates to the Laws of the Harvest will need to be made. We are working to revise and clarify the Laws on a yearly basis. The latest booklet available in all Regional offices is the Revised Metis Laws of the Harvest 3rd edition. The harvester sticker renewal date reflects our fiscal year of April 1 to March 31. Be sure to visit the closest Regional Office to renew next year's sticker after April 1 and pick up your Big Game tags.We recently updated our harvester survey to make it quick and easy to report harvests prior to renewing the harvester sticker. We continue to ask people to report their harvests from the previous harvesting season, as the numbers generated from this important information help us make good resource management decisions, as well as show that we take conservation of our resources seriously and responsibly. We cannot do this without the input of our harvesters.
The Natural Resources Portfolio overlaps with many other departmental portfolios, and we have been working closely with Environment and Mining as well as Hydro and Economic Development. Together, our sectors have set up several important meetings to discuss the inclusion of the Metis people in their projects.
Hydro development in Manitoba has been ongoing since the 1930s and many of the current ongoing projects affecting our Metis citizens surround this development. It was during the Wuskwatim project that the MMF first engaged in negotiations with Manitoba Hydro. Since then, the MMF has worked with Manitoba Hydro towards the development of protocols and traditional land-use studies for future hydro projects such as Bi-Pole III, Point du Bois and Keeyask. The MMF, represented by our Legal Counsel, is currently partaking in the Clean Environment Commission (CEC) hearings, as Bipole III's current transmission route goes through the heart of the Manitoba Metis community's large animal ‘traditional hunting territory' on the west side of the province. This area is significantly relied upon by Metis for hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering, and there is also a number of provincial moose hunting closures in the area (e.g. Duck and Porcupine Mountain area).
The MMF has interviewed local harvesters & elders on the west side, and made presentations to the CEC, specifically to address what impacts the Bipole III transmission route will have on traditional Metis harvesting practices such as moose hunting and blueberry gathering in the study region. The purpose of presenting the concerns by Metis harvesters and elders on Bipole III, will be to ensure that accommodations (e.g. future resource protection & compensation) will be made by Manitoba Hydro, and to hold the Manitoba Government to task (as the project approval authority) in protecting our Metis citizens and natural resources for generations to come.
We look forward to many new opportunities that will be the result of working together with both government and other industry to achieve a fulfilling and prosperous future for the Metis people. We still have a great deal of hard work ahead of us, but since the Goodon Decision and recent Metis Harvesting agreement, we feel that this work will continue to move forward under a positive outlook for the Metis Nation of Manitoba.
Our will to actively pursue political, legal and advocacy avenues available to us remains as strong as ever to have our rights recognized and affirmed within the province, and we will continue to work diligently towards that goal.
- Southeast MMF Newsletter - March 2013
- Canada's Metis Partner Given Cold Shoulder in Federal Budget of Inaction
- Manitoba Métis Urge Clean Environment Commission to Withhold Recommendation on Bipole III Transmission Project
- Louis Riel Day
- MEDO nominated for Spirit Award
- Manitoba Métis Put Manitoba Hydro On Notice About Bipole III - MMF President Testifies at Clean Environment Commission
- MMF President David Chartrand to Receive Honorary Law Degree
- Current State of Metis Law in Canada
- Metis Are Open for Business
- UWinnipeg first to offer Youth In Care Tuition Waivers
- Métis Nation a long way from reconciliation; Efforts continue for recognition and compensation for Métis residential and day school survivors