Supreme Court Favors Métis in Case of Historical Land Claim

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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The Supreme Court of Canada has announced a ruling declaring that the Government of Canada actually failed to comply by the 1870 agreement with the Métis, which brought Manitoba into Confederation. The decision has now paved way for innumerable claims by the Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF) to 1.4 million acres of land, which currently encompasses Winnipeg and the surrounding area that is known as the Red River Settlement.

The MMF composed more than 2,000 volumes of original historical documents to prove its claim that they own the land due to the agreement signed in the Manitoba Act. The MMF took the case to court for forcing the government to negotiate for compensations in lieu of the territory that was promised to 7,000 Metis children, in documentation, but was never actually given to them, or was given and then taken back for a pittance. The decision was concluded with a 6-2 ruling, deciding that “the federal Crown failed to implement the land grant provision set out in (section) 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870, in accordance with the honour of the Crown.”

The president of the MMF, David Chartrand, stated that this case had remained to be the number one issue for the Métis. Mr. Chartrand elaborated that “I promised them that, no matter what happens, we will take this case to the highest court in the land, which is the Supreme Court, and seek justice,” he said. “And, if not, we are going to tell our story.”

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