KAMLOOPS — “It’s been so many years that we’ve waited to get some recognition,” said Dave Barron, Metis Elder.
For Barron, that recognition came yesterday, as the country’s highest court ruled unanimously that all Metis, as well as non-status aboriginal people are officially First Nations, which puts them under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. After years of being shuffled back and forth, between Federal and Provincial governments, this ruling puts that question to rest.
Patrick Savard, of Lii Michif Otipemisiwak Family and Community Services, says his people will get peace of mind from the ruling. “Now we know where to negotiate. It’s stopped this little end game of back and forth,” Savard told CFJC Today. “Now we are legally the responsibility of the Federal government.”
it’s a decision which has been 17 years in the making. The case was originally launched by Metis leader Harry Daniels, who was then president of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.
“People considered [Daniels] a bit of a radical. He stood up very strongly for the rights of the Metis, and the non-status people.”
Daniels passed away in 2004, but his son Gabriel was there when the decision came down. “I just wish my father was here…” said Daniels. “How would he react? He’s probably be doing a jig right now.”
While this ruling doesn’t grant Metis and non-status first nations people the same rights as those with status, Dave Barron says he’s proud of how far his people have come.
“For years, you know, Metis… never admitted [who we were],” Barron said, “A lot of our parents and elders never admitted, because they still feared.”
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