Part 2: Who are the Métis in Section 35?

This question of who the Métis are was discussed at length before the Court. Many of the lawyers for the various governments argued that there were no Métis “peoples”; that there were only individuals with mixed Indian and European heritage. The Supreme Court did not agree with these arguments, nor did it set out a comprehensive definition of who the Métis people are. Instead, the Court set out who the “Métis” are for the purposes of s. 35. The Court said that the term “Métis” in s. 35 refers to distinctive Métis collectives who, in addition to their mixed ancestry, developed their own customs, way of life, and group identity–separate from their Indian, Inuit or European forebears.