BC Métis Federation

Métis Identification Symposium

FINAL REPORT
May 11
th
, 2013
Prince George, BC




BC Métis Federation Board and Friends May 11
th
, 2013




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Contents
Executive Summary ............................................................................................................. 3
Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................... 5
Methodology......................................................................................................................... 6
Marketing Activities .............................................................................................................. 8
Budget .................................................................................................................................. 9
BC Mètis Federation Presenters ......................................................................................... 10
Breakout Sessions – What Did People Say? ....................................................................... 12
Recommendations from Métis Identity Symposium ........................................................... 13
Conclusion .......................................................................................................................... 14




Métis Cultural Ambassador and board member Beverly Lambert (left) and
Métis Identification Symposium presenter from Manitoba Lawrie Barkwell (right)



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Executive Summary

The BC Métis Federation leadership completed the Métis Identification Symposium in Prince
George, BC on May 11
th
, 2013 at the Coast Inn of the North hotel. The Métis Identification
Symposium was mandated by BC Mètis Federation Annual General Meeting delegates in
September 2012 at the first Annual General Meeting based on the following resolution:

Be it resolved that: the BC Métis peoples political representatives which is
comprised of the BCMF Executive and Board of Directors, make in an immediate
priority today and going forward, to legally address Section 35 and Section 25 of
the Canadian Constitution, in legally clarifying the Métis definition with
Aboriginal Métis rights in the Canadian Constitution, through the legal processes
of the Queen and the Federal Government, for the benefit of all Métis people,
and that the Board may include such other terms of reference relating to Métis
identify and other matters the Board may deem appropriate.

There continues to be strong debate about the definition of Métis people in response to the Métis
National Council and their governing members. The concerns expressed by delegates at the BC
Métis Federation Annual General Meeting last September 2012 required BC Métis Federation
leadership to further review and explore the current Métis definition used by BC Métis
Federation and explore whether the current definition was inclusive enough.

There were approximately 120 delegates who attended throughout the day on May 11
th
from
many locations within BC. In addition all of the Métis community partners who have signed a
Statement of Cooperation with BC Métis Federation had representatives attend from:

 North Saanich
 Vancouver
 Surrey
 Williams Lake
 Terrace
 Prince Rupert
 Prince George
 Dawson Creek
 Kelly Lake
 Fort St. John




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The day included a number of guest presenters and was completed with breakout discussions and
recommendations for BC Métis Federation consideration about Métis identity going forward.
There was unanimous support for an immediate review of the definition of Mètis and the
following report will outline themes, recommendations, and next steps for the BC Métis
Federation to address Métis membership in the future.

Overall the Métis Identity Symposium was a successful day in terms of attendance, community
representation, Métis cultural celebration, and budget objectives.




Coast Inn of the North Meeting Room











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Acknowledgements

The BC Métis Federation board and volunteer staff thank the Métis people and Métis community
leaders who attended the Métis Identity Symposium. There was a genuine appreciation for the
volunteer efforts of the BC Mètis Federation and continued sense of optimism.

The BC Mètis Federation also recognizes the guest presenters; Mrs. Earlene Bitterman from
Hudson Hope, Mr. Joe Desjarlais from North Vancouver, Mr. Lyle Letendre from Kelly Lake,
Dr. Bruce McIvor (LLB) from Vancouver, George/Terry Goulet from Gibson, and Lawrie
Barkwell from Winnipeg.






Kelly Lake Métis Settlement Society President Lyle Letendre (left) and
Mr. Lambert from Prince George (right)









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Methodology

The BC Mètis Federation developed an agenda and posted the initial draft agenda on the website
April 2
nd
, 2013. The agenda was designed to provide a forum for attendees to share their views
about Métis identification for Métis in British Columbia. The drafting of the agenda was through
a committee of the BC Métis Federation comprised of George and Terry Goulet, Joe Desjarlais,
Gloria Rendell, and President Keith Henry. The committee wanted to provide an education
forum for attendee’s to understand the definition of Métis in terms of historic representations to
contemporary. As such presenters were invited personally through the committee representatives
to share a number of perspectives.

The agenda was initially drafted and posted April 2
nd
and
the final version was posted May 2
nd
, 2013 as follows:




BC Métis Federation board member Maxine Lavallee









Agenda Format

Agenda May 11, 2013
7:30 am to 8:00 am


Meet and Greet
8:00 am to 8:45 am Registration
9:00 am to 9:10 am First Nations Protocol Welcome
9:10 am to 9:20 am Opening Prayer – Metis Elder
9:20 am to 9:30 am Opening Remarks – President Keith Henry
Vice President Daryl Piper

9:30 am to 9:35 am Set the objectives


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9:35 am to 9:45 am Introduction of Panelists
a) Lawrie Barkwell, Métis Historian
b) George and Terry Goulet, Métis Authors
c) Dr. Bruce McIvor, Métis Lawyer, Specializes in Aboriginal Rights and Title
d) Earlene Bitterman, Métis Identity and Treaty Challenges
e) Joe Desjarlais, Métis Academic
f) Lyle Letendre – Métis community leader, Métis Identity in historic Kelly Lake
g) Others - TBD

9:45 am to 11:00 am Metis Identity Presentations/Discussions
a) What it means to me to be Metis in B.C.?
b) Different approaches to Identification of Metis
c) Metis Rights under the Constitution – Section 35
d) Over Emphasis on Powley Decision
e) UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
f) Other Presentations…. As time allows

11:00 am to 11:15 am Morning Break (Provided by BC Métis Federation)

11:15 am to 12 noon Open Discussion about the Presentations

12 noon to 1:00 pm Lunch (provided by BCMF) with Cultural Performance –
Beverley Lambert

1:00 pm to 2:00 pm Debate on Metis Identity between presenters – led by the Moderator
2:00 pm to 3:15 pm Open Discussion
Opinions and Questions from the Floor to Presenters (needs to be recorded or
written on flip charts) (room can be split into groups for and against each of the
proposed definitions and switch back to each other so that all have opinion into
each definition)

3:15 pm to 3:30 pm Afternoon Break (Provided by Coast Inn of the North)
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm Continuation of Discussion, Opinions and Questions
4:30 pm to 4:45 pm Summary of Symposium’s Proceedings – Keith Henry
4:45 pm to 5:00 pm Closing Remarks – BC Métis Federation
President Keith Henry and
V.P. Daryl Piper

BC Mètis Federation President Keith Henry facilitated the Métis Identity Symposium. BC Mètis
Federation provided an assortment of food services and beverages at each of the Regional
Gatherings but not the community meetings. Attendance was free.


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Marketing Activities

The BC Mètis Federation utilized a number of actions and tactics to advertise and market the
Métis Identity Symposium. This included the following:

1. Design of a poster completed in March 2013
2. Rebranding of the front page of the BC Mètis Federation website
3. Facebook Updates on a regular basis
4. Weekly interviews on the Mètis Matters Radio Show
5. Weekly reporting on the Mètis Coffee Talk show




(Copy of the poster placed on the BC Mètis Federation website March 2013)

The BC Métis Federation also sent letters and emails of invitation to several organizations and
community leaders dated April 10
th
.



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Finally the attendees were encouraged to register online through the BC Métis Federation
website. Several delegates registered online and on May 10
th
BC Métis Federation has received
approximately 80 individuals register online.

The overall objectives for attendance were met with approximately 120 delegates attending
throughout the day. The multiple efforts for marketing proved successful and provide an
ongoing strategy for BC Métis Federation to utilize for future policy and strategy meetings.
Budget

The BC Mètis Federation continues to operate and raise donations to support current projects,
operations and cultural activities. The total estimated investment by the BC Mètis Federation to
host the Métis Identity Symposium was an estimated $32,735.00.

Consultation Meeting Costs Actual
Community Representatives @$1000 each x 10 $10,000 $8,500
BCMF Board Members @ $250 each x13 $3,250 $2,250
Meeting Room for Friday night@ $500 $500 0
Materials Printing

$1,800
Sit down dinner for 30 Reps @$30. each +15% $1,035 $1,764
Rooms for 13 BCMF Board Members @$100 + 15% $1,500 $1,754
Total $16,285 $16,068
Summit Meeting


Breakfast x2 plus lunch for 100 + 15% $9,200 $11,709
Rooms for 13 Board Members @ $100 + 15% $1,500 $1,754
Saturday Dinner Costs Est. $5,000
Meeting room plus equipment rental N/C
Presenters Perdiums @3x $250. $750 807.91
Total $16,450 $14,271
Total Costs $32,735 $30,339
Revenue


Corporate Donations $27,500
Cash Donations during event $688
Kikino Dinner Costs Contribution $500
Total Revenue $28,688 -1,651



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BC Mètis Federation did not pay any
honorariums and all costs were invested through
donations. BC Métis Federation will cover the
shortfall of $1651.00 through other fundraising
activities.


BC Métis Federation thanks the donors
including TransCanada for their sponsorship
support of the Métis Identity Symposium. BC
Métis Federation also thanks Kinder Morgan
Canada for the opportunity to meet with the
Métis community representatives and BC Métis
Federation on Friday, May 10
th
to review the
proposed TransMountain Expansion Project.
There were approximately 60 delegates attend
this specific meeting to better understand what
Kinder Morgan Canada is proposing.



Meeting Friday May 10
th
Coast Hotel
BC Mètis Federation Presenters

The presenters were deliberately selected to provide a variety of perspectives. Presenters’
complete bios were posted as part of the agenda on the website at http://bcmetis.com/wp-
content/uploads/BC-Metis-Federation-Agenda-as-of-April-4-2013.pdf:

 Lawrie Barkwell, Métis Historian
o Lawrie Barkwell is well known to many in the Métis community in Canada. He
is a respected professional and his presentation provided background to the
historic definitions of Métis from our origins in 1700s to today.
 George and Terry Goulet, Métis Authors
o George and Terry continue their education and historical research and are well
respected. They focused on the misunderstandings of Métis definition within the
Powley decision
 Dr. Bruce McIvor, Métis Lawyer, Specializes in Aboriginal Rights and Title


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o Dr. McIvor provided his opinions on the recent Daniel’s Case as well as the
Manitoba Métis case where the Supreme Court of Canada has recently made a
declaration.
 Earlene Bitterman, Métis Identity and Treaty Challenges
o Earlene shared her years of research and issues many of the current Métis families
face because many of our ancestors went in and out of the treaty process.
 Joe Desjarlais, Métis Academic
o Joe shared his ongoing research work with a focus on challenging the status quo
in terms of how mainstream academics and institutions describing our history and
who Métis people are.
 Lyle Letendre – Métis community leader, Métis Identity in historic Kelly Lake
o Lyle presented the Kelly Lake Métis community lifestyle and traditions in
contrast to how many of the urban Métis people have lived.


There were a number of
questions for all of the panelists,
especially the legal potential of
recent decisions and how would
the courts perceive Métis. Due
to the questions the panel
presenters were provided more
time than originally allocated on
the agenda.


Presenter Metis Academic Joe
Desjarlais









Breakout Sessions – What Did People Say?

Following the presentations breakout sessions were organized and attendee’s were grouped
through table assignments. Delegates were asked to consider the definition of Métis people in
light of the presenter’s information and how BC Métis Federation is currently processing
membership.

The following highlights of comments have been consolidated:

Definition themes from groups -

 self - identifies as a Metis
 is distinct from Indian/ Inuit and non aboriginal
 has genealogical ties to Aboriginal ancestry
 is accepted by BCMF
 is not enrolled on any other Aboriginal registry
 is alive
 recognized that most families are non-land base
 half breed/ mix blood
 open door to self identity


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 broaden borders outside of Métis homeland
 diverse community representing a collective, not just the societies that may or may not be
functional
 honoring and embracing the importance of our heritage
 must remember that Métis identity changes over time
 Bill C-31-gains status and Métis identification should consider this carefully
 cannot only rely on written records, library is in the minds of our Elders
 not just through blood line – Métis is also about individuals who practice culture
 Elders must play a larger role as they have traditionally asked names, where you are
from, they traveled the whole of North America
 where Elders are buried is my Metis homeland
 need a unified Metis definition, to help grow our Nation and encourage everyone to join

A specific definition was provided as follows:

Anyone of Aboriginal ancestry, who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from Indian or
Inuit and who is accepted by the British Columbia Métis Federation is Métis.

A person is entitled to be registered as a citizen of BC Métis Federation who:

• is alive,
• self-identifies as Métis,
• is distinct from Indian or Inuit,
• has genealogical ties to Aboriginal ancestry,
• is accepted by the British Columbia Métis Federation.
• is not enrolled on any other Aboriginal registry.

There was unanimous consensus the current Métis national definition perpetuated by Métis
National Council and their affiliates, such as Métis Nation British Columbia, are not inclusive
enough and having significant negative impacts to legitimate Section 35 rights asserted by many
Métis communities and families who continue to refuse to belong to these organizations for
various reasons.
Recommendations from Métis Identity Symposium

The following is a list of specific recommendations as a result of the BC Mètis Federation Métis
Identity Symposium:

1. There is strong support for the BC Métis Federation to revise the current Métis
membership criteria to be broader.


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2. BC Métis Federation will investigate additional ways to provide further community
engagement and seek more feedback regarding Métis definition prior to the September
Annual General Meeting.
3. BC Métis Federation delegates will review resolutions to revise the current Métis
definition at the September 2013 Annual General Meeting.
Conclusion

The BC Mètis Federation will continue to review the comments and suggestions with a goal of
reconsidering Métis membership and how BC Métis Federation processes membership in the
future. The BC Métis Federation board is reviewing the current bylaws and membership forms
and will consider resolutions to further amend legal documentation for the September 2013
Annual General Meeting.

BC Mètis Federation has now posted a slideshow from the May 11
th
event on the website,
including all presentations for your review, http://bcmetis.com/2013/05/bc-metis-federation-
symposium-on-metis-identification-highlights-a-full-weekend-in-prince-george/.

Finally the BC Métis Federation was extremely proud to host a closing banquet that focused on
showcasing Métis culture. The event was highlighted by a presentation of the first official
“Honorary Member” to author and Louis Riel Activist Mr. David Doyle.



BC Métis Federation bylaws enable the
leaders to recognize non-Métis individuals
for honorary membership when these
individuals demonstrate a commitment to the
Mètis people. Mr. David Doyle has been an
advocate for Louis Riel for decades and has
presented to international audiences about the
story and history of Louis Riel. It was a great
evening and this presentation to Mr. Doyle
was one of the highlights.

Mr. Doyle with microphone accepting
Honorary membership (far right)







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Métis Cultural Celebration at banquet Saturday, May 11th – Entertainers from Terrace



BC Métis Federation leaders are currently reviewing additional engagement activities regarding
membership and will consider other mechanisms for engagement for members and Métis people
at large to share their opinions and views.

Thank you all who attended and made this event such a success.

Thank you

Keith Henry
President
BC Mètis Federation




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