On October 22nd, 2017, as an important step towards Métis self-government, the Provisional Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario (“PCMNO”) passed a resolution that has initiated a review of all MNO Registry citizenship files in order to prepare for the issuance of new MNO Citizenship Cards that will verify each new card-holder as a member of a rights-bearing Métis community and a Métis rights-holder under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
This review—which is being called the MNO Registry and Self-Government Readiness Process (the “RSRP”)—is being undertaken in anticipation of formal self-government and Métis rights negotiations beginning with Canada and Ontario. For more information on the MNO’s continued progress on rights and self-government read about the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation and MNO-Canada Framework Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Métis Community in Northwestern Ontario. More information on MNO’s progress on the hunt for justice related to Métis Harvesting can be found here.
It is also being done because of the MNO’s steadfast position that all of its citizens are Métis rights-holders—not just Harvester Card holders. However, because of changes to the MNO citizenship definition over the years and a lack of capacity for the MNO Registry prior to 2004, there are some citizenship files that are incomplete and may not currently meet the requirements.
Since the RSRP was initiated, the MNO has been providing citizens with regular updates and additional information. Below are links to these updates and additional information.
The RSRP will involve a review of all existing MNO citizenship files to determine whether they meet the requirements for MNO citizenship as set out in the MNO Bylaws and MNO Registry Policy, which align with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Powley for the identification of Métis rights-holders. When a citizenship file is complete, that MNO citizen will receive a letter from the Registry indicating their file is complete. They will receive a form with the letter that must be completed so that they can be issued a new citizenship card. This form must be accompanied by a new picture and there is a specific designated area on the form that they will need to sign so that their signature can be incorporated into their new citizenship card.
Sample of new MNO citizenship card:
If there is documentation missing in a MNO citizen’s file, a letter will be sent to the citizen informing them of what is necessary to complete their file and they will be provided a reasonable amount of time to provide the necessary documentation to the MNO Registry. In addition, the MNO will be retaining the consulting firm Know History to assist with this review, as they are widely recognized as leading researchers on Métis history in Ontario. Further, materials will be provided that will provide assistance and suggestions on how a citizen’s file could be completed, including, how to use the recently completed Ontario Métis Root Ancestors packages that are available at: /registry/citizenship/ontario-métis-root-ancestors/.
Through the RSRP, the MNO Registry will also be able to obtain a better understanding of exactly “who” the MNO represents for future negotiations on self-government and Métis rights. For example, as a part of the review the MNO will know how many of its citizens ancestrally connect to one of the seven recognized rights-bearing Métis communities in Ontario* as well as how many ancestrally connect to the Métis Nation in western Canada, but now live in Ontario.
In order to show leadership on this issue and provide MNO citizens certainty that they are being represented by Métis rights-holders at the regional and provincial levels, the RSRP will start with the elected leadership, beginning with the PCMNO.
The MNO will be developing additional communication products on the RSRP as well as create a dedicated webpage for MNO citizens to explain the process further.
*These identified Ontario Métis communities include the Georgian Bay and Environs Historic Métis Community, the Killarney and Environs Historic Métis Community, the Sault Ste. Marie and Environs Métis Community, the Northern Lake Superior Historic Métis Community, the Abitibi Inland Historic Métis Community, and the Mattawa / Ottawa River and Environs Historic Métis Community, the Rainy River / Lake of the Woods / Treaty 3 Historic Métis Community.
Posted: October 31, 2017
Updated: June 7, 2019