Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba
Terms of Reference
The AJI's recommendations were generally framed broadly, and were intended to apply to all Aboriginal people and communities in the province, including Métis people and communities. As an exception to the preceding proposition regarding the inclusive nature of the recommendations, the AJI recommended that a mandated Métis Child and Family Service agency, with jurisdiction over Métis and non-status Indian children throughout Manitoba, be developed in conjunction with the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) (AJI, Volume I, page 540).
The AJIC reaffirmed this recommendation, which has been accepted by the Manitoba government. Further
discussion of this issue appears in Chapter Ten of this report. However, since most of the AJI recommendations have not been implemented, it follows that the AJI recommendations pertaining to the Métis have, by and large, not been implemented.
The RCAP devoted an entire chapter to Métis issues, and made the following ten major recommendations that involve the federal and provincial governments.
Political negotiation on a nation-to-nation or analogous basis be the primary method of resolving Métis issues.
Every person who
identifies himself or herself as Métis, and
is accepted as such by the nation of Métis people with which that person wishes to be associated, on the basis of criteria and procedures determined by that nation,
be recognized as a member of that nation for purposes of nation-to-nation negotiations and as Métis for that purpose.
The government of Canada either
acknowledge that section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 applies to Métis people and base its legislation, policies and programs on that recognition; or
collaborate with appropriate provincial governments and with Métis representatives in the formulation and enactment of a constitutional amendment specifying that section 91(24) applies to Métis people.
If it is unwilling to take either of these steps, the government of Canada make a constitutional reference to the Supreme Court of Canada, asking that court to decide whether section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 applies to Métis people.
The substance of the constitutional amendments relating to the Metis Settlements of Alberta, referred to in section 55 of the Charlottetown Accord and contained in sections 12 and 23 of the Draft Legal Text of 9 October 1992, be enacted as soon as possible by joint action of the Parliament and government of Canada and the legislature and government of Alberta.
When implementing this Commission's recommendations on education affecting Aboriginal persons, great care be exercised to ensure the preservation and propagation of distinct Métis cultures. Measures to achieve that goal might include, where appropriate,
consultation with Métis elders when educational programs are being planned;
establishment of and public funding support of separate Métis schools where numbers warrant;
assisted access to post-secondary education for Métis persons;
creation of a college or faculty of Métis studies and professorships, scholarships and programs of Métis studies; and
provision of residential facilities in post-secondary educational institutions that will be congenial to Métis students.
When implementing the recommendations made in Volume 3, all governments and relevant agencies bear in mind the distinct circumstances of Métis culture and languages.
Governments and private authorities and agencies should collaborate with authorized Métis representatives on measures to preserve, cultivate and study elements of Métis culture, including the following:
Aboriginal languages: to encourage and assist Métis people to learn and use the Aboriginal languages with which their Métis ancestors were historically associated;
Michif language: to implement, with Métis collaboration and public funding, special measures to save Michif from extinction and to encourage and assist Michif research and instruction;
research and publications about Métis history and culture: to provide financial support for research and publications to disseminate information about Métis Nation history and culture by means of print, radio, television, film, theatre and other modes of expression;
historical sites: to establish major Métis cultural history centres at historically significant sites such as Batoche and the Forks in Winnipeg, to be owned and operated by Métis representatives; and
repatriation of artifacts: to repatriate major Métis artifacts from public and private collections to appropriate Métis-run locations.
The governments of Canada and the relevant provinces and territories be prepared to make available, through negotiations with each recognized nation of Métis people, land bases sufficient in number, size, location and quality to permit the fulfilment of the nation's legitimate social, cultural, political and economic aspirations.
The governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta
recognize immediately that the right, under the Constitution Act, 1930, of "Indians" of those provinces to hunt, trap and fish for food in all seasons on unoccupied Crown land and other land to which they have a right of access applies to all Métis persons in those provinces;
consult with leaders of the Métis Nation when determining who qualifies as a Métis person for that purpose;
give the same right to non-status Indians residing in the prairie provinces after they have demonstrated their Aboriginal ancestry by some prescribed and fair method; and
give the same right to Aboriginal persons residing outside the prairie provinces unless it has been extinguished by a legally binding extinguishment measure, and extend the right, where appropriate, to public waters.
Federal, provincial and territorial governments
be prepared to enter into temporary land use agreements with Métis nations while land claims negotiations are pending or continuing; and
be prepared, where appropriate, to consider longer-term land use agreements with Métis nations, perhaps in association with other interests, Aboriginal or private.
The governments of Canada and of relevant provinces and territories
be prepared to negotiate immediately with appropriate Métis representatives (as well as, where appropriate, other Aboriginal governments) on the manner in which Métis self-government will be recognized by and integrated with other governments and assisted to become financially self-sufficient; and
pursue independently and swiftly those aspects of self-government that are not dependent upon land base considerations, although it will be appropriate for part of these negotiations to take place in the context of negotiations concerning the nation's land base.
The Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission recommends that:
The Government of Manitoba develop and adopt, with the full participation of the Manitoba Metis Federation, a comprehensive Métis policy on matters within its jurisdiction.
The Government of Manitoba cooperate with the federal government and other provinces, where appropriate, on the implementation of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry and the RCAP recommendations.
In order to assist the parties in this respect, the Commission has placed a policy discussion paper that it commissioned, entitled Toward a Métis Policy, on its website.
The Commission also draws attention to its comments and recommendations elsewhere in this final report
concerning the need for changes to current provincial government institutions in order to better design and implement Aboriginal policies, and to its recommendation that the Province establish an Aboriginal Justice Commission with the structure and functions proposed by the AJI (AJI, Volume I, page 657 ff.).
Early in its mandate, the AJIC consulted with the MMF on the priorities of the Métis people in the province.
These were identified as the following:
the recognition and protection of the rights of the Métis in the province including:
protection of Métis interests from northern hydroelectric developments
protection of Métis interests in the Treaty Lands Entitlement process
policies and actions to establish certainty in the law, pertaining to the nature and scope of Métis rights
clarification of provincial jurisdiction and responsibility concerning Métis people
discussions on progress concerning the MMF litigation relating to Métis lands provisions in the Constitution of Manitoba
increasing Métis participation in the Winnipeg Police force
discussions on establishing an enumeration and registry of Métis persons in the province
clarification regarding the Métis commercial fishing industry and Métis hunting rights
In order to give early attention to these priorities, the AJIC, in its first quarterly report, recommended that:
Representatives of the Province enter forthwith into discussions with the MMF to begin the process of addressing matters within the jurisdiction of Manitoba that have been the subject of recommendations by the AJI and the RCAP.
The AJIC has been informed that the Manitoba government has proposed that the matters referred to in this recommendation be addressed through the current Métis Self-Government Tripartite Process, which includes the Manitoba Metis Federation and the provincial and federal governments.