WINNIPEG — A 146-year-old land dispute between Ottawa and the Manitoba Métis is one step closer to ending.
On Tuesday, Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand and Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett signed an agreement in Ottawa, which ends a land dispute dated back to 1870.
The Manitoba Act of 1870 promised to set aside land for 7,000 children of the Red River Métis. However, the Manitoba Métis Federation claimed the federal government improperly distributed the land, much of which was purchased by settling prospectors. Winnipeg now sits on top of most of the land in question.
“After many long years of struggle, our partner has returned to the negotiating table to settle the long outstanding claim of Manitoba’s Métis in a spirit of renewal and reconciliation,” Chartrand said.
“We are pleased our new federal government and the prime minister are keeping the promises made to settle this claim and are expediting the process through the signing of this historic framework agreement that will lead to a modern day treaty between Canada and the Manitoba Métis.”
The land negotiations started in 2013, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the federal government failed its promise to the Métis people under the Manitoba Act, which said each Métis child was to receive just under 240 acres of land.
The Manitoba Métis Federation say they have no intention of demanding their land back, but they do want compensation for past wrongs. Neither side gave an estimated amount.
“We are coming together at the negotiating table in a spirit of renewal,” Bennett said. “This is a truly historic undertaking and we are firmly committed to working in partnership to reach a balanced solution that advances reconciliation for everyone’s benefit.”
On Wednesday, Chartrand will present the victory in Winnipeg, as part of annual celebration honouring the life Louis Riel. Bennett will so take part in the raising of the Métis flag on Parliament Hill.