The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Issues the Following Statement Regarding the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling on the 142-year-old Métis Land Dispute.
(Ottawa) March 8, 2013 - Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief, Betty Ann Lavallée, CD, (Ret’d), and National Vice-Chief Ron Swain issued the following statement.
“As the National Chief for the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples that represents over 600,000 off-reserve, non-status and status Indians, Southern Inuit and Métis Peoples living in urban, rural remote and isolated areas throughout Canada, I am pleased to see that the Supreme Court has upheld S.31 and S.32 of the Manitoba Act.”
The landmark case, centres on a 30 year-old legal challenge brought forward by the Manitoba Métis Federation over farm land promised to Métis children as part of the Red River Settlement of 1870. The dispute dates back to when the Crown vowed to set aside about 1.4 million acres of land and recognized existing Métis land-holdings.
This had gone on for far too long,” added National Vice-Chief, Ron Swain. “Since the time of Confederation, promises were made and never kept. Now is the time, to sit down at a Treaty Table with the Crown, and negotiate the issues that affect the Métis Peoples throughout Canada.”
Crown lawyers had argued the case should be thrown out of court because of how old it is.
“This case, together with the Landmark Harry Daniels Federal Court Ruling, which granted recognition to Métis and non-Status Indians under Section 35 of the Constitution, illustrates the judicial system’s willingness to correct historical wrongs,” concluded National Chief Betty Ann Lavallée. “Today is another significant step forward for Aboriginal Peoples throughout Canada.”
Since 1971, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (Formerly known as the Native Council of Canada) has been the National Representative Organization and the National Voice for the constituency and their affiliate organizations making up the Congress’ family of advocates for the Off-Reserve, Non-Status and Status Indians, Southern Inuit and Métis Aboriginal Peoples living in urban, rural remote and isolated areas throughout Canada.