Is official Indian status good or bad for Métis people?


It's the other aboriginal story of the week. Overshadowed by the Idle No More protests and drama leading up to today's meetings in Ottawa, the Metis are reconsidering their own place in Canadian society. A judge says they should be treated as Indians. But given the deteriorating state of relations between first nations and the federal government, the Metis may want to think twice about joining that club.

Is official 'Indian' status good or bad for Metis?

This could be a year of big change in the relationship between the federal government and Canada's native communities. Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with some First Nations chiefs. It's fair to say neither the chiefs nor the Conservatives are satisfied with the present form of aboriginal governance. But many aboriginal people believe Ottawa intends to erode existing treaty and indigenous rights. That anger sparked the Idle No More movement.

The movement may be a little vague in its aims, but its become a rallying point that the Prime Minister or the Chiefs can hardly ignore. What's more, this week, the Federal Court made a ruling that greatly increases the size of Canada's Indian population. It says Métis and "non-status" Indians will be considered as "Indians" under the 1867 Constitution Act. Many celebrate the decision, but not all.

With more on what the ruling means, we were joined by Tony Belcourt, the Founding President of the Native Council of Canada, now called the Congress of Aboriginal People. He was in Ottawa. We were also joined by John Lagimodiere, the publisher and editor of Eagle Feather News. He was in Saskatoon.

This segment was produced by The Current's Hassan Santur.

Other segments from today's show:

Comments are closed.