Métis Nation BC (MNBC), the federally and provincially recognized Nation representing Métis people in British Columbia, is urging those who self-identify as Métis or those with probable Métis heritage to register as a citizen of the Nation.
“Registration is important to connect with your community,” MNBC Acting Vice-President Louis De Jaeger says.
“We’re encouraging people to reach out. We can help people do genealogy and connect you with people in your family.”
MNBC is working hard to build its Nation. It has invested in more resources to ease the current backlog to help speed up the application process.
“Registration is one of the most important things you can do. Think of your children. In the past, a lot of people didn’t want to talk about their heritage. There was a shameful feeling of not quite being First Nations, living in two worlds and living without a lot of rights,” De Jaeger says.
“Now there is more of an interest. It’s OK to say you’re Métis and ask about your past and where you came from.”
What is MNBC?
MNBC is the voice of Métis people, representing nearly 90,000 Métis people in B.C. MNBC is there to help Métis Citizens through a variety of programs and services.
Métis Nation BC is recognized by the Métis National Council, Provincial Government of British Columbia, and the Federal Government of Canada, as the Governing Nation for Métis in B.C.
MNBC works to ensure a safe place for every Métis to call home, supports and creates viable Métis businesses, empowers Métis entrepreneurs, offers employment and skills training, provides an elders assistance program, and offers opportunities for early learning and childhood development. MNBC is also building a network of affordable housing projects throughout the province.
“We’re moving into different areas as we build our Nation,” De Jaeger says.
“It’s all about bringing our people home. That’s our job now. Bringing our people home.
Who is Métis?
The Métis National Council General Assembly adopted a national definition in 2002 that established that “Métis” means a person who self-identifies as Métis, is distinct from other Aboriginal peoples, is of historic Métis Nation Ancestry and who is accepted by the Métis Nation.
The Métis are a distinct Indigenous people and Nation recognized as one of the three Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Métis emerged in the late 18th century as the mixed offspring of Indigenous women and European fur traders. This population established a distinct community with its own unique culture, traditions, language, and way of life. From there, a new Indigenous population emerged – the Métis people.
The infinity symbol in the Métis flag represents the immortality of the Nation and the mixing of two distinct cultures to create a new one.
“The infinity is your mixed blood. You’re always mixed blood,” De Jaeger says.
Why you should register as a citizen
By finding out your heritage, you can become a part of a community and learn about your culture.
By registering as a citizen with MNBC you have access to benefit programs, including post-secondary, trade school, and entrepreneurship grants.
“If we work together and combine our population, we’re going to be taking care of people in a better way,” De Jaeger says.
“Let us help you get registered.”
Registering as a citizen can also provide a sense of belonging and personal insight that comes from connecting with a missing piece of your identity.
“People can get their culture back. They can work with language revitalization and fill that hole to be proud of who they are,” De Jaeger says.
“The most rewarding thing is when I help people and get registered, and they break down and realize they’re finally the person they should be. It’s a healing moment.”
To learn more and become a registered Métis today, visit www.mnbc.ca.