Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Emotional celebration for Métis

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Shouts of joy greeted David Chartrand at the Winnipeg airport Saturday.

Dozens of supporters welcomed the head of the Manitoba Métis Federation home from Ottawa following the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in favour of the MMF's long-standing case against the Crown. The court ruled the Crown "failed to implement the land-grant provision set out in Section 31 of the Manitoba Act, 1870, in accordance with the honour of the Crown."

At the heart of the dispute was 566,000 hectares (1.4 million acres) of land that was to be set aside for Métis children as promised by Canada in 1870.

The settlement is expected to bring millions of dollars in compensation to the Métis in Manitoba.

After he and the welcoming party visited Louis Riel's grave in St. Boniface, Chartrand said the settlement should be good for Manitoba's Métis and that the MMF expects to also recover its court costs.

"We probably spent about $10 million, though I'm not sure (of the exact) numbers... it's been 32 years in the courtroom," he said.

Shelly Glover, MP for Saint Boniface, was also on hand to support the MMF.

"I'm a proud Métis woman," she said. "The government is obviously reviewing the decision that came out the other day. I look forward to the future and I look forward to seeing what's going to come of this, but it's a proud day for the Métis people."

Steve Richard was there in honour of his father, who was part of the original movement in 1967 that fought for Métis people to get official recognition.

"It took a long time, 132 years. It's very emotional, but it's a celebration too," he said.

steph.crosier@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 10, 2013 A4

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