Métis settlements recognize 30 years of Alberta legislation

EDMONTON — The Métis flag is flying on the grounds of the Alberta legislature to honour the 30th anniversary of legislation which redefined the relationship between Métis people and the provincial government. 

The Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC) and the Government of Alberta raised the flag Friday at the federal building to honour the 30th anniversary of Métis Settlements Proclamation Day.

Celebrated every year on the first day of November, Proclamation Day is a Métis-recognized holiday which celebrates the passing of provincial legislation that make up the governing pillars of the settlements today.

In 1985, the Alberta government passed what was known as Motion 18, a resolution committing the province to transfer land title of the then-called Colonies to the Métis people of Alberta, and to provide constitutional protection of the lands by means of an amendment to the Constitution of Alberta Act.

This paved the way for the historic 1989 Alberta – Métis Settlements Accord, which passed into legislation 30 years ago on Nov. 1, 1990.

“For the first time in Alberta, Métis people had a dedicated land base on 1.25 million acres in central and northern parts of the province,” Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson said in a statement. 

“We were honoured to join members of the Metis Settlements in raising their flag to celebrate this history, and we look forward to continuing our relationship for many years to come.”

The accord is comprised of the following legislation: the Métis Settlement Act, the Métis Settlements Implementation Act, the Land Protections Act, and the Amendment to the Alberta Constitution Act.

The legislation replaced the previous Métis Population Betterment Act of 1938.

The Métis Settlements Accord allowed for the legal transfer of land title to Métis people, local municipal and traditional style self-government, and established eight settlement corporations and the Métis Settlements General Council as legal entities in Alberta.

Métis Settlements General Council President Herb Lehr said of the holiday, “Today is an historic day for all Métis people to recognize the achievements of our ancestors.”

“Métis peoples on Métis land, a dream of Louis Riel, realized.”

The 30-year-old act also establishes the Métis Settlements Appeals Tribunal, which provides a dispute resolution mechanism dealing with membership, land use and resource matters on Métis settlements.

Also part of the act is the Subsurface Resources Co-Management Agreement, an agreement whereby the settlements and the province jointly manage oil, gas and other subsurface resources located on settlement lands.

More information about the legislation and Métis settlements is available at the Métis Settlements General Council website. 

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