Métis Nation of Ontario Governance
Who We Are
The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) brings Métis citizens together to celebrate and share their rich culture, heritage and values and to forward their aspirations as a people, one of the founding Aboriginal peoples of Canada, whose Treaty and Aboriginal rights are recognized and affirmed in Canada’s Constitution.
Initially formed in 1994, after a founding delegates meeting that brought together Métis people from across the Province of Ontario, the MNO is our representative body at the provincial and national levels within Canada and at the international level. Its principles are based on the right of self-determination and inherent right of self-government. The MNO strives to promote and protect the rights of its citizens, including their rights to resources and to harvesting.
The MNO is representative of a rights-bearing people and as such strives to develop appropriate “Nation to Nation” and “Government to Government” relationships with First Nations and all other governments within Canada. The MNO is the regional governing member of the Métis National Council. It participates internationally at the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) and works in partnership with Indigenous organizations outside of Canada for the betterment of all of our communities.
The MNO provides the opportunity through its activities to allow Métis communities across Ontario to flourish and to enhance the preservation of Métis culture and traditions. The MNO seeks to bring positive change to the socio-economic circumstances of our communities and in creating self-sustainability. It provides programs and services to its citizens to improve health care, job and income status and to find funds for education. It strives to bring about a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the dynamic history of the Métis Nation and in its contributions to the building of Canada.
The founding delegates established the fundamental principles of a representative organization intended to reflect the values and aspirations of a proud people. Determined to avoid the failure and narrow vision evident in so many organizations driven primarily by self-interest and short-term goals, the delegates made a conscious decision against a 'corporate' focus. Instead, they sought to bind their people together in the spirit of nation-building.
Today, over 380 communities are included in the MNO Registry, the only registry of Métis in Ontario recognized by the historic Métis Nation, and represented by the Métis National Council. Although the MNO offers the most legitimate way in Ontario for Métis people to be recognized, we believe that the overwhelming response has been inspired by the values upon which the Métis Nation was founded, a vision that goes beyond short-term corporate interests and service delivery, and aspires to action consistent with our values.
The process of articulating our values and principles resulted in extensive consultation. In turn, these consultations led to the development of the Statement of Prime Purpose, a document that expresses the essence of what the MNO is all about. The Statement of Prime Purpose embodies the vision of the Métis Nation, and is central to all aspects of the MNO, from the genesis of our written constitution, policies and laws, to our democratic processes and institutions.
Another fundamental decision of the MNO is that the Métis Nation should develop a credible registry of the Métis in Ontario. In numerous instances our people have been held back by the question, "who are the Métis?" In order to avoid this hindrance in future generations, the MNO's registry process was established. Unlike organizations that issue cards to anyone who claims to be Métis, MNO applicants must supply proper genealogical documentation and proof of Aboriginal ancestry. This process insures the integrity of the MNO registry; provides a new wealth of Métis history, and a genealogical database that will serve future generations.
The main purpose of the Métis Nation of Ontario is to support and further the development of self-government institutions for the Métis Nation in Ontario and to represent and advocate for the distinct interests for the Métis people of Ontario. The overarching aspirations and goals of the MNO are articulated within the Statement of Prime Purpose. These values and principles are the fundamental building blocks, which guide the MNO's governance and decision-making systems. The MNO operates in accordance with a written Constitution.
The Métis Nation of Ontario is proud of its achievements in establishing and pushing a Métis specific agenda in Ontario. The MNO has made great strides for Métis through its pursuit of Métis hunting and fishing rights, human resource development and training, Métis bursary and scholarship programs, and the development of a Métis self-governance structure within Ontario. As well, the Métis Nation is now recognized internationally by the United Nations, through the Métis National Council (MNC).
The MNO makes it possible for the Métis in Ontario to hold their heads high, no longer tolerant of being treated as second-class citizens, and third-class Aboriginal people. As a people, we have decided to take our rightful place as an equal and distinct Aboriginal people in Canada. The MNO brings Métis people together to celebrate and share their rich culture and heritage and to fulfill their aspirations and dreams.
Two international principles form the basis for the recognition of the Métis as a people: self-identification and community acceptance. To be registered in the Métis Nation of Ontario, applicants must obviously self-identify as Métis, but the Métis Nation must also accept them. Acceptance by the Métis Nation is dependent upon the following criteria:
As Adopted at the Métis National Council’s 18th AGA in Edmonton, AB on September 27th -28th, 2002
1.1 "Métis" means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of Historic Métis Nation ancestry, and is accepted by the Métis Nation.
Defined Terms in National Definition of Métis
1.2 "Historic Métis Nation" means the Aboriginal people then known as Métis or Half-breeds who resided in the Historic Métis Nation Homeland
1.3 "Historic Métis Nation Homeland" means the area of land in west central North America used and occupied as the traditional territory of the Métis or Half-breeds as they were then known.
1.4 "Métis Nation" means the Aboriginal people descended from the Historic Métis Nation which is now comprised of all Métis Nation citizens and is one of the "aboriginal peoples of Canada" within the meaning of s.35 of the Constitution Act 1982.
1.5 "Distinct from other Aboriginal peoples" means distinct for cultural and nationhood purposes.
For more information on the Metis Nation of Ontario and the Metis definition, visit www.metisnation.org.
http://www.telusplanet.net/public/dgarneau/metis40b.htm - doing some research on your Metis ancestors, check this site out
http://www.metisfamilyservices.com – amazing resources and literature for Metis families
http://www.real-eyes.ca/afrc/index.html Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group