Metis and Mi’kmaq nation leaders meet to discuss trend of Metis self-identification

The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and the Metis National Council have signed a document that establishes they respect each other’s nationhood, a move that appears to be a calculated response to the rise in the number of people who choose to identify themselves as eastern Metis.A press release announcing the memorandum of understanding, says there is a growing and divisive trend across Canada of people self-identifying as Metis — especially in Eastern Canada.Story continues below

Census data show the number of people who call themselves Metis soared nearly 150 per cent in Quebec and 125 per cent in Nova Scotia from 2006 to 2016, according to Statistics Canada.READ MORE: The controversial rise of the eastern MetisThe Canadian Press has reported that dozens of new Metis organizations cropped up over the same period, many of whom use identity cards that look much like Indian Status cards.Others have tried to claim Indigenous rights through the courts, fuelling a perception that the aboriginal newcomers are so-called rights grabbers.Both Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and the Metis National Council say they have concerns about the rising trend.“The only rights holders in Nova Scotia are the Mi’kmaq,” said Chief Terrance Paul, co-chair for the Assembly, in a press release.“We are the original peoples of these lands, and we have spent decades establishing our Treaty and Aboriginal Rights and then working on the implementation of these rights.”The Metis National Council says there is a clear process of identifying and registering citizens of the Metis Nation.“The right to determine our own identity and citizenship is at the heart of our self-determination and self-government in our historical homeland,” said Clément Chartier, president of the Metis National Council.“It took decades of struggle for this right to be recognized by the federal government and Supreme Court of Canada and we defend it vigilantly.”NDP MP says Justin Trudeau ‘doesn’t give a f***’ about Indigenous rights