Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare issued the following statement in support of Wabun Tribal Council’s new research, The Historic Abitibi-Inland Métis Community Final Report, released on September 1, 2022:
“I support the Wabun Tribal Council and its member First Nations in their release of The Historic Abitibi-Inland Métis Community Final Report, which serves to protect their homelands and the assertion of their inherent rights and jurisdiction on their traditional and Treaty territories,” said Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare.
The report, prepared by Dr. Darryl Leroux, was initiated in response to concerns from the Wabun Tribal Council and its member First Nations about claims being made by the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) in their territories. The report also challenges the Government of Ontario’s decision to recognize the Abitibi-Inland historic Métis community, located in the upper James Bay watershed and Temiskaming region.
“First Nations have inherent rights to jurisdiction, land, and self-determination, as the original peoples of this land. Both provincial and federal governments have moved to give those rights away–without the jurisdiction to do so and without our permission. Unfortunately, Ontario’s recognition of the so-called historic Métis community in the Abitibi-Inland area is just one example of that.
While First Nations have had to continuously fight to have our rights recognized, the provincial and federal governments have unilaterally created colonial policies and pathways to recognize groups who illegitimately claim Indigenous identity. This practice is the continued erasure of First Nations peoples by colonial governments and has led to damaging consequences for First Nations in the Abitibi-Inland area.
The Chiefs of Ontario supports legitimate Métis claims. However, there are no such claims on the Abitibi homelands. This is not an internal power struggle nor an example of lateral violence. As demonstrated by Dr. Darryl Leroux in the final report, the very existence of a Métis historic community in Wabun Tribal Council’s territory has been discredited.
We stand with Wabun Tribal Council and the fight to protect their homelands and legitimate Indigenous claims to traditional land and other rights.”