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Time to negotiate a deal between First Nations and the Metis

 First Nations leadership should hammer out a deal with Metis leadership recognizing each other as separate nations with inherent and Indigenous rights. 

Such a deal should outline a dispute mechanism for any disputes that will eventually arise. 

The Crown, both federal and provincial governments, have a Supreme Court ordered duty to consult and accommodate with Indigenous people in areas where inherent and Indigenous rights might be affected by resource development projects. 

I've been seeing more memes posted on social media by First Nations people of late questioning who the Metis are and why do they deserve the same recognition of Inherent and Aboriginal rights that the First Nations have with the Confederation of Canada. 

The short answer is that the Metis already have those right recognized in Canada's constitution and reinforced through a series of court decisions. 

And the Metis keep on winning court cases. 

In the past I've worked as a minion deep, metaphorically speaking of course, in the bowels of a chiefs lobby group funded by the federal government. 

After talking with the grand chief's economic adviser who dismissed both the Metis and any claims they had out of hand asking just who were the Metis? What treaties have they signed? 

Again, it doesn't matter because the Metis are recognized in the constitution and winning court cases. Historically, various First Nations and the Metis have coexisted peacefully since the Metis were founded. 

Why? 

The simple answer is because they are our relatives. 

There is still plenty of room and resources for everyone to share. 

And why should First Nations do that? 

Here's why: to negate any government, provincial or federal, from playing one side against the other in literal physical areas of overlapping resource extraction. 

It's already happened. 

I was talking to a friend who used to the chief of a First Nation in Treaty 4 territory in Manitoba. He was upset because his tribal council had been holding out for a better deal negotiating with a Crown corporation about some land clearing on a project.  

Well, instead of signing with the tribal council, Manitoba Hydro signed an agreement with a Metis representative organization for the land clearing job in part to satisfy their social license obligation to consult and accommodate. 

Corporate interests don't particularly care for uncertainty when it comes to developing resource extraction projects. 

And if some government is looking to satisfy the duty to consult and accommodate, let me point out that nowhere in case law or statute does that Indigenous group have to be First Nation. 

Part of the negotiation would have to revolve around who can claim to be Metis. Wrongly, I might add that some are using the word Metis to mean anyone of mixed blood, a term that I really detest.

Are the Metis accepting mixed blood into their incorporated bodies that claim to be their leadership to increase the population numbers of how many people they represent. 

For instance, when the Manitoba Metis Federation filed a multi-billion dollar suit against the provincial and federal governments over how scrip was issued and taken away, there was a measure in the suit that if they won the case that only those who could prove a genealogical connection to the original Metis inhabits of the province would be eligible for any potential payouts and benefits. 

And we know that the Metis in Manitoba have made a broad claim of traditional territory but the question remains where is there claim and how much land are the Metis talking about. 

Again, these are questions, who are the Metis and what are their land claims, that could be worked out in negotiations between First Nations and Metis nations. 

Look, there's no point in going to the government and complaining that you shouldn't be negotiating with so-and-so like the government is your parents, to employ a somewhat clumsy metaphor, because the government is actually on the other side of negotiations. 

If you want the government to play both sides, First Nations and Metis, against each other in negotiations and settle disagreements in their courts then by all means continue with the status quo. 

If you really are Nations, then settle this through negotiations and not through a foreign government. 

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