Indigenous Education Summit
MNO President Gary Lipinski speaks at the Indigenous Education Summit.

On October 4, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski spoke on behalf of Métis National Council (MNC) President Clément Chartier at the Indigenous Education Summit being held October 4-5 at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. The conference attracted hundreds of delegates from across Canada including the Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada, Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief to the Assembly of First Nations, both who also spoke at the conference. The majority of delegates at the conference came from Aboriginal governments, organizations and communities as well as representatives of other governments, postsecondary and K-12 educational institutions and researchers. In addition to President Lipinski, the MNO was also represented by Jennifer St. Germain, Director of the MNO Education and Training Branch, and Dr. Chris Paci, MNO Manager of Education. Director St. Germain and Dr. Paci presented on improving transitions for Métis learners from high school to Postsecondary institutions.

In his address, President Lipinski explained the efforts being made by Métis governments across the Métis homeland to improve educational opportunities for Métis people and touched on several significant successes. He also drew the delegates’ attention to areas where progress has been slow or impeded by the jurisdictional barrier between Federal and Provincial governments compounded with problems of social and economic disparities including poverty, poor health and inadequate housing that to this day results in lower than average education and employment outcomes for Métis.

Despite difficulties, however, President Lipinski made it clear the Métis Nation is moving forward. “We are moving beyond Federal inaction,” he told the audience, “jurisdictional wrangling will not block progress to the detriment of Métis people and all Canadians. We will continue to use our relationship with the Federal government under the Métis Nation Protocol and our relationship with the provinces through the Aboriginal Affairs Working Group to advance this process. If Ottawa and the Provinces are truly committed to improving living conditions for Métis people. It is time to abandon excuses for not working with us and instead build on our successful track record of delivering results.”