Métis and non-status aboriginals across Canada are celebrating after Thursday’s historic Supreme Court ruling that they now fall under federal jurisdiction.
The energy in the room was palpable on Thursday night at the Nistawoyou Association Friendship Centre as members of Fort McMurray’s Métis community gathered to celebrate the occasion.
McMurray Métis Council member Cindy Punko spoke at the event, emphasizing the impact that the ruling will have on generations of Métis and non-status individuals.
“It has a huge impact on all of Canada and all of the Métis people in Canada,” said Punko.
“This is going to affect my grandchildren [and] generations to come.”
Plunko also paid tribute to famous Métis leaders Louis Riel and to Harry Daniels, the latter becoming the face of the modern fight to get full recognition from the Canadian government.
Daniels championed the cause of Métis rights at the federal level from 1999 until his death in 2004.
The new ruling formally concludes the case that had continued being fought in his name, Daniels v. Canada.
Ward 1 Councillor Colleen Tatum addressed guests, expressing congratulations on behalf of the RMWB and her fellow council members.
Tatum, whose husband and children are Métis, also shared the personal significance of the ruling to her and her family.
“I think it means their [the childrens’] future is set up for even more success,” said Tatum.
As she explains, “It means that the nation-to-nation negotiations will be done differently and, for them, that’ s a big change…and that’s something that they deserve.”
McMurray Metis General Manager Dan Stuckless feels that the Supreme Court came out on the right side of history with its decision and he hopes to see positive change in relations between Alberta Métis and the provincial government.
“Unfortunately they haven’t had a great track record dealing with Métis, so we’re hoping that will change,” said Stuckless, adding “I think this really will help us get there and we’re looking forward to moving things forward.”
To find out more about the McMurray Metis, click here.