Updated: May 18
Hank shares a key platform vision for community acceptance - a process towards self-determination.
MÉTIS CITIZENSHIP & SELF-DETERMINATION
By Hank Rowlinson
We must stay true to the spirit of the Statement of Prime Purpose which identifies us as “a distinct Nation among the Indigenous peoples in Canada.” Our rights are recognized and affirmed in Canada under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
“We, the Métis Nation, have the inherent right of self-determination and self-government;”
We can no longer be influenced by outside pressure when defining who we are. It is the role of the people themselves to determine who its citizens are and the terms on which those citizens will be accepted.
As we begin consultations with our communities on the Métis Nation of Ontario Constitution, while maintaining the integrity of the registry, it is imperative that we cast aside predetermined outside narratives and we the Métis peoples in Ontario set the parameters of who we are!
THE MÉTIS CITZENSHIP ACT
COMMUNITY ACCEPTANCE PROCESS
It’s time for the people to decide who belongs to the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and who gets to enjoy the constitutionally recognized rights. We need to develop a community acceptance process through the involvement of all MNO citizens and our communities.
1. DEVELOP THE PROCESS
· What should it look like?
· Who decides, is it at the local level, regional, provincial?
· How would decisions be made?
2. DEVELOP CRITERIA
· Learn from our traditions and ways of doing things within family, within community, within the nation.
· Who gets to belong?
3. WHO DEVELOPS IT?
· A committee of elders, knowledge keepers, youth, community representatives, concerned citizens.
· Supported by professionals as needed, not led by them.
4. RATIFICATION PROCESS
· Circulate a 1st Draft “MNO Citizenship Act”;
· Consultation and involvement of citizens through community meetings, virtual town halls, social media, electronic and telephone polling;
· Strive to reach consensus, amend process accordingly;
· Polling at the community level;
· Province wide referendum (everyone in our registry votes).