Métis artist defends controversial song lyrics

A Métis artist says he wrote a controversial song to draw attention to his people's rights.

Artist says song is meant to draw attention to Métis rights

Derek Maurice has received criticism about lyrics in a song he wrote about Métis rights. (Facebook/Derek Maurice)

A Métis musician is defending one of his songs after the FSIN accused him of stoking racial division among Indigenous people.

"My intentions were to revitalize and rejuvenate Métis pride within our own people and society," Beauval-based artist Derek Maurice said in an interview Monday.

His song We're Métis includes lines such as "We pay our taxes on our very own." Another line notes Metis people do not get the $5 annual treaty payment that First Nations people do.

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations sent a news release last week criticizing the song.

Song shows need for treaty education; FSIN

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said the song "perpetuates a harmful and destructive stereotype that is simply not true for many First Nations people."

Cameron said it shows the need for more treaty education.

"We must come together as Indigenous people and work united to free ourselves of these stereotyped and colonialist thoughts and mentalities," Cameron said.

Songwriter said he respects all cultures

Maurice said he respects people of all cultures and his song isn't meant to denigrate First Nations. Maurice said he simply wanted to point out that Métis people are Indigenous, too. He said they have the same rights, and should get the same benefits.

"That's me expressing my desire to want the same thing, the same thing as them. I hope it's coming through, coming soon."

Maurice said he's received some criticism, but he's also grateful for support that's come from across the province.

"It means a lot," he said.