The purpose of this document is to assist individuals who are interested in applying for citizenship within the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO).
In the Fall of 2010, the MNO initiated a two-year, province-wide community consultation process on Métis identification and registration. This consultation process was mandated by a resolution of the MNO Annual General Assembly. For more information on this consultation process visit www.metisnation.org.
Within its initial consultations held in late 2010 and early 2011, the MNO heard many comments about the need to assist new applicants to the MNO in completing their citizenship applications. As well, many existing MNO citizens requested assistance in completing their existing MNO citizenship files.
Based on these suggestions, the MNO has been working on developing a series of “tools” to assist individuals in completing their MNO citizenship applications. This document, entitled, Applying for Citizenship in the Métis Nation of Ontario: Research Standards and Sources, is the first of three tools the MNO will be developing. The other tools, which the MNO is working on, are:
- Applying for Citizenship in the Métis Nation of Ontario: Identifying Root Métis Ancestors in Ontario – This document will include a catalogue of historic Ontario Métis ancestors that will continue to be updated as more Ontario Métis research and information becomes available and published. It will include, among other things, where identified Métis ancestors lived in Ontario and in what time period in order for applicants to trace to these known historic Métis ancestors in Ontario; and
- Applying for Citizenship in the Métis Nation of Ontario: MNO Registry Application Workbook – This document will be a workbook to help applicants with the application form including the development of genealogical information required for each application to the MNO Registry. It will include helpful hints on how to make sure your application is as complete as possible in order to avoid delays in processing by the MNO Registry.
Why create this guide and these tools? Because many people who want to apply to the MNO Registry and complete their genealogies don’t know where to start looking or what to do. Presently, the MNO does not have the staff or capacity to assist individuals in completing their applications and genealogies. However, guidance and assistance can be provided through these tools in order to assist in answering questions such as:
- Should I apply for citizenship within the MNO?
- Why is genealogical proof required for MNO citizenship?
- What genealogical proof is required for MNO citizenship?
- What sources and materials are out there?
- What am I looking for?
These tools are also important because not as much history and resources have been published about the Métis communities in Ontario that historically existed and continue to exist today. Because much of this history remains unknown, unpublished and hard to access, there is an assumption that there are not identifiable historic Métis ancestors in Ontario. Nothing could be further from the truth!
While Métis scrip and land grants (which identify historic Métis ancestors in other parts of the Métis Nation such as Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) were not issued in Ontario, there are many other historic documents and sources that identify historic Métis ancestors in Ontario. For example, historic documents show that Ontario Métis:
- petitioned for their lands and rights in locations such as Penetang, Moose Factory, Nipigon, etc.;*
- took collective actions defending their rights in locations such as Sault Ste. Marie, Fort Frances, Michipicoten, Burleigh Falls, etc.;*
- were identified in the historic record across the province (i.e., Censuses, INAC records, Hudson Bay Company documents, etc.) in locations such as Kenora, Parry Sound, Thunder Bay, Mattawa, Timmins, Temiskaming, Sudbury, North Bay, and all along the shores of Lake Superior and Lake Huron, the river systems of the fur trade and the banks of the Ottawa River;* and
- were recognized as distinct by Europeans as well as First Nations in various published writings, journals and records.
Unfortunately, many of these Ontario Métis historical records and documents are not well-known or well understood. This often leads to ignorant and ill-informed conclusions about Ontario Métis. As the government of the Métis Nation in Ontario, the MNO is working to ensure this history becomes more readily available to Métis people as well as all Ontarians. This guide, along with other tools being developed, will assist in making this happen.
The MNO hopes that this guide is helpful to prospective applicants as well as MNO citizens. Feedback on the Guide is welcomed because it will be updated regularly.
*It is important to note that the settlements listed in this paragraph are not an exhaustive list of locations of historic Métis settlements or communities in Ontario. They have only been provided to give applicants a general understanding of some of the locations of historic Métis communities in the province. The MNO continues to undertake research to better understand and document Métis history in Ontario, but applicants have increasingly asked for some guidance in order to focus their genealogical research.