Fort Frances, ON – October, 2009 — Ontario’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Brad Duguid recently had a chance to hear directly from Métis citizens about the challenges they face in the fishing, logging and trapping industries. The opportunity arose during a weekend visit to Fort Frances during the first of several community visits planned for the Minister by the MNO Lands, Resources and Consultations Branch. The visits are designed to bring Métis issues to the Minister in a personal way and provide an opportunity for him to engage with Métis citizens on a one to one basis.

A cool Fort Frances Day greeted Minister Duguid and his Executive Assistant Tamar Heisler as they stepped off the plane in Fort Frances on Saturday. The visit was hosted by MNO President Gary Lipinski and Sunset Métis Council President Clint Calder.

The visit began with a tour of Fort Frances with stops at the Calder Memorial and Pithers Point Park. Brian Tucker of the Lands, Resources and Consultations Branch joined the group and Minister Duguid was briefed on the history of the local Métis and the contributions of Métis families to the town and the region.

The second stop was at Blaine and Janice Tucker’s commercial fishery. Blaine was at the controls as the boat sped across Rainy Lake to the fishery. First the group joined Blaine to lift a commercial fishing net. Back at the fishery, Blaine gave a fish processing demonstration and a tour of the fishery facilities. Throughout the day President Lipinski, Blaine, and Brian used every opportunity to speak to the minister about the fishing, trapping and logging industries in the area with a focus on the challenges for Métis.

The final stop was the Sunset Country Métis Hall, where preparations were underway for the Fall Harvest Dinner. Minister Duguid and Tamar met with local Métis and were introduced to wild rice harvesting and preparation, trapping and furs, and beading and sewing.

The visit, which was organized to demonstrate to the Minister and the province the New Relationship Funding in action, was deemed a success by the MNO. The Lands, Resources and Consultation Branch has plans for many similar visits across the province. Not only is it an opportunity to ensure the province is made aware of the other NRF success stories, it is also a chance to demonstrate the unique, community based governance structures that support the Métis Nation of Ontario.

For further information please contact:

Janet Leader.

Métis Nation of Ontario, Ottawa