At St. Laurent, the Métis council became a permanent facet of village life. This was simply a natural progression from the hunting councils of earlier times, which were elected only for the duration of the buffalo hunt. Traditionally, captains and leaders were elected to office on the eve of a hunt, and served only until the hunt ended.
The laws that were developed through this practice, known as the laws of the prairie, served only to regulate the hunt, and did not attempt to regulate civil or criminal matters on a permanent basis.
Then, in 1873 the Métis of St. Laurent updated and formalized the laws of the prairie into a written document, known as the Laws of St. Laurent. These laws covered all aspects of Métis life in the district, not just the conduct of people engaged in the hunt. The traditional principles remained unchanged, however. All laws were made by elected representatives of the people. Hunters were governed by hunters. Community members were governed by members of the community who had no special status apart from their proven record of ability and generosity. The only exception to this was the priest who, as part of the Catholic Church, represented forces and ideologies that did not develop and emerge directly form with the Métis community.
The Métis established a written system of enforceable guidelines for both the hunting and the preservation for the remaining buffalo herds. By 1873, the scarcity of buffalo was becoming critical, and the specter of starvation hovered over the people of the North West.
In September 1874, the federal government received a petition from the Métis of Fort Qu'Appelle, asking that steps be taken immediately to preserve the remaining buffalo as food supply for the Aboriginal people. The government in Ottawa, however, exhibited little concern for such matters, and no action was taken on this request.
This government inaction tended to justify the steps taken by the Métis of St. Laurent in creating their own laws for the protection of the buf
The implementation of a Senate should be, in principle, based on the success of the Métis people in the 1700-1800's. The "Buffalo Assembly" and the "Laws of the Prairies" were established by the "community" way of life. These communal commitments ensured the survival of the Métis people during tough times. The basic principles were; no "individual" way of thinking and "that strength was generated from the collective group". These principles were the basis of the historic Métis culture; therefore the present day infrastructure and principles should honor the past.falo. There were three groups of people on the prairies whose very existence depended upon the buffalo.
Each of the seven MNBC Regional Governance Council appoints a highly respected individual to represent their judicial needs on a provincial level. These non-political Senators form the judicial arm of the MNBC.
Contact your Regional Senator
The initial version of the Policies and Procedures developed by the Senate was ratified in March of 2007 by the MNBC Board of Directors. Since that time the policies and procedures have undergone revisions to reflect changes in MNBC legislation and the associated mandate and responsibilities of the Senate.
The Senate's Policy and Procedures enable the conduct of business as described within the MNBC Senate Act.
Senate Appeals Process
Mediation & Arbitration / Regional & Local Disputes
The following processes must be completed before the Senate will entertain an official intervention (as per the MNBC Guidebook and the Community Charters);
- Appellant to Citizen
- Appellant to Community President
- Appellant to Regional Governance Council
- Appellant to Regional Director
- Appellant to MNBC Board of Directors; thus becoming,
- Eligible for a Senate Intervention
Written evidence must be submitted with the application for Senate intervention providing that all mediation attempts have been undertaken. Appellants that apply for intervention, without attempting the above process, will be refused a Senate hearing.
Please contact the Métis Veteran's British Columbia for information pertaining to Veteran's Affairs.
Citizen Appeal *
An Appellant can only appeal their application after they have received a letter from the MNBC Central Registry indicating that they "cannot validate or verify" the citizenship requirements. An appeal will only be granted to those individuals that have exhausted all avenues. Refer to the Senate Policy and Procedures.
Central Registry Appeals *
An Appellant can appeal the decision of the MNBC Central Registry if they feel the process has not been followed or was conducted unfairly. Again, an Appellant can only appeal when all avenues have been exhausted by both the Appellant and the MNBC Central Registry. The Appellant must have received a "cannot validate and verify" letter from the Central Registry. Refer to the Senate Policy and Procedures.
Provincial/Regional Elections - All electoral appeals are initiated by contacting the Chief Electoral Officer and expressing the interest in appealing his/her decision. The Chief Electoral Officer will then supply the applicant with the appropriate application forms and the contact information for the Senate Clerk. Electoral appeals will not be accepted unless the proper protocol is followed.
Community Elections - Although not legislated or required, the MNBC encourages that you please contact your regional Senator either by e-mail and/or phone when a community election is to Occur.
Ceremonial Activities & Exchanges, Conducting Opening/Closing Prayers, Directing Swearing-in Ceremonies & Oaths, Presenting Awards & Gifts of Recognition, Displaying Métis Flags & Sashes
Large-Scale Events (provincial/regional) - Please forward the request to the Senate Clerk. The attendance of the Senate will depend on the availability of funding.
Small-Scale Events (community) - Please contact your regional Senator either by e-mail and/or phone. The attendance of the Senator will depend on the availability of funding.
Natural Resources Offenses & Appeals
The processes and policies are under development between the MNBC Senate and the Captain's Assembly of the B.C. Métis Assembly of Natural Resources. Keep posted for future processes.
* Both Citizenship and Registry appeals conducted by the Senate will assure the Applicant that the process was conducted according to policy and procedure and in a fair and judicial manner. The Senate cannot modify or interpret the MNBC Legislation as this is the duty of the Métis Nation Governing Assembly and the MNBC Annual General Meeting.
2019 Photo L-R (back row) Senator Alan Edkins (Region 1), Senator Jon Sayers (Region 3), Senator Gerald Pope (Regoin 7), Senator Arnold Lucier (R5), Senate Clerk Bill Bresser
(front row) Senator Elizabeth (Betty) Hoogendorn, Senator Philip Gladue, Senator Sandra Conlon
2014 Archive photo: L-R - Senator Gerald Pope, Senator Philip Gladue, Former Senator Al Desmarais, Senator Elizabeth (Betty) Hoogendorn, Former Senator Margaret Penner, Senator Alan Edkins
2010 Archive photo: L-R - Former Senator Bob Adams, Senator Philip Gladue, Senator Alan Edkins, Former Senator Ron Snider, Former Senator Bill Thibeault, Senator Gerald Pope, Former Senator Don Beauchesne
~ Forever in our hearts ~
Senator Al Desmarais
Senator Margaret Penner