President’s Monthly E-Newsletter – November 2020

From the Office of MNBC President Clara Morin Dal Col

Thank You to COVID Community Volunteers

On behalf of Métis Nation British Columbia, I would like to personally thank all volunteers in our Chartered Communities across the province who have offered their support during this challenging year. It is proof of our strength as a Nation that when disaster strikes or emergencies unfold, we come together to support those in need. I am so proud of how our Nation has come together.

I have been heartened to hear of the stories coming from our Chartered Communities. Stories of volunteers going the extra mile by checking in on our Elders and the most vulnerable. Volunteers providing rides for community members to get to and from their medical appointments. Volunteers delivering much-needed grocery and gas cards and ensuring our Métis people are supplied adequately with personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

While I wish I was able to thank every one of you formally, and in-person, I want you to know your efforts have not gone unnoticed. As we are in the second wave of COVID-19, your service is greatly appreciated.

Once again, thank you.

Marsi.

President Clara Morin Dal Col

Welcome to the New Cabinet and Regional Representatives

I wish to extend a heart-felt congratulations and welcome to the newly elected Métis Nation BC Cabinet and Regional Representatives. We have some returning faces and some new additions, but overall are very excited to working with the newly elected Regional Reps and Cabinet members moving forward.

A full list of the new Cabinet portfolios can be viewed here.

View my post-election video to the Nation here.

Live-streaming Board Meetings

As a result of great turn out to our live-streamed Swearing In Ceremonies for the Cabinet and Regional Representatives, we are planning on continuing to live-stream major events through our social media channels.We had wonderful feedback from this event, with many comments and lots of engagement from the Métis across B.C. I appreciate all the comments that allow myself and others at MNBC connect with corners of the province we may not otherwise be able to meet during this strange time. Live-streaming presents an exciting way for us to better include and engage with the Métis community across the province in COVID-19 times. Keep an eye on our social media channels for future live-streamed events.

New COVID-19 Funding

Métis Nation BC has secured new funding for COVID-19 supports in preparation for a second wave of the virus hitting our communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, but even harder on Métis communities. After the first wave in the springtime, we asked communities where the spent most of their resource money and found a need for more funding in some areas. For that reason, MNBC has worked hard to secure new funding streams to support Elders in need, provide technology support grants, housing support, grants for post-secondary students and Métis-owned businesses and health support in the form of Métis-made masks and metal health.

Applications are now open and can be found at www.mnbc.ca/COVID as they become available.

Tale of Two Nations

Over the past couple of months, our team has been hard at work getting the word about Métis rights in B.C. out to the public and government officials. In October, we released A Tale of Two Nations which outlines the issues facing Métis in B.C. regarding access to equal rights in the province. During the October election campaign weeks, I wrote letters to the leader of all three major political parties to see what they planned to do for Métis if elected. All parties responded, which can be read here.

I also spoke about A Tale of Two Nations on-air with CBC and in a conversation with the Vancouver Sun.

Update on MA NIKI (My Home) Senior’s Housing Program

The MA NIKI (My Home) Senior’s Housing Program is well underway. So far, MNBC has provided over $1.1 million to 73 seniors in need of home renovations with more funding still available to qualified individuals. The pilot program assists MNBC citizens age 65 and older to improve conditions of a home they own. Detailed criteria and conditions of the program can be found on the MA NIKI page on the MNBC website.

MNBC Suggests Pattullo Bridge Replacement Named After Reconciliation

I wrote a letter to Premier John Horgan recommending to rename the Pattullo Bridge replacement the Reconciliation Bridge. The replacement of the bridge provides B.C. with an excellent opportunity to further reconciliation with all Indigenous peoples. It is only fitting that the bridge, residing on unceded Indigenous territory, be given an Indigenous name.

In the letter, I asked the Premier to consider multiple naming options to represent the Indigenous population, including selecting a prominent local Indigenous person to name it after, using a local Indigenous word for the bridge or even simply Reconciliation Bridge. Selecting an Indigenous name reminds every British Columbian that the reconciliation process is ongoing, serving as a long lasting monument to enhanced relations with all Indigenous peoples.

My letter to John Horgan can be found here. Coverage by the Vancouver Sun can be found here while coverage by Global News can be found here.

New Funding Announcements

I am very excited to tell you about new funding from the Government of Canada’s Ministry of Heritage. So far, we have received $250,000 towards our Indigenous Languages Revitalization The Métis Nation is at a critical turning point for the protection and revitalization of our Métis languages. A generation of fluent Michif language speakers are passing away. The Michif language is considered endangered, and urgent action is needed for Michif to survive. This funding will help us to revitalize and protect our languages. Click here to read more.

We also received mental wellness surge and adaptation funding in the amount of $937,500 from the Government of Canada. The funding provided will support activities into 2021, and will help introduce mental health services to meet the increasing need and demands of our Nation. It will also support the culturally-safe adaptation of available mental wellness services and delivery models to fit a COVID-19 context, including front line service adaptations, such as virtual counselling. Click here to read more.