The State of Métis Law, Research and Self-Government in Canada
Shortly after the provincial Louis Riel Day Ceremony at Queen’s Park, the MNO partnered with the Law Society of Upper Canada to host a seminar on the state of Métis Law, Research and Self-Government in Canada. The seminar is held annually as part of the Law Society’s Equity Imitative program that delivers a series of public education events throughout the year to promote awareness, education and discussion on the challenges and opportunities for Aboriginal, Francophone and equality-seeking communities in law and the legal profession.
This year’s seminar featured a panel discussion with Métis Lawyers Jean Teillet and Jason Madden and Dr. Brenda Macdougall, the Chair of Métis Studies at the University of Ottawa. The Panel was moderated by Métis Lawyer Margaret Froh and included comments from Law Society of Canada Bencher Susan Hare and MNO President Gary Lipinski.
In her presentation, Ms. Teillet provided some of the story of how Aboriginal and Métis rights were finally included in The Constitution Act, 1982. She spoke about the results of this achievement as well as the hopes that still remain unfulfilled. Mr. Madden reviewed some of the significant legal cases impacting Métis rights currently in front of courts in Canada. He demonstrated that the various legal cases being fought across the Homeland are starting to “colour in the map,” as more and more territory is being added to areas where Métis rights are being recognized. Dr. Macdougall provided a very personal example of many of the issues that her legal colleagues addressed by looking at the history of the Métis Laframboise family. She demonstrated that this family in many respects typified the Métis experience.
Following the panel discussion, the seminar participants enjoyed a performance from Métis singer Rebecca Cuddy and a reading by Métis writer Maria Campbell from her book Stories of the Road Allowance People.
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