British Columbia

Métis Nation B.C. reacts to Supreme Court of Canada ruling

Métis people in British Columbia are celebrating after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that ended a 17-year-long court battle, granting them Indian Status.

'Excitement was almost overwhelming,' says Bruce Dumont, president of Métis Nation B.C.

Bruce Dumont, president of the Métis Nation B.C., left, Audrey Poitras, president of the Alberta Métis Nation, front, and Gerald Morin, vice president of the Saskatchewan Métis Nation, right, celebrate after a decision at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, April 14, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Métis people in British Columbia are celebrating after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling today ended a 17-year-long court battle to bring them under the jurisdiction of the federal government as status Indians.

"The excitement was almost overwhelming," said Bruce Dumont, president of Métis Nation B.C., "after 200 years of suppression [...] finally being fully recognized by the Crown."

The decision means that the federal government now has constitutional responsibility for Métis and Non-status Indians. 

"It is a load off your shoulders. We walk proud and we walk tall, we don't have to look back," he said. 

Dumont says about 70,000 people identify themselves as Métis in B.C.

"There is a lot of work ahead of us and we are up to the task," he said. 

He says there is also a lot of work to be done within the provincial and federal governments following today's decision. 

With files from the CBC's The Early Edition.

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Métis Nation B.C. reacts to Supreme Court of Canada ruling