Métis Nation Citizenship
It is now possible to be registered as Métis, in much the same way that First Nations are registered as Indians in the Indian Registry.
Métis are included as one of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which reads:
35 (1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.
(2) in this Act, the aboriginal peoples of Canada includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
The Métis emerged as a distinct people or nation in the historic Northwest during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries. This area is known as the “historic Métis Nation Homeland,” which includes the 3 Prairie Provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and the northern United States. This historic Métis Nation had recognized Aboriginal title, which the Government of Canada attempted to extinguish through the issuance of “scrip” and land grants in the late 19th and 20th centuries.
The Métis National Council consequently adopted the following definition of “Métis” in 2002:
“Métis” means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.”
In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Métis are a rights-bearing Aboriginal people. Its judgement in R. v. Powley set out the components of a Métis definition for the purpose of claiming Aboriginal rights under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. These are:
• Self-identification as a member of a Métis community.
• Ancestral connection to the historic Métis community whose practices ground the right in question
• Acceptance by the modern community with continuity to the historic Métis community.