Métis Nation of Ontario attends United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Ontario Métis delegates bring priorities around UNDRIP, Métis health, and climate change to the international stage

Ottawa, ON – The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) is part of a Métis National Council (MNC) delegation attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) this week in New York, alongside MNC leadership and other governing members. MNO leadership participating include President Margaret Froh, Chair Hank Rowlinson, Chief Strategy Officer, Jennifer St. Germain, Youth Council President, Jordyn Playne, Youth Council Chair, Evan Accettola and Legal Counsel, Emily King.

“At this year’s Permanent Forum, the MNO will have the opportunity to help advance domestic and international conversations around the importance of Métis Self-Government Recognition Legislation,” said MNO President, Margaret Froh. “This is a key priority for the MNO and guaranteed under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which stipulates that Indigenous Peoples have the inherent right to autonomy and self-government.”

“This opportunity will also be used to discuss the development of a federal Métis Claims Process to create a framework for dealing with historical grievances around Métis land claims,” said Froh. “The MNO wholeheartedly welcomes the opportunity to discuss Citizen priorities on the international stage and advance Métis participation in cross-border legislation and policy processes.”

The theme of this year’s UNPFII is “Indigenous Peoples, human health, planetary and territorial health, and climate change: a rights-based approach”. This is significant for the MNO as it continues to advocate for Métis inherent rights to self-government and control over Métis health. MNO regularly engages with Citizens to develop successful programs and services that respond to health as it connects to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“The health of the land is inseparable from the health and wellbeing of MNO citizens. Across many venues, the MNO advocates for an understanding of holistic Métis health that encompasses the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural aspects of one’s life,” said Froh. The MNO is committed to working collaboratively with cross-border partners to tackle the climate crisis while advancing and elevating Métis rights and knowledge and engaging in discussions around tools to advocate for these priorities.”

MNO Citizens have a unique understanding of supporting healthy and thriving ecosystems and a desire to develop solutions to the climate crisis. Climate change directly affects Métis health and ways of life and MNO youth in particular show a deep affinity with these issues as they are the next generation to be impacted. Therefore, they are important representatives to have at the UN table.

“Conservation and stewardship of biological diversity ensures the reconciliation and future of Métis cultural identity and rights, which is very important to our next generation,” said MNO Youth Council President, Jordyn Playne. “Métis youth are taking decisive action on climate change mitigation and adaptation and participating in this Forum will offer fresh perspectives on how to best support them on their journeys.”

“Food security, distinctions-based health legislation, and environmental self-determination are key priorities for MNO youth, therefore these are a few of the topics we will bring forward at UNPFII,” said Playne.

The MNC, MNO and other Métis Governing Members will attend several sessions of the UNPFII, including side events hosted by other UN delegations throughout the week. The Forum is taking place from April 17 to 28. This is an important avenue for advocacy around the inclusion of Métis perspectives and experiences at the UN and as Indigenous partners and Canada are in the process of co-developing an Action Plan to implementing the UNDRIP Act, takeaways from this event will help advance those discussions.

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Victoria Belton
Senior Consultant, Media Profile