Framework will ‘open doors’

Gerald Cunningham, left, president of the Metis Settlements General Council, and Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, hold copies of the Framework Agreement singed Dec. 17. Both parties say the agreement will help shape Metis peoples’ future.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Canada and the Métis people are working toward a renewed relationship, based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.

On Dec. 17, 2018 a Framework Agreement was signed outlining areas for discussion. It serves as the basis for negotiations of a reconciliation agreement with the eight Metis Settlement councils that comprise the Alberta-based Metis Settlements General Council.

Signing the agreement were Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Gerald Cunningham, president of the Metis Settlements General Council.

Areas for discussion included in the framework include renewing the government-to-government relationship and supporting healthy, secure and prosperous communities by exploring priorities related to areas such as health, employment and skills development, housing, and child and family welfare.

“It is a great honour for me to sign this historic Framework Agreement on behalf of our Metis Settlements membership,” says Cunningham.

“Today is a very special day as it marks an important step for the Metis Settlements as we embark on a new path to shape our future for the benefit of our children and grandchildren. It is a time of tremendous opportunity and potential to continue building on the vision of our Elders,” he adds.

Bennett agrees.

“[This agreement] clearly sets out a path to guide negotiations toward greater self-determination for the eight Métis Settlements. We thank president Cunningham for his leadership on this, and we look forward to continuing our work together to move forward on priorities determined by these communities.”

The Metis Settlements General Council is comprised of the Metis Settlements of Buffalo Lake, East Prairie, Elizabeth, Fishing Lake, Gift Lake, Kikino, Paddle Prairie and Peavine. Together, they comprise 1.25 million acres with a population of 8,000.

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