by Jaime Battiste, Citizenship Coordinator, KMKNO

Over the years, Mi’kmaq people have seen the landscape of Atlantic Canada become more and more multicultural and reflective of the cultures of people who originate from various parts of the world. Constitutionally recognized as Aboriginal peoples of Canada, the Métis are one such group who have historic recognition in Ontario, the Prairie Provinces, and northern territories (Northwest); however organizations in the Atlantic have recently been established claiming Métis recognition as well. This article is meant to explain what the Courts and Métis Organizations have stated in regards to Métis rights and their traditional territory.

The rights that the Métis have, as an Aboriginal group, differ from that of First Nations/Indians because of their history and special status in Canada. The history of the Métis is tied with the Fur Trade in Western and Central Canada. At a time when trappers began to start families with women of First Nations decent, the Métis population began to grow in numbers and distinct Métis communities were established. Over the years, the Métis population continued to grow and began to move into many areas west of Ontario, especially throughout Manitoba. According to the Métis National Council, “a new Aboriginal people emerged – the Métis people – with their own unique culture, traditions, language (Michif), way of life, collective consciousness and nationhood.”

Many of us have been taught in school about the Méti ...

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