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BC Métis Federation Files Human Rights Complaint In Response To Hate Speech In Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Resolution

Press Release

Vancouver, British Columbia, August 3, 2023 — The BC Métis Federation (BCMF) has filed a Human Rights Complaint under the Human Rights Code in response to Resolution no. 2023-39 (the Resolution) passed by the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) on June 8, 2023.

The UBCIC Resolution and the accompanying UBCIC press release contain inflammatory language that BCMF deems discriminatory and hate speech. The Resolution and accompanying statements make baseless claims that BCMF “regularly engage[s] in a form of Métis colonialism,” and that “no Métis communities exist or have ever existed in BC.” These statements are likely to expose Métis people in British Columbia to detestation and vilification on the basis of their Indigenous identity, race, ancestry and place of origin.

“It is deeply offensive that UBCIC is attempting to erase the existence of tens of thousands of Métis people in British Columbia, many of whom remain in and contribute to Métis kinship networks and communities,” says Keith Henry, BCMF President. “We are appalled that the UBCIC is perpetuating harm against fellow Indigenous peoples and are left with no choice but to file this complaint at the highest level. To deny our existence is to deny their own First Nation grandmothers who married non-Indigenous men in the 1800s throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

The recognition of Métis as a self-determining people is protected by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, in which Métis are specifically identified as an “aboriginal people of Canada” with existing aboriginal rights. This constitutional recognition in 1982 empowered many Métis families and persons throughout Canada that had previously hidden their Métis identity to embrace their unique heritage.

BCMF is therefore filing a Human Rights Complaint under the Human Rights Code, specifically claiming contravention of both Section 7(1)(a) and 7(1)(b) of the Human Rights Code which protects against discriminatory publication based on, among other things, Indigenous identity and place of origin.

UBCIC did not respond to BCMF’s communications requesting the Resolution’s retraction before the end of June. BCMF is now seeking a declaratory order that the UBCIC has contravened the Human Rights Code and has called for a public retraction of the Resolution and accompanying Press Release statements.  BC Métis Federation is also demanding an order that the UBCIC executive be required to complete training and education on the history of Métis peoples in British Columbia and the history of the Pacific Northwest.

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About BCMF

The BC Métis Federation (BCMF) is a non-profit association that works with Métis communities to ensure the well being of BCMF members. Through grassroots efforts, BCMF advocates on behalf of its many members, living all across the province.

Media Contact

Keith Henry, President, BC Métis Federation
P: 778-388-5013
E: K.Henry@BCMetis.com

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