Wood Buffalo Métis communities sign Memorandum of Understanding

FORT MCMURRAY – Presidents of the Wood Buffalo Métis communities of Conklin, Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, and Fort McMurray signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today that will establish a foundation for cooperation, coordination, and collective action to pursue the advancement of the Métis people of Wood Buffalo.

McKay Métis President Ron Quintal stated, “We represent the key governing institutions of the Métis people in Wood Buffalo and this MOU has been inspired by the clear need for us to work together to address longstanding issues. We’ve been working together for many years and it was time to formalize our cooperation.”

The Métis communities of Wood Buffalo represent rights-bearing historic and contemporary Métis communities that meet all the criteria set out by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Powley and they form a part of a rights bearing regional community in northeastern Alberta along the terms outlined in R. v Laviolette.

Conklin Métis President Shirley Tremblay stated, “We’re here today because we share a vision of a strong Métis Nation embracing Métis rights, we share a mission to pursue the advancement of the Métis people of Wood Buffalo, and we share a desire to cooperate, coordinate, and undertake collective action to pursue the advancement of Métis people with municipal, provincial, and federal governments, agencies, regulators, industry stakeholders, the courts, and the broader community.”

This Memorandum of Understanding establishes the administrative framework that will facilitate:

Cooperation between the Wood Buffalo Métis communities with respect to matters of common interest;

Coordination on administrative measures with respect to addressing those matters outlined in the introduction; and

Collective action by Wood Buffalo Métis where a consensus determines it is deemed appropriate.

Fort Chipewyan Métis President Jumbo Fraser stated, “Among the priorities we’ll be advancing in the coming weeks, months, and years collectively and individually are:

The Iimplementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People into law as committed to by Premier Notley;

Support for a national inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women;

The development and implementation of a Métis consultation policy;

The inclusion of the Wood Buffalo Métis communities as part of a notice of consultation adequacy by the Alberta Aboriginal Consultation Office;

A new Métis Harvesting Policy that respects and recognizes Métis constitutional rights in northeastern Alberta.

A recommitment by Alberta and Canada to support and continue the Cumulative Environmental Management Association as a forum for multi-stakeholder input into the development of environmental policy;

More affordable/social housing, particularly in rural Wood Buffalo communities;

A focus on adequate health care and police services in rural aboriginal communities in Wood Buffalo;

The Inclusion of Métis culture and history in Alberta’s education curriculum; and

An examination of potential infrastructure Investments, including an all season road to Saskatchewan, improvements to highway 881, and transportation options to alleviate challenges around food security faced in Fort Chipewyan.”

McMurray Métis President Gail Gallupe concluded, “We’re pleased to be here today to formalize our cooperation and continue the process of advancing the Métis people of Wood Buffalo in a coordinated in organized way. We’ll work hard to ensure governments, industry, and other stakeholders are well aware of our interests and that we’re looking to work cooperatively to address the longstanding issues we’ve outlined.”

Representing the rights-bearing historic and contemporary Métis communities of Conklin, Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay and Fort McMurray; the Wood Buffalo Métis cooperate, coordinate, and undertake collective action to pursue the advancement of Métis people in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Governed under a Memorandum of Understanding, Wood Buffalo Métis includes Conklin Métis Local 193, Fort Chipewyan Métis Local 125, The McKay Métis, and McMurray Métis.

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