- Programs and Services
Prior to Canada¡¯s crystallization as a nation, a new Aboriginal people emerged out of the relations of Indian women and European men. While the initial offspring of these Indian and European unions were individuals who simply possessed mixed ancestry, subsequent intermarriages between these mixed ancestry children resulted in the genesis of a new Aboriginal people with a distinct identity, culture and consciousness in west central North America ¨C the M¨¦tis Nation.
These M¨¦tis people were connected through the highly mobile fur trade network, seasonal rounds, extensive kinship connections and a collective identity (i.e., common culture, language, way of life, etc.). Distinct M¨¦tis settlements emerged throughout what was then called ¡°the Northwest¡±. In Ontario, historic M¨¦tis settlements emerged along the rivers and watersheds of the province, surrounding the Great Lakes and throughout to the northwest of the province. These settlements formed regional M¨¦tis communities in Ontario that are an indivisible part of the M¨¦tis Nation.
In 1993, the M¨¦tis Nation of Ontario (MNO) was established through the will of M¨¦tis people and M¨¦tis communities coming together throughout Ontario to create a M¨¦tis-specific governance structure. Prior to 1993, M¨¦tis had been involved in pan-Aboriginal lobby groups and organizations. The MNO was not created to represent all individuals and communities that claim to be M¨¦tis, but those individuals and communities that are a part of the M¨¦tis Nation.
At its original meetings, M¨¦tis representatives from communities throughout the province set out the foundational vision for the MNO. This vision is encapsulated in the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose.
The statement is a seminal document for the MNO and it sets out why the MNO was formed, who MNO represents, and what the MNO wants to achieve. The statement has been central to the MNO¡¯s success over the last 24 years.
The statement also affirms that the MNO was created to represent M¨¦tis people and communities in Ontario that are a part of the M¨¦tis Nation. Specifically, the document states:
¡°We, the M¨¦tis are a people of the lands which gave rise to our history and tradition and culture. We call these lands the M¨¦tis Homelands. The Homelands stretch from the lakes and rivers of Ontario; cross the wide prairies; traverse the mountains into British Columbia and into the far reaches of the Northwest Territories. They include the hills and valleys of the north-central American States. These are our lands. They are M¨¦tis lands. They are the lands of our past which nurture us today and which we value as the precious foundation of our future.¡±
Some of the goals set out in the MNO Statement of Prime Purpose include:
Today, based on the pursuit of the above mentioned vision and principles, MNO has built an impressive province-wide governance structure which includes: an objectively verifiable, centralized registry of over 20,000 M¨¦tis citizens; approximately 30?Chartered Community Councils across the province which represent M¨¦tis citizens at the local level; a provincial governing body that is elected by ballot box every four years; an Annual General Assembly where regional and provincial M¨¦tis leaders are required to report back to M¨¦tis citizens yearly between elections; a charitable foundation which promotes and support M¨¦tis culture and heritage (M¨¦tis Nation of Ontario Cultural Commission); and, an economic development arm (M¨¦tis Nation of Ontario Development Corporation).
In addition, the MNO has built an accountable, results-based provincial delivery structure to meet the socio-economic needs of its citizens and communities. Currently, the MNO delivers programs and services to its citizens through these branches: Healing and Wellness; Education and Training; Infinite Property Services; Lands, Resources and Consultation; and Economic Development. Through these various branches, the MNO maintains 30+ service delivery access points across the province, administers over $20 million annually and employs over 200 personnel across the province.