Willow Lake Metis join opposition to Metis Nation of Alberta

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 11:32am



Willow Lake Metis have issued the following statement to shed light on its position regarding recent Metis Nation of Alberta Association (MNAA) statements and actions. It can be attributed in whole or in part to Willow Lake Metis President and Vice President – Stella Lavallee and Justin Bourque.

Press Statement:

The MNAA claim that legitimacy of government and rights of the Metis people in Alberta can only be achieved through the MNAA. Our community rejects this assertion. Our community is democratic, and will express its will democratically, through its members and by choosing its own leadership.  We reject MNAA scare tactics and their willingness to go against the democratic will of our Metis community, and others in Alberta, by representing themselves as our government.  They are not.

For years the Willow Lake Metis have worked collaboratively with the MNAA to move our Metis agenda forward. However, our community identified a need for change. We decided that governance should be democratic, and community-based. This is not the MNAA agenda.

The Willow Lake Metis along with a number of Region 1 communities have tried continuously to work with our MNAA representatives on matters of local and provincial concern.  However, MNAA leadership have conducted themselves in an unprofessional manner and with disregard for local democratic decision making. For example, MNAA leadership have demanded documentation when none was required by by-laws, have removed local representatives from discussion tables and exhibited a pattern of arbitrary and self-serving behaviour. The attempted removal of some locals from the MNAA table was, we assert, nothing more than an effort to remove those who question the role and authority of the MNAA.  

These actions on the part of the MNAA have left the Willow Lake Metis with little choice but to assert our own future.

The Willow Lake Metis community is a united and assertive community that strongly desires to assert their constitutional right as a Metis people. No self-styled provincial organization can interfere with this local community prerogative.  

The Willow Lake Metis has engaged with our elders, our youth and our membership on these issues and the messages from our community are clear. Infighting amongst Metis organizations at the regional and provincial levels is counter-productive, threatens the legitimacy of all Metis governance, and is holding Metis back from exercising our duly granted Constitutional rights.

And the courts are on our side. Case law is clear in McCargar v Metis Nation of Alberta Association, 2018 ABQB

“No one is forced to join the association nor does Alberta legislation require membership into the association”

“One can resign from the association and still have or get many of the benefits of being Metis” and

“such an association represents its members, rather than the Metis community as a whole”  

Yet our provincial and regional leaders continue to state that they will fight if members and subsequent communities want to dissolve membership in the MNAA.  This runs counter to democracy, and to established case law.  The MNAA does not have a legal leg to stand on.  We will gladly see them in court.