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definition - Métis_in_Alberta

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Métis in Alberta


Métis in Alberta are Métis people who live in the Canadian province of Alberta. The Métis are the decedents of mixed First Nations/native Indian and White/European families. The Métis are considered an aboriginal group under Canada's constitution but are separate from the First Nations and have different legal rights. In Alberta, unlike in the rest of Canada, Métis people have had certain lands reserved for them, known as Métis Settlements.



Métis history in Alberta begins with the Fur Trade in North America. The Métis were created as a people by the interactions of White fur trading agents with First Nations communities. Métis populations grew up around fur trading posts of the North-West and Hudson's Bay companies.[1] For example, Fort Edmonton spawned a large Métis population that was involved in an annual buffalo hunt for many years.[2] These Métis helped to establish the nearby settlements of Lac Ste Anne (1844), St. Albert (1864?), Lac la Biche (1853), and St. Paul de Metis.[3] After the Rupert's Land was sold to Canada in 1869, and after the two Riel Rebellions when Métis further east in Manitoba and Saskatchewan took up arms against the Canadian government, Albertan Métis were forced off their lands and reduced to poverty.

As a response to Métis dispossession and impoverishment, the government of Alberta created twelve Métis settlements in 1938 by way of the Métis Population Betterment Act. In the late 1950s four of these settlements (Touchwood, Marlboro, Cold Lake, and Wolf Lake) were closed, requiring residents to relocate to one of the remaining eight settlements. All eight current settlements are located at a latitude north of Edmonton and operate under the authority of the Métis Settlements Act.

Recently, many Métis people have moved to larger urban centres, becoming urban aboriginals.

  The Mountain Métis

The Mountain Métis are a distinct Métis group who are descended from Métis who lived in the Athabasca River Valley near Jasper House in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. In 1909 and 1910 a small group of families who were evicted from Jasper National Park by the federal government to enable the creation of the park. They were compensated only for their improvements made to the land and not the land itself. Their descendents have fought since that time for compensation and recognition of their rights as an Aboriginal group. Their lobbying (along with non-Métis trappers and guides) was partly responsible the creation of the Willmore Wilderness Park in the 1950s, which they hoped would protect this hunting and trapping ground from oil and gas exploration.[4] They have since come into conflict with some environmentalists and government official who would prefer exclude hunting and trapping from all parks in Alberta.[5]

The Mountain Métis are represented by Grande Cache Metis Local 1994.

  Métis Nation of Alberta

Métis people in Alberta are also represented by the Métis Nation of Alberta.

The Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) has a long history. Since its inception in 1928, it has existed to advocate on behalf of and meet the needs and aspirations of Métis people in Alberta.

The mandate of the MNA is to:

  • be a representative voice on behalf of Métis people in Alberta;
  • provide Métis people an opportunity to participate in government’s policy and decision making process; and, most importantly;
  • promote and facilitate the advancement of Métis people through the pursuit of self-reliance, self-determination and self-management.

Overall, the MNA has evolved from an organization:

  • with a small membership to an organization whose membership exceeds 35,000 people spread across the Province;
  • focused on community consultation and representation to an organization that is both a representative body and a program and service provider;
  • responsible for implementing specific projects to an organization responsible for providing ongoing programs and services;
  • that simply reacted to government policy changes to an organization that is called upon to actively participate in the policy-making process.

Over the past 15 years, a new set of expectations has been established for the MNA through the:

  • Alberta/MNA Framework Agreement process;
  • Federal/Provincial/MNA Tripartite Process Agreement process; and
  • Government of Alberta’s Aboriginal Policy Framework.

This period has also seen a steady rise in the number of Métis people in the Province who have registered as members of the MNA. Membership in the MNA grew by almost 300% in the last decade. Clearly, more and more Métis people in Alberta recognize the benefits of MNA memberships and the importance of the MNA as an organization.

As well, the MNA has made a transition from solely a representative body to an organization responsible and accountable for the ongoing delivery of a variety of programs and services. The MNA has continued to make significant strides as an organization and has been successful in developing and implementing a number of projects and initiatives (including Apeetogosan Development Inc., Métis Urban Housing Corporation of Alberta and the Aboriginal Human Resource Development Agreement – Labour Market Unit.)

The MNA has accepted new responsibilities and expectations and is moving towards becoming a more “results-based” organization. It has addressed issues relating to internal governance and has, in turn, developed the administrative capacity to meet the expectations that are placed upon it.

The MNA has proven itself very capable of playing a role in the policy development process. Its elected officials and staff sit on a wide range of committees responsible for an even wider array of issues.

The MNA, like any organization, has gone through a distinct evolution in its history. While it has had to deal with any number of contentious issues over the years, the MNA’s development has been built upon a strong record of successes, often achieved with minimal financial resources.

  Métis settlements

The Metis Settlements General Council "is the political and administrative body for the collective interests of the eight Metis Settlements... the General Council has 44 members consisting of 40 elected members from the Settlements, and 4 elected Executive members."[6]

  List of Métis settlements

Métis settlements in Alberta
Name Area* Population
(km²) (acres)
Buffalo Lake Métis Settlement 353.8 87,420 1,206
East Prairie Métis Settlement 333.8 82,480 906
Elizabeth Métis Settlement 261.8 64,690 820
Fishing Lake Métis Settlement 386.3 95,464 952
Gift Lake Métis Settlement 861.6 212,916 999
Kikino Métis Settlement 456.0 112,675 1,113
Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement 1,728.9 427,214 1,089
Peavine Métis Settlement 840.0 207,577 905

*Areas generated from provincial Métis settlement boundary data.

  See also


  External links



All translations of Métis_in_Alberta

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