Historic and Contemporary Métis Timeline - Ontario Westward

Prior to Canada becoming Canada, the Métis Nation emerged—as a distinct Indigenous people—in west central North America, also known as the historic Northwest, and the Métis Nation homeland. Métis communities in west central North America were connected by kinship and culture. This timeline shows key historic moments of the Métis communities in Ontario that are today represented by the MNO, in conjunction with key moments of the larger Métis Nation.

1670
Establishment of the Hudson’s Bay Company: A Royal Charter from King Charles II establishes the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC). The HBC goes on to dominate the fur trading business and control vast tracts of land in North America. The fur trade begins and increases the number of Europeans in what is now present-day Canada. From the last decades of the 1700s onwards Métis people and communities emerge from the historic realities of the fur trade, developing a strong collective identity and culture, distinct from that of their First Nations mothers, their European fathers, and the fur trade itself. Nevertheless, fur trade records and locations provide important information about the development of historic Métis communities in west-central North America.

The Coat of Arms of the Hudson’s Bay Company

 

1763
Royal Proclamation of 1763: Following the Seven Years’ War, France cedes New France to Great Britain. In 1863, the Royal Proclamation by George IIIestablishes the boundaries of Quebec and affirms Indigenous sovereignty over lands not ceded to or purchased by the Crown.

1770’s – 1850
Métis Families Present at Michipicoten: 
By the late 1770s, independent traders, including including Jean-Baptiste Cadotte and Jean-Baptiste Nolin, forebearers of well-known Métis families, have trading posts around Michipicoten, which functions as a northern nexus within the Upper Great LakesMétis world. By 1798, both the North West Company (NWC) and HBC have posts along the Michipicoten River. Historic records show a Métis population at Michipicoten, even as the fur trade declines in the mid-1800s.

1779
Establishment of the North West Company: The North West Company (NWC) is established in Montreal by a group of Highland Scots who depend largely on French-Canadian labour. It becomes the HBC’s main rival in the fur trade.

1779-1812
Fur Trade Rivalry in Abitibi Inland Region: The NWC and HBC engage in a rivalry throughout the Abitibi Inland region, establishing posts between the coastal forts of western James Bay and Lake Temiscamingue, including posts at Frederick House, Abitibi, Kenogamissi, Flying Post, and Matawamingue.

1779
NWC Establishes Trading Post at Mattawa: In 1784, the NWC operates a trading post at Mattawa, which likely functioned as a seasonal outpost.

1787-1817
NWC and HBC Establish Posts in the Rainy Lake Region: Around 1787, the NWC establishes Fort Lac La Pluie (also known as Athabasca House or Rainy Lake House) to shorten turnaround time for Athabasca brigades. The HBC establishes posts nearby at Lac La Pluie, Escabitchewan House, Manitou Rapids, Rainy Lake, and Portage de l’Isle.

1790’s-1830’s
Métis Families from Michilimackinac Migrate Throughout Upper Great Lakes and Locations Further West: Métis families concentrated around Michilimackinac migrate to St. Joseph Island, Drummond Island, and eventually to Penetanguishene, while also spreading outward along the north shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior, including to other locations where Métis people have established settlements, such as Sault Ste. Marie
and Michipicoten.

1790’s
Métis Families Present in Western James Bay and Abitibi Inland: By the 1790s, a first generation of Métis children are born at coastal forts in western James Bay, namely Moose Factory. Thereafter, Métis servants began to appear in fur trade records as “factory boys,” serving as apprentices and taking on specialized roles at trading posts throughout the western James Bay, Abitibi Inland region, and beyond.

Early to mid-1800’s
Métis Settlements Emerge in the Mattawa/Ottawa River Region: Métis settlements emerge in the Mattawa region in the context of a declining fur trade and an expanding timber and lumber industry.

Mid to late 1800’s
Distinct Métis Community Present in what is now Northwestern Ontario: In the early 1800s, NWC and HBC fur trade posts are home to growing Métis families. By the mid to late 1800s, a distinct Métis community is present in what is now Northwestern Ontario. Women and children also contribute to life at the posts, helping with daily labour as well as hunting, harvesting, and planting small gardens.

1812-1815
The War of 1812, primarily fought in the Great Lakes region, establishes what will become the Canada-United States border. During the conflict, many Métis from the Upper Great Lakes, including Louis George Labatte and Henry Solomon, defended their lands by enlisting in the “Voyageur Corps” and fighting alongside the British. Métis at Sault Ste. Marie and Penetanguishene were eventually displaced from
the lands they received.

1816
La Victoire de la Grenouilliere, also known as the Victory at Frog Plain/Battle of Seven Oaks, occurs near the Red River Settlement. The Métis and employees of the NWC, led by Cuthbert Grant, fight against the HBC’s attempt to prohibit the trade of pemmican, a critical foodstuff to fur traders and Métis. As tensions rise, western leaders including Grant correspond with Métis allies in Sault Ste. Marie. Allies including William Morrison, Eustace Roussain, and John Charles Sayer encourage support in the Upper Great Lakes for the Métis and the NWC cause at Red River.

1820-1829
Migration from Drummond Island: Métis inhabitants of Drummond Island are displaced when the international border established after the War of 1812 is formally enforced. Some Métis go to Sault Ste. Marie, Killarney, and the north shore of Lake Superior, while many relocate across Lake Huron to Penetanguishene.

1821
Métis Community Grows at Fort William Following Merger: While Fort William had long been an important supply depot and the site of the NWC’s annual Great Rendezvous, a permanent, year-round Métis population grows at the fort following the merger of the HBC and NWC. Métis families, such as the Delarondes, are also recorded living at Nipigon throughout the 19th century

1826
US Treaty Promises River Lots to Métis Along the St. Mary’s River: Members of the Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community, including members and relatives of the Sayer and Cadotte families, are involved in negotiations between the United States and the Chippewa of Lake Superior at Fond du Lac, which results in U.S. Ratified Indian Treaty 145. Article 4 provides “half-breed” land grants for Métis families “upon the islands and shore of the St. Mary’s river.”

1830s
HBC Establishes Fur Trade Post at Mattawa: The HBC begins seasonal operations at Mattawa and establishes a permanent post by the end of the decade.

1838
Killarney Métis Voice Concerns about Fishing Rights: In 1838, Métis in Killarney expressed concerns about protecting their fishing rights, requesting “the same privileges and advantages as the pure Indians” and the right to fish the waters on Great Manitoulin Island. A travelling cleric shares their request with the Lieutenant-Governor.

1838
SSM Collective Action: Métis leaders Louis Nolin and Louis Garneau host a ball on the American side of the St. Mary’s River, as a means of bringing Métis together. HBC officials fear that “some of the Canadian halfbreeds on the American side” are recruiting participants and planning to raid one of the Company’s warehouses. Garneau’s son is later involved in the Red River Resistance.

1839
Penetanguishene Collective Action: In 1839, Métis opposing the Crown’s decision to start excluding “Halfbreeds” from annual present-giving (a pre-treaty practice used to maintain diplomatic relationships with Indigenous peoples in the Upper Great Lakes) confront and surround Indian Agent Samuel Jarvis’s residence in Penetanguishene “for their purpose [of ] claiming and insisting upon having that which they [asserted] was their right…”

1840
Penetanguishene Half-Breed Petition: In 1840, Métis in Penetanguishene petition the Crown to reinclude them in annual present-giving after “Halfbreeds” are excluded under developing Crown policy. They ask for the same advantages granted to “the half breeds from the Sault Ste. Marie.”

1842
Mode of Excluding Halfbreeds from Presents: In 1842, Indian Agent Thomas G. Anderson’s Mode of Excluding Half-Breeds from Receiving Presents makes it illegal to include Métis in present-giving and precludes Métis not living in First Nations communities from receiving presents as an attempt to disband Métis communities’ distinct political existence. The policy sets the stage for further exclusions in years to come, as the Crown consistently refuses to recognize Métis communities in treaty negotiations (with the exception of the 1875 Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty 3).

1849
Sayer Trial: On May 17, 1849, Pierre Guillaume Sayer and three other Métis are brought to trial in Red River on charges of illegally trafficking in furs, thereby violating the HBC’s charter. A crowd of armed Métis protestors led by Louis Riel Sr. rallied on Sayer’s behalf. Pierre Guillaume was part of the Métis Sayer family of the Upper Great Lakes. His brother of Henry Sayer traded for the HBC in Red River and the Upper Great Lakes, and later as an independent at Mississagi on Lake Huron. The year after Pierre Guillaume’s trial, his nephew Toussaint Sayer signed the 1850 Sault Ste. Marie Petition to secure the Métis river lots on the St. Mary’s River.

1849 – 1850
Mica Bay Incident: In November 1849, a group of Métis and Anishinaabeg from present-day Sault Ste. Marie and the north shore of Lake Superior protest the Quebec Mining Company’s opening operations on their traditional lands along the northern shores of Lakes Superior and Huron, specifically at Mica Bay. Three Métis leaders — including 16-year-old Eustace Lesage (ancestor of Steve and Roddy Powley, namesakes of the landmark Métis rights decision in R v. Powley) — were arrested and taken to Toronto for trial. The conflict led to the negotiation of the Robinson Treaties (Superior and Huron) between the Crown and “Indians.”

1850
Petition of the Inhabitants of Sault Ste. Marie: Chiefs Shingwaukonse and Nebainagoching call for the SSMMC to be included in the Robinson Treaties negotiations as a distinct community, specifically seeking an addition to the treaty which set aside 100 acres of land to each Métis head of a family. Treaty Commissioner William B. Robinson refused to include the Métis as a distinct party to the Robinson Treaties, and stated he had no mandate to deal with the Métis. However, he made a promise that the Métis had “free and full possession” of their lands and as such, their “title, rights and interests in the territory remain un-extinguished.” In response, the Métis of Sault Ste. Marie petitioned the Crown to uphold Robinson’s promise that their river lots would be protected

1851-1859
Sault Ste. Marie Métis Lose Their River Lots: The SSMMC is largely displaced from their river lots following the Robinson-Huron Treaty. The 1861 Census, taken 10 years after the treaty opened the town site for sales, shows only a few members of the Sault Ste. Marie community still living on the river lots they occupied in 1846. However, Métis remain in Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding lands, establishing new villages along the shores of Lakes Superior and Huron, including Roussainville and Agawa Village.

1859
Moose Factory Fight Night: Métis at Moose Factory act as a distinct cohort when a fight breaks out between “the Halfbreeds” and Norwegian labourers at the HBC’s Moose Factory post on New Year’s Day. Participants from the Abitibi Inland Métis Community include members of the Hunter-MacDonald, Linklater-Potts, and King families. After the incident all but one of the Norwegians end their contracts with the HBC and return home, refusing to work at Moose Factory any longer.

1860’s to 1880’s
Growing Métis Presence in Mattawa Region: Métis families have a growing presence in the Mattawa region. Families like the Langevins, Dorions, and McDonnells are joined by the Atkinson-Moore and Ferris-Good families, who move to Mattawa from the Abitibi Inland region. In 1875, a visiting missionary counted 113 “sauvages ou Métis” in the local population of roughly 400.

The early Métis community in Sault Ste. Marie

1867
The British North America Act is passed, creating the Dominion of Canada.

1869 – 1870
Canada Acquires Rupert’s Land From the HBC: The Dominion of Canada acquires the territory formerly known as Rupert’s Land from the HBC. In the years that follow, Canadian authorities sought to extinguish Métis land rights within Rupert’s Land (later known as the Northwest Territories and Keewatin) by issuing Halfbreed (Métis) scrip. Some Métis from communities in present-day Ontario eventually applied for scrip, especially from Northwestern Ontario, Abitibi Inland, and western James Bay, as parts of these territories were included in the land transfer.

1869-1870
Red River Resistance: Without any Métis involvement, in 1869, the Dominion of Canada “acquired” the territory formerly known as Rupert’s Land from the HBC, following which Canada began to survey the lands in the Red River region. In response, the Métis of the Red River Settlement under the leadership of Louis Riel formed the Métis National Committee to ensure Métis interests were addressed in creating the terms under which the Red River Settlement would join Canada. Riel and the National Committee’s advocacy culminated in the creation of the Province of Manitoba on May 12, 1870, through the Manitoba Act. However, during this time Canadian sympathizers in Red River challenged the National Committee’s attempt to secure terms the Métis deemed favorable to the Red River Settlement joining Canada. Following a military confrontation between the Government of Canada and the Métis of the Red River Settlement, and despite Riel’s work to secure the Manitoba Act for the Métis of the Red River Settlement, the Ontario government puts a $5,000 bounty on Riel, and he is forced to flee to the United States.

1871-1921
Negotiation of the Numbered Treaties: In the years after the passage of the Manitoba Act, the Dominion of Canada sought to formalize its legal position in the territory formerly known as Rupert’s Land. As such, Canada began negotiating treaties (the “Numbered Treaties”) with First Nations as Canada continued its westward expansion. With respect to Métis communities, Canada continued its policy of excluding Métis collectives from treaty negotiations, and instead created the Halfbreed (Métis) scrip system in a furtherance of extinguishing Métis land rights in what was then known as the Northwest Territories and Keewatin District.

1871
Halfbreeds of Fort Frances on Dawson Trail Paylist: “Halfbreeds of Fort Frances” are compensated when the construction of the Dawson Trail runs through their lands

1875
Métis of Rainy Lake Sign Half-Breed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3: Two years after the Canadian government signs Treaty 3 with First Nations, the Métis of Rainy Lake (present-day Fort Frances) under the leadership of Nicholas Chatelaine sign the “Half-Breed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3.” This marks the only time in Canada’s treaty history that the Métis are dealt with as a collective.

1876
Passage of the India Act: In 1876, the Canadian government passes the Indian Act, a federal statute that includes laws related to First Nations people. The law grants Canadian officials more power in deciding who is considered “Indian” and the benefits they receive, while establishing that “halfbreeds” and “Indians” were separate and exclusive legal categories. The Canadian government decides they “cannot recognize separate Halfbreed Bands,” including Métis signatories of the 1875 Half-Breed Adhesion, determining that the Rainy Lake and Rainy River Métis can either join Chief Little Eagle’s Rainy Lake band to be considered “Indians” and enter Treaty 3 or will be considered legally “white.” The Indian Act establishes a legal reality in which there is no recognition of Métis rights.

1878
Rainy Lake Métis Leader Nicholas Chatelaine Applies for Scrip: Nicholas Chatelaine applies for scrip in St. Vital, Manitoba. On his application, Chatelaine notes he had received “promisses [sic] from the officers of the government that I was to get my scrip at Fort Francis with many other people of that locality.” While many ancestors of the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community applied for scrip, many were denied because of their residence in Ontario, and confusion over the border between Ontario, the Northwest Territories, and Manitoba, which was not formally confirmed by the Crown until 1884.

1884 – 1885
North-West Resistance: Facing encroachment on their lands by white settlers, Métis on the prairies call on Louis Riel to defend their concerns to Canada. A Métis militia, led by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont, clash with the North West Mounted Police at Duck Lake, leaving twelve police and five Métis dead. Canada sends troops from central Canada to quell what the federal government perceives as an uprising. The series of conflicts that follow become collectively known as the North-West Resistance. Riel and a number of other Métis leaders are arrested. Riel is found guilty of treason and executed on November 16, 1885. After Riel’s death, many Métis people throughout west central North America, including Métis in Ontario, began hiding their identity given the rise of anti-Métis hate that had been simmering since the Province of Ontario placed the $5,000 bounty on Riel’s head in 1870.

1885
Petition of “Half-Breeds of Rainy Lake”: The “Half-breeds of Rainy Lake” petition for the annuities promised in the Treaty 3 Adhesion.

1891
Michel Morriseau’s Hungry Hall Land Claim Recognized: Canadian officials recognize Michel Morriseau’s claim to 160 acres of land on the Indian Reserve at Hungry Hall, stating in a letter that Morriseau is “not an Indian but has a right to land.” In 1918, Michel’s land is deeded to his children Sophia, James, Mary, Joseph, and John. Members of the Morriseau family continue to live on the land to the present day.

1893
Petition of Archdeacon Vincent and Others of Moose Factory: A petition from a group of Métis inhabitants of “Moose Factory, James Bay, Northwest Territories” requesting scrip is read before Canadian Parliament on April 1, 1893. Archdeacon Thomas Vincent, who authored the petition, was among at least eight Métis who applied for scrip from Fort Albany by 1896. The claims were eventually disallowed on the grounds that they were from “Ontario halfbreeds.”

1898
William Dusome and Others Protest Fishing Regulations at Gin Rock: Ontario’s enactment of fishing regulations made it difficult for Métis to practice their way of life. Métis fishermen in Georgian Bay, including William Dusome, refuse to adhere to fishing regulations. In 1898, Department of Marine and Fisheries officials report that Dusome was using a seine to catch fish at Gin Rock, just outside of Penetanguishene, and along with three others was living in a shanty he had built on the island. Other Upper Great Lakes Métis, like the Lamorandiere family of Killarney, were harassed while trying to prevent settler fishermen from destroying local fish populations. In 1894, Pierre Regis Lamorandiere reported that in retaliation for reporting their illegal fishing practices: “On two different times my Wife + Daughter’s underwear have been stolen by certain fisherman for the purpose of putting them on + dance with to make fun of us…”

1900’s – 1920’s
Métis Families Living in a Demographic Cluster at Mattawa: Métis in Mattawa concentrate in the block of streets nearest St Anne’s Catholic Church, its cemetery, and the HBC post. From the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, many of the men of these households worked in the lumber industry or as trappers in the winter, returning to their families in Mattawa in the spring, and then working as guides in the summer.

1902
Métis in Present-Day Northern Ontario Recognized as Having Entitlement to Scrip like those in the West: In 1902, as government officials prepared to negotiate Treaty 9, Indian Commissioner J.A. McKenna acknowledged it was unjust that Métis claims in what is now Ontario could not be addressed through scrip, writing that “Halfbreeds living on the Keewatin side of the English River are recognized as having territorial rights and get scrip, scrip which they may locate in Manitoba or any part of the North West Territories, while the Halfbreeds on the Ontario side who naturally comes and makes claim has to be told that he has no territorial rights. We must take care to avoid the perpetuation of this.”

1903
Métis Families from Sault Ste. Marie Move to Agawa Bay: Beginning in 1903, a group of Métis families from Sault Ste. Marie established a village at Agawa Bay on Lake Superior. By the 1920s, members of the Bussineau, Davieux, Roussain, and Miron families had established a close-knit group living at the bay and on nearby islands. They hunted, fished, gardened, harvested maple sugar, cut wood, and guided tourists together.

1905
Petition for Scrip from the Halfbreeds at Moose Factory: After being excluded from Treaty 9, a group of Métis at Moose Factory petition that they “have been born & brought up in the country…” and that as they have been excluded from Treaty 9 should receive scrip as they understood “that scrip has been granted to the half breeds of the North West Territory”.

1921
Treaty 11: The signing of Treaty 11 marks the end of negotiations for Canada’s numbered treaties. Treaty 11 also marks the final scrip commission, which is established to extinguish Métis land rights in the Mackenzie River District.

1928
Founding of the Métis Association of Alberta: Drawing on the labour movements of their day, the “Big Five” (Felix Calliou, Joseph Dion, Jim Brady, Malcolm Norris, and Peter Tomkins) kick off a new chapter of contemporary Métis governance by mobilizing the Métis people in Alberta to found the Association des Métis Alberta et les Territoires du Nord-Ouest (the predecessor to the Métis Nation of Alberta) in 1928. In 1932, this becomes the Métis Association of Alberta (MAA). Led by the “Big Five,” the MAA advocates to alleviate Métis poverty and through their efforts, secure the twelve (now eight) Alberta Métis settlements. Their activities mark a watershed moment in the emergence of contemporary Métis governance.

Monument in Queen’s Park in Toronto dedicated to Canadian soldiers who fought the Métis in 1885. It is an example of the backlash faced by Métis in Ontario. (Archives of Ontario)

1960’s
Rebirth of Métis Political Organizations: Seeing the success of the Association des Métis Alberta et les Territories du Nord-Ouest as an example, in the 1960s Métis communites across west central North America join with non-status Indians and other Indigenous peoples in pan-Indigenous organizations, to draw public attention to advance the interests of Métis and non-status Indians. These organizations include the Métis Society of Saskatchewan in 1964 (a predecessor to the MN-S), the Lake Nipigon Métis Association (a predecessor to the MNO), and in 1967 the Manitoba Métis Federation, all of which have evolved into recognized successor governments to the historic Métis Nation.

1965
Lake Nipigon Métis Association Founded: Métis leaders from Ontario to British Columbia meet at a conference in Calgary where it is reported that “Métis Leaders Ready to Fight White ‘Racist’ Discrimination.” This fight includes references to political actions being taken by Métis leadership from Ontario-westward, including addressing unanswered claims under the Manitoba Act, battles against ongoing discrimination of Métis people in Saskatchewan, and the Lake Nipigon Métis Association’s “radical tactics” in their fight to protect fishing rights in north Lake Superior.

With his son Roddy, Steve Powley challenged Ontario’s hunting laws by asserting his Métis right to harvest

1967
Métis Village at Agawa Bay Destroyed: In the 1960s, the Ontario government forced the Métis families of Agawa Bay from their homes to make way for the newly established Lake Superior Provincial Park. Over the course of a decade, the government seized the property of the Métis inhabitants they considered “squatters” and in 1967 burned the homes at Agawa Bay to the ground. This was not the only time that Canadian officials employed such tactics. In 1938, the federal government purposely burned Métis homes at Ste. Madeleine, Manitoba to the ground in order to create pasture land for white farmers.
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At the Supreme Court, the Powley case affirmed that Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with harvesting rights protected within Canada’s Constitution

1982
Section 35 Recognizes Métis Rights: Section 35 of the Canada’s Constitution Act, passed in 1982, recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal and treaty rights of Indian, Inuit, and Métis peoples of Canada. Though not initially included in early drafts, section 35 is added after Indigenous activists and organizations push to have their title and rights explicitly recognized by Canada. While section 35 constitutionally protects the Aboriginal rights of Métis in Canada, these rights have been further clarified through a series of subsequent Supreme Court decisions.
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1983
Creation of the Métis National Council: Métis begin to create Métis-specific governance structures to solely represent their rights and interests. At the national level, the Métis National Council (MNC) is established to represent the Métis Nation from Ontario westward.

1992
Charlottetown Accord: The Métis National Council participates in negotiations leading up to the Charlottetown Accord, which addressed Indigenous self-government and parliamentary representation. The Ontario Métis Aboriginal Association was invited to join the MNC and participated in negotiations alongside the other MNC and its Governing Members.

1993
Steve and Roddy Powley Charged: Steve and Roddy Powley, members of the Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community, are charged for harvesting a moose without a license, and decide to fight the charges on the basis that they have a Métis right to harvest for food protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, setting in motion the test case on Métis rights which would become the landmark R v. Powley decision.

1993
Establishment of the Métis Nation of Ontario: The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is established as a Métis-specific governance structure for Métis people and communities in Ontario. The MNO creates the first centralized registry of Métis citizens in the province, and is recognized as the representative body of the Métis Nation in Ontario by the MNC.

1994
The MNO Joins the MNC: The MNO formally joins the MNC as one of its Governing Members.

1994-2003
The Hunt for Justice: In the 1990s, the MNC and its Governing Members initiated the “Hunt for Justice” a coordinated legal strategy aimed to prove that Métis held existing harvesting rights protected by section 35 by defending Métis harvesters in courts. This strategy involved the MNC Governing Members launching several test cases from Ontario-westward to try to get a case that would go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) and finally fulfill the promise of section 35 to the Métis.

1998-2001
The Powley Decision Moves through the Courts: Steve and Roddy Powleys’ Métis right to hunt for food, as members of the SSMMC, are unanimously affirmed by the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ontario Superior Court, and Court of Appeal. The Powley case was part of the Métis Nation’s broad “Hunt for Justice” and as such the Powleys and the SSMMC receive financial and political support from the MNO, the MNC and its Governing Members throughout the legal proceedings.

2002
The National Defintion: After years of consultations, discussions, and debates to reach a national definition for citizenship in the Métis Nation, in an act of Métis self-determination the MNC General Assembly unanimously adopted the following definition: “Métis” means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.”

2003
Powley Decision Upheld by SCC: The SCC upholds the lower court decisions in the Powley case, affirms the Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with harvesting rights protected by section 35, and established a test for the establishment of Métis section 35 rights. Widely celebrated by leaders across the Métis Homeland, the Powley case is a landmark ruling on Métis rights, and clarified many outstanding questions about Métis rights in general, including some that provincial and national governments had used as an excuse to not negotiate with Métis groups.

2004
Interim Harvesting Agreement: MNO and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources reach an agreement to implement the Powley case in Ontario. Known as the Points of Agreement for an Interim Harvesting Agreement, it recognizes the Métis right to regulate harvesting. The MNO implements the Harvester’s Card System, which entitles card holders to harvest in their traditional territories.

2008
Framework Agreement: MNO and the Government of Ontario sign a five-year Framework Agreement designed to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two governments and enhance the MNO’s capacity to serve its members. The agreement recognizes the unique identity and culture of Métis communities in the province. The agreement sets the course for a new collaborative relationship.

2013
Manitoba Métis Federation Inc. v. Canada: The Supreme Court of Canada releases its decision in Manitoba Métis Federation Inc. v. Canada, ruling that the Crown failed to fulfill the land-related promises to the Métis contained within section 31 of the Manitoba Act. The court decision also recognized that the honour of the Crown is engaged in its dealings with the Métis people.

2016
Daniels v. Canada: The Supreme Court of Canada releases its decision in Daniels v. Canada, which affirms that Métis are “Indians” within the meaning of section 91(24) of the Constitution Act of 1867, and that the federal government holds the legal responsibly to legislate on issues related to the Métis.

2017
Framework Agreement, NWOMC: The MNO, represented by the Regional Councilor for Northwestern Ontario and Presidents of the Atikokan, Kenora, Northwest, and Sunset Country Métis Councils and Canada sign the Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community. The agreement represents Canada’s commitment to negotiate with the NWOMC on outstanding claims.

2017
Historic Communities Recognition: After over a decade of collaborative work with Ontario, the MNO and Ontario jointly announce the identification of six historic Métis communities in the province that meet the Powley test criteria. These communities are recognized in addition to the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community recognized by SCC.

2017
Métis Nation Accord: Canada and the Métis Nation sign the Canada-Métis Nation Accord which establishes a permanent bilateral process for a nation-to-nation relationship.

2017
Framework Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation: The MNO, Canada, and Ontario sign the Framework Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation, which sets out a negotiation process for a core self-government agreement.

2018
MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement on Métis Harvesting: After years of negotiations, MNO secures a new MNO-Ontario Framework Agreement on Métis Harvesting in April 2018, replacing the 2004 Interim Harvesting Agreement, accommodating Métis harvesting rights in various areas in the province.

2019
MNO Signs Self-Government Agreement with Canada: The MNO and Canada sign a Métis Government Recognition and Self-Government Agreement. It is the first time in Canada’s history that the federal Crown acknowledged a Métis right of self-government, as recognized and affirmed by section 35. The agreement also recognized that the MNO is mandated to represent its citizens and Métis communities in Ontario comprised of its citizens. The MNA and MN-S sign similar self-government agreements alongside the MNO on the same day.

2023
Updated Self-Government Agreement: The MNO and Canada sign an updated Self-Government Agreement that builds upon the agreement signed in 2019 and formal negotiations between the parties that began in 2017. The 2023 Self-Government Agreement also recognizes that the MNO is a successor to the historic Métis Nation and one of the Métis collectivities that make up the Métis Nation today.