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This article was published 22/9/2018 (418 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) and the federal government are announcing next steps toward reconciliation Saturday, which include millions in funding from Ottawa.
The federal government is pledging $154.3 million to the MMF, as part of a three-pronged plan to help the Métis eliminate poverty and establish self-government.
MMF president David Chartrand said he was thrilled by the news. In an interview Friday, said he plans to ask local business heavyweights, including Hartley Richardson and Sandy Riley, for financial-planning advice.
Some initial ideas the MMF leader has for spending the money include establishing a grants program for first-time Métis homebuyers and starting construction on 100 homes with adjoining greenhouses.
"This is a long time coming. People need to look at it from this context: our future was robbed from us in 1870, 148 years ago now, and our economic engines were robbed from us. So we became basically the working poor in this country. We were shrugged off our lands and the opportunities for us to grow economically were just taken directly from us," Chartrand said.
"This will be at least some payback money from what was taken from us for all the taxes, and all that has been robbed from us throughout a century," he said.
"It’s a huge investment for us. It’s going to change people’s lives by the thousands, and tens of thousands, and definitely give our young people an opportunity."
The MMF, which represents about 120,000 Métis people in the province, will speak more about the investment at its general assembly meeting this weekend, alongside federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett (who was not available for an interview on Friday).
"We are moving forward as true partners at the negotiating table to begin to put reconciliation into action. This is a truly historic process, and we look forward to meaningful work with the Manitoba Metis Federation on solutions that promote a lasting and meaningful reconciliation for the benefit of the Manitoba Métis community and all Canadians," Bennett said in a prepared statement.
Chartrand said there is still plenty of work to do when it comes to reconciliation with the federal and provincial governments.
Settling land claims is among the top items on his agenda, as is seeing the MMF recognized as its own independent body of government in legislation, not as a "special interest group."
Jessica Botelho-Urbanski covers the Manitoba Legislature for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Updated on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 10:36 PM CDT: Edited