Ottawa Métis ecstatic following Supreme Court ruling
'It's going to bring so much pride to our people'
People in Ottawa's Métis community say they're thrilled and hopeful following the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling that Métis and non-status Indians are now the responsibility of the federal government as "Indians" under the Indian Act.
"Today is a day of excitement and celebration, and a way of moving forward," said Duane Morrisseau-Beck, who's originally from Manitoba but has lived in Ottawa since 1999.
"I think it's finally a path that our nation can start moving forward on in terms of our recognition, and access to the programs and services, he said. "And to being in those important discussions — nation to nation discussions — regarding Métis issues and Métis rights."
Ruling ends 17-year court battle
"It's a great day. It's a great slam-dunk win. It's awesome," said France Picotte, chair of the Métis Nation of Ontario. "It's going to bring so much pride to our people — officially recognized that they are an indigenous people with equal rights to the two other indigenous peoples in Canada."
The unanimous ruling may serve now as a starting point for those pursuing land claims and additional government services, like health care and education.
'Our children will grow up knowing who they are'
"What's gonna change overnight? Not much, except for the pride, and that's a big one," said Picotte.
"Most of my life, they have been fighting for this," said Kelly Duquette, a Métis University of Ottawa student. "It's just good to know that we're recognized on this level, and that we get to just exercise our rights properly, finally after all these years."
Duquette says the ruling comes at an important time for Métis identity and culture.
"Right now, the youth are paving the way. A lot of us are just coming out and understanding who we are, and really expressing our culture. And I just think this came at a really good time, because now our children will grow up knowing who they are, and being able to exercise their rights. It's just a whole new generation of Métis."