Despite Metis people representing 30 per cent of the total Indigenous population in B.C., Metis leaders say it is underserved and has been consistently ignored by successive governments.
A document A Tale of Two Nations highlighting the inequities in the treatment of Metis in the province was released Friday (Oct. 2) by Metis Nation British Columbia.
MNBC president Clara Morin Dal Col said they want to be included in B.C’s reconciliation efforts with First Nations.
“This is about the treatment of Metis people in this province and the lack of support by this provincial government,” Morin Dal Col said.
“We have equal rights as First Nations and Inuit and we just want that to reflect here in British Columbia.”
The report identifies low funding provided by the provincial government compared to First Nations.
Among the funding gaps is a $3-billion interim agreement transferring seven per cent of the BC Lottery Corporation’s net income until 2045 to B.C. First Nations, MNBC said.
The agreement was finalized recently, and the Metis Nation receives no such revenues according to the report.
To conduct the same policy work as the First Nations Education Steering Committee which received $4.3 million from the BC Government, MNBC said it received just $100,000.
“Again this is not an attack by MNBC to First Nations but wanting equal representation when it comes to our rights as Metis in this province,” Morin Dal Col said.
Nearly 90,000 people have self-identified as Metis in B.C. according to a 2016 census.
Morin Dal Col said MNBC is ready to work with whichever provincial party is elected to represent B.C. following the Oct. 24 general election.
“We’re always hopeful, and change has to happen,” she said, noting the Metis Nation been ignored for far too long by B.C.
“This is the time of reconciliation for Indigenous people and we are Indigenous and one of those people, so it’s our time and we have to make sure that government is held responsible to our people in this province.”