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OTTAWA, ON, Feb. 5, 2024– Today, the Métis Nation of Alberta/Otipemisiwak Métis Government applauds the adoption of Bill C-53, the Recognition of Certain Métis Governments in Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan and Métis Self-Government Act, by the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAN).
“While we have much more work to do to ensure Bill C-53 becomes federal law, we are pleased to have completed the important stage of the INAN Committee reviewing our historic self-government implementation legislation,” said Andrea Sandmaier, President of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government.
President Sandmaier added, “Our Métis governments worked with members of the committee and are supportive of the amendments that were proposed and ultimately adopted by the INAN Committee.”
274 briefs and 65 witnesses informed the mutually agreeable amendments to address concerns raised.
“The adopted amendments provide further clarity that Bill C-53 does not impact the treaties, lands, rights or interests of other Indigenous peoples in Alberta or other provinces. As we have always said, Bill C-53 is about our internal Métis self-government so we can finally achieve the recognition other Indigenous peoples have had for centuries.”
In Alberta, we recognize that the Alberta Métis Settlements are also Métis governments. We are glad that these amendments confirm that the recognition of our government does not take away from others. We look forward to engaging with the Alberta Métis Settlements in respectful dialogue as we continue to move forward in our self-government journey, while also respecting and supporting their own self-government journey.
“We are hopeful that as Bill C-53 moves to the next stage of the parliamentary process, that we begin to heal the relationships that have been damaged between First Nations and the Métis Settlements. Reconciliation is not a zero sum game,” said President Sandmaier. “We will be reaching out to try to engage in productive dialogue and bring First Nation and Métis in Alberta together.”
In support of this commitment, President Sandmaier appointed a Provincial Secretary for First Nations and Métis Settlements Relations to the first Cabinet of the Otipemisiwak Métis Government, to ensure we prioritize those long-standing and productive relationships. The Provincial Secretary, Karen Collins, will be reaching out to both First Nation and Métis leaders over the next few months to begin these important conversations.
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