21 August, 2017
Ontario and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) are pleased to announce that collaborative work has resulted in the identification of historic Métis communities located throughout Ontario.
In the spirit of reconciliation, the province and the MNO have been working together to determine whether historic Métis communities existed in given areas in Ontario. As a result of this collaboration, six new historic Métis communities have been identified:
- The Rainy River / Lake of the Woods Historic Métis Community
- The Northern Lake Superior Historic Métis Community
- The Abitibi Inland Historic Métis Community
- The Mattawa / Ottawa River Historic Métis Community
- The Killarney Historic Métis Community
- The Georgian Bay Historic Métis Community
These historic Métis communities developed their own distinctive collective identities, each with its own customs, practices, and traditions. While identification of these historic Métis communities is a significant milestone, this alone does not determine who in Ontario is Métis or who holds Métis rights, nor define Métis harvesting areas or territories.
Working in partnership with the MNO to identify historic Métis communities is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation. It reflects the government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
“Ontario has built a strong partnership with the Métis Nation of Ontario and we are committed to advancing meaningful reconciliation and fulfilling our constitutional obligations to Métis. In circumstances where there are overlapping obligations to First Nations and Métis, Ontario is committed to working together with affected partners to reach fair and balanced resolutions.”
— David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
“The Métis Nation of Ontario is pleased and proud to announce the results of our collaborative work with Ontario in identifying historic Métis communities. The advancement and recognition of Métis rights has always been and remains the highest priority for our citizens and communities. This important milestone provide a foundation for meaningful reconciliation as well as future negotiations with the Crown on these important issues.”
— France Picotte, Acting President of the Métis Nation of Ontario
- In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed in the R v Powley decision the existence of a Métis community in and around Sault Ste. Marie, with its own distinctive Métis culture. This case also recognized that this community has a Métis right to hunt for food. Under the Powley framework, the first step to recognize Métis rights is identifying whether an historic Métis community existed in a given area
- Métis are recognized as one of the three distinct Aboriginal peoples with rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
- Distinct historic Métis communities began to emerge as a result of the fur trade in what is now Ontario. These communities developed along strategic water and trade routes prior to Crown government effecting political and legal control in these areas.