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As many of you are aware, Sunday, September 19, 2010 marks the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in R. v. Powley. The ground breaking decision ushered in a whole new era of Métis rights in Ontario and across the Métis Homeland. Especially important at this time of the year, are the Métis Harvesting Rights which are now recognized by the Province of Ontario through our harvesting agreement. Take time to reflect on the pride that each of us feels when we look at what has been accomplished. Take time to enjoy, participate in organized events, and be Proud to be Metis, especially in this, the year of the Metis!
Throughout Ontario many MNO Community Councils will be holding fall harvests and/or feasts. I along with many MNO citizens will be attending the Sixth Annual Métis Rendezvous on Saturday to be held this year at Port Severn. Regardless of where you are this weekend, or during one of the many fall harvests that are taking place throughout the fall, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on how the Powley decision has raised the profile of the Métis, and contributed to the recognition of our rights as a distinct Aboriginal people within Canada. The affirmation of the right to harvest is a component critical to the already rich fabric that defines Métis culture.
It is fair to say that in spite of a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice of many Métis, our pursuit for full recognition of Métis rights continues. There is still much work to be done with the province and especially with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) in ensuring the acceptance of those rights when they are asserted. We will continue to push forward on the priority issues that you have raised with your Captains of the Hunt, your PCMNO representative or myself. I will be raising those issues when I meet with three Ministers next week. We will continue to report progress and movement as it occurs, however each of us must do all we can to ensure that the collective rights of Métis to harvest is preserved through responsible management of the Métis harvest in Ontario. The work ahead of us is great and the journey will be long and hard fought. But on September 19th, please take a moment to celebrate your Métis culture and heritage and to remember Steve, Rodney and the Powley family for their personal sacrifice and commitment to the ongoing struggle for Métis rights.
I look forward to joining many this Saturday at the Metis Rendezvous for a day of Metis culture, entertainment and food of course, but also seeing many more of you this fall at other gatherings.
President, Métis Nation of Ontario