How do we define a Métis community?
This is a difficult question that does not have a straight forward answer. The word "community" can be used in many different ways. It can be used to refer to a collective of individuals in one town or a larger regional collective identity or even the Métis Nation as a whole.
In Powley, the Court said that a "Métis community can be defined as a group of Métis with a distinctive collective identity living together in the same geographic area and sharing a common way of life." The Court found that there is a Métis community in and around Sault Ste. Marie, but it did not deny the possibility that this community may be a part of larger regional community or a distinct Aboriginal people. As well, in Blais, the Court said that Mr. Blais is "a member of the Manitoba Métis community". Issues with respect to identifying the extent of the local and regional communities that make up the Métis Nation will need to be determined through research, consultations with Métis citizens, and discussions with governments.
What does "ancestral connection" to the historic Métis community mean?
This means that one of your ancestors was a member of the historic Métis community.
Does my Métis Citizenship or my MNBC Harvesting Card replace the Provincial licence?
With regards to the recent federal Daniels decision and hunting and fishing in BC, all Métis hunters and fishers still require a BC Government issued Hunting and Fishing licence. The MNBC citizenship card and/or the MNBC Harvesting Card do not replace the Provincial licences at this time. For more information on how the Daniels decision may affect harvesting in BC for Métis please check for updates on our website.
How is Métis identity and Citizenship established in the Central Registry?
Métis identity is established by verifying Métis ancestry; this is done by confirming the applicant’s connection to the Historic Métis Nation Homeland and the founders of the First Métis Nation. With the mandatory genealogical supporting documentation the Central Registry is able to determine this.
The information I am looking for is not listed. Where do I go from here?
I have a membership card from one of the Métis National Council's Governing Members - can I hunt?
Yes, if you can also provide proof of an ancestral and ongoing connection to a historic Métis community in the territory where you are hunting. However, because the Métis National Council's Governing Members are at different stages in the development of their respective registry systems across the Homeland, a membership card alone may not be sufficient as proof. You must ensure you meet all three elements of the Powley test.
Are Métis harvesting rights the same as Indian harvesting rights?
In general, yes. Métis and Indians are to get the same priority allocations to the harvest. However, 1 some places Indian harvesting rights have been extinguished or are now set out in a treaty. In such cases, Métis may have harvesting rights that are different. On the Prairie Provinces, Indians may have two layers of constitutional protection - s. 35 rights and the Natural Resources Transfer Agreement (NRTA). Métis in Manitoba and likely Métis in Saskatchewan and Alberta, as a result of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Blais, cannot claim the additional protection of the NRTA. This does not mean that Métis do not have constitutional protection for their harvesting rights in the Prairies, it simply means that Métis harvesting on the Prairies has only one layer of constitutional protection - s. 35.
Are there limitations on my harvesting rights?
Yes. Conservation, health and public safety are all possible limitations.
What is the extent of the territory my Métis community can harvest on?
In Powley, Steve and Roddy were hunting just outside the city of Sault Ste. Marie. They were well within the traditional harvesting territory of this Métis community. Therefore, the Court did not have to decide and did not decide on the exact extent (i.e. specifically how far outside of Sault Ste. Marie) of the traditional hunting territory of this Métis community. Traditional hunting territory usually refers to the area that was historically used and currently used by a Métis community in order to sustain itself. Determining the extent of the traditional hunting grounds of Métis communities will need to be addressed through land use studies, negotiations and agreements and/or litigation.
Is there anything else I should keep in mind for this fall's harvest?
In line with the Métis Nation's values of conservation and ensuring public safety, please continue to exercise your rights responsibly and respectfully. There is going to be a need for a transition period for governments to come to grips with what the Court has said. This does not mean you should not exercise your community's right to hunt if you meet the Powley test. It just means that until governments sit down with the Métis Nation's governments to negotiate there is going to be some level of uncertainty and we cannot provide definitive answers to all questions. Please continue to be polite, be calm, be respectful and harvest responsibly this fall.
Where can I get answers about the Supreme Court of Canada Decision (Daniel's Decision)?
Please click HERE for Frequently Asked Questions about what the Daniel's decision means and how it affects Métis in BC.