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The Northwest Territory Metis Nation, for the last 40 years or so, has
negotiated in bad faith on a land claim for all Metis people now living
in the north. They have come up with second-class citizens by creating,
then excluding, so-called “Non-Indigenous Metis” people from qualifying
for any land claims as well as any other funding benefits within their
land claims areas.
The use of “non-indigenous Metis” is ridiculous and unrealistic. It has
removed “indignity” from who is Metis and there is no such person.
Even before achieving a final land claims agreement, the Northwest
Territory Metis Nation is already implementing their “Non-Indigenous
Metis”  policy by excluding many Metis people from any government
funding (including COVID-19 relief)  that they are receiving on behalf
of all Metis people.
When we ask why they have done this, they place the blame on federal
government representatives.
If this is true, we will have to find a better way to make sure the
Metis people who are now being left out will be treated equally. There
are no such persons as “non-indigenous Metis” in Canada or anywhere else.
All Metis in Canada are indigenous to Canada.  We would like to work
with the federal officials to solve this problem without having to go to
court again.
As a former president of the Metis in Fort Smith as well as for the
whole Northwest Territories during the ’70s and ’80s, I am very upset! I
have been very disappointed with the so-called leadership who have come
up with that awful idea of “non-indigenous Metis.” Even now, they are
still going ahead with implementing that policy.
I am now encouraging and working with the Metis people who are being
left out to communicate with each other and form a new organization for
themselves in the NWT and maybe even into the Yukon.
There is a great need for the formation of a Northwest Canadian Metis
Federation for the benefit of all indigenous-to-Canada Metis people that
are now being left out – especially by the NWT Metis Nation representatives.
We know for sure that Canadian Metis people who live – and many of them
have lived for many years – within the Northwest Territories as well as
in the Yukon, now being classed as “non-indigenous Metis” far outnumber
the eligible Indigenous Metis – especially in the NWT.
The Canadian, NWT and Yukon governments must not continue to ignore or
forget about these Metis people indigenous to Canada who are now
recognized under the Canadian Constitution. The Manitoba Metis
Federation as well as Harry Daniels took the governments to court and
won. Maybe it is time the Metis in the NWT went to court, too.
For 40 years or so, Canada has spent over 35 million dollars on the
Northwest Territory Metis Nation representatives from only three small
communities –Fort Smith, Fort Resolution and Hay River. That is a lot of
money spent to travel anywhere in Canada for the chosen few, to have a
negotiating process with paid staff and offices for themselves, only.
To top that all off, you can also count all of the funding spent for the
NWT and for the federal governments officials, their travel, their
negotiators, plus for their support staff.
With nothing yet to show for their own people, so far and as many more
of their elders continue to die off, the Northwest Territory Metis
Nation representatives so-called leadership negotiating process
continues with more money being spent by the federal government on the
chosen few and on themselves within their offices.  Nothing at all for
the local people except to cause much heartbreak to many by classing
them as “non-indigenous Metis” who will not qualify for any benefits.
I am fairly sure that the federal government will not forget about that
35 million dollars if and when it is time to sign a final agreement.
Whatever final amount of money they decide to approve will probably be
minus the 35 million they already spent on these guys. In a sense, even
taking that much away more money from the local eligible people
represented by the Northwest Territory Metis Nation. Not much to brag
about with their negotiating skills and so much for Canada’s forgiveness
of that 35 million dollars.

Robert Stevenson says he is “very upset” with how the current leadership of NWT Metis Nations is handling land claims negotiations with the federal government. NNSL File Photo

The so-called leaders of the Northwest Territory Metis Nation are so
well fed by the government funding that they are now afraid to bite the
hand that feeds them. These “leaders ” are so pleased with themselves
that they do not care to fight harder to finish and to finalize their
land claims process for the proper benefit of their people.
The federal and territorial governments’ people are complacent and are
well-fed, too. They are in no hurry to do anything for the Metis people.
They have already broken up the joint Dene-Metis land claims process
that was headed up by “Big Jim” Bourque and Georges Erasmus back then
with their famous divide and conquer tactics. Then they even divided up
and weakened the Dene Nation into smaller local divided regions. Now
they have been at the negotiating table with the Northwest Territory
Metis Nation representatives for about 40 years to keep this
good-for-nothing useless-for-the-people process going. Besides, which
First Nations Dene land are they going to offer to the Metis people?
Agreements for land and resources should first be worked out with, and
agreed to by, the Dene First Nations people and/or Metis people then
with the federal and territorial governments. After all, the land
belongs to the indigenous people –  so said the prime minister.

If he really believes his own words when he said that he forgives the
Northwest Territory Metis Nation the 35 million dollar spending because
he believes that the Metis should not be paying to negotiate for their
own land. If that is true, why has he not already instructed his people
to sign a really good and final agreement deal for all of the Metis
people within the Northwest Territories. He is in charge of the NWT, too
because it is not a province.
Now we must make sure that we are properly recognized as Canadian
indigenous Metis people to help do away with the notion of a class of
“non-indigenous Metis ” which makes us become Canada’s second-class
citizens .
Please do not register or enrol yourselves or your children for
membership as a “non-indigenous Metis” person with the Northwest
Territory Metis Nation or any other Metis group. If you do, you will be
signing away your Metis rights.
If you consider yourself a proud Metis person in good standing within
Canada, now living or from the Northwest Territories, we need your help
to organize as a proper Northwest Canadian Metis Federation.
1. We will gather together a Metis Federation membership for a voters
card; we will have a Canadian Indigenous Metis citizenship registry; we
will have youth, elders, communications, finance, cultural, education,
skills, employment, rights, lands, benefits and lawyers, committees set
up to empower Metis people to tell their own stories; we will notify the
federal, territorial and other governments and agencies that we are open
for business, negotiations or for the courts with offices in the NWT and
Ottawa.
We must help ourselves to help each other for future generations.
As a start please send your information of interest to:
Bob Stevenson
stevenson.metis@gmail.com
613-861-9200.

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