A memorandum of understanding was signed May 27 between the Métis of Manitoba and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. The MOU outlines the government’s commitment to honor a promise made by Sir John A. Macdonald to distribute 5,565 sq. km. of land, some of which has become Winnipeg in the century and a half since.
Macdonald’s deal with the Métis was part of the Manitoba Act of 1870, which promised to give 7,000 Métis children a plot of land in the attempt to end the Red River Rebellion led by Louis Riel. The act also ushered Manitoba into the Canadian federation.
Three years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal government failed to carry out the promise made in 1870. Some speculate that the MOU will lead to a modern-day treaty worth billions, and has been in the works since the Liberals came to office last fall, CTV reports.
“The parties are taking a historic first step toward a shared and balanced solution that advances reconciliation between Canada and the Manitoba Métis Community,” reads a press statement from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said.
“We waited 146 years for this. The future is going to change for generations to come, and we are no longer going to be sitting on the sidelines,” said President David Chartrand of the Manitoba Métis Federation.