Last month, the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan made the decision to withdraw from Bill C-53.

The beleaguered bill was a proposed self-governance treaty between Ottawa and Metis Nations in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Ontario.

When the MN-S announced the decision to withdraw from the bill, president Glen McCallum said the Metis Nation wanted to pursue its own self-governance treaty with the federal government that would benefit Metis citizens in Saskatchewan.

On Monday morning, the MN-S held a press conference discussing the first major step toward that goal.

At this weekend’s Metis Nation Legislative Assembly in Saskatoon, the MN-S introduced a document to the delegates they say will guide them toward a self-governance treaty.

The document is known as Kischi Mashinahikan ooschi Michif – or the Sacred Document of the Michif.

“This is our moment,” said Glen McCallum, President of the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan. “Our nation has been fighting for (this) for 150 years. Today, we are one very important step closer to fully realizing our inherent right to self-government.”

The document will now be the subject of several engagement sessions with Metis citizens in the province over the next few months. However, president McCallum says he believes the engagement process has been ongoing for years.

“For us it’s easy because we have been doing that for a long time now in how we engage through our Provincial Metis Council and our assembly. A lot of people are in the loop as far as where we go from here,” he said.

MN-S Vice-President Michelle LeClair says the engagement sessions will be mostly educational, however she does say “nothing is set in stone.”

“This document is the result of a lot of work and an incredible amount of engagement,” said LeClair. “For the most part this is an education piece about what treaty is and how it will affect our communities.”

“It’s historic and it’s our time,” she added.

While the MN-S has not yet formalized an official plan for how the document will be ratified, the hope is to have Metis citizens ratify the document this fall.

The hope would then be to have federal legislation implemented in early 2025.

The MN-S has launched a website dedicated to frequenty asked questions about the document, which can be found here.

(PHOTO – MN-S President Glen McCallum and MN-S Vice-President Michelle LeClair speak at a press conference on the Sacred Document of the Michif.  Photo by Joel Willick.)