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Court will hear Métis' land claim case

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OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada agreed this morning to hear an appeal on a historic land claim case by Manitoba's Metis.

The court agreed to grant the appeal this morning.

Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand said he is confident the court will decide in the Métis' favour.

"We feel there is no doubt," said Chartrand.

The three-decade-long court battle dates back to land claims promised to Métis settlers in 1870 when Manitoba joined Confederation. The Manitoba Métis Federation has argued Manitoba and Canada failed to live up to the 1870 Manitoba Act requirements to divide nearly 566,560 hectares of land among 7,000 Métis children living in the province at the time. The MMF has long argued although land or money in lieu of land was eventually distributed to the children, the process took too long and wasn't done the way the act intended.

Among the complaints are that the Métis were not allowed to choose the land allotted them as it was instead meted out by a lottery. Certain lands were deemed too valuable to be included in the lottery.

It also took more than a decade to complete the land claim, and in the meantime settlers and speculators got hold of much of the land.

Courts in Manitoba ruled against the MMF claim, saying the legal requirements were followed.

The Manitoba Court of Appeal ruled against the Manitoba Métis Federation in July 2010. The MMF is seeking financial compensation.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 11:26 AM CST: Appeal granted without costs.

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