Chief Lorne Stewart and Metis local President Gerald Favel at the MOU signing. Photo courtesy Facebook, Lorne Stewart

Two indigenous groups from Cumberland House have signed a memorandum of understanding to bring a united voice to negotiations for upcoming economic projects.

The Cree Nation and Metis Local are maintaining separate governance, but want to negotiate as one.

The agreement will help both sides at the bargaining table for some upcoming projects relating to their territory, said Metis local president Gerald Favel.

“I’ve been talking to the Chief Lorne Stewart… he came to me and said ‘you know Cumberland House has been separated for a long time and we should come together as one,’ and I looked at him and I said ‘hey that’s a good idea, you know, to be a stronger voice.’”

This stronger voice will be involved in upcoming negotiations with SaskPower about Cumberland House’s involvement in the E.B. Campbell Dam.

“From there we’re going to move forward, negotiate for the people of Cumberland House for jobs and resources,” Favel said.

Longstanding rifts in the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan have been unfortunate for Metis Locals like his, Favel said.

“The way the Metis Nation has been arguing amongst each other, it’s a sad situation,” he said.

These talks between leadership in Cumberland House started before the Daniels decision was rendered in mid-April.

The Daniels Supreme Court ruling states that Metis people and non-status Indians are considered Indians under the Constitution. The effects have yet to be felt, but the federal government will have greater responsibilities to Canada’s Metis people and non-status Indians.