Métis leaders met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several cabinet ministers Thursday to sign a long-awaited accord seen as the foundation for a nation-to-nation relationship between the two.
Called the Canada-Métis Nation Accord, the document was signed during the first Métis Nation-Crown Summit in Ottawa on Thursday.
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"Today marks a reset in the relationship between Canada and the Métis Nation," said Métis National Council president Clément Chartier.
"A process is in place to deal with issues in a concentrated and collaborative manner, and that speaks to the commitment of both parties to get things done."
'Recognition, rights and respect'
The signing of the accord kicks off ongoing talks on employment, health and housing for Métis people, and the establishment of a permanent forum for Métis chaired by the prime minister.
"These discussions mark an important step in the relationship between the Crown and the Métis Nation based on recognition, rights and respect," said Métis Nation of Ontario head Margaret Froh.
"We now have a solid foundation upon which to move forward with a respectful, renewed Métis Nation-Crown relationship, for the benefit of all Canadians," read a statement from Prime Minister Trudeau.
The accord is the result of months of negotiations between Métis leaders and the federal government. The summit was initially scheduled for March but had to be postponed after the attack on a mosque in Quebec.
According to the Métis National Council, there are approximately 400,000 Métis across Canada, or roughly a quarter of all Indigenous Peoples in the country.