Until the 1950s, MÉTIS interests were represented by a variety of local political organizations and activists. In 1961, the National Indian Council was created, under government auspices, as an umbrella group to advocate for the concerns of Métis and nonstatus Indians (usually urban or off-reserve Aboriginal people). By 1968, it became apparent that pursuing such a wide variety of interests through a single organization that was under government influence was problematic. The Canadian Métis Society emerged, which, in turn, became the Native Council of Canada (NCC) in 1970, at the same time as the emergence of the National Indian Brotherhood (now ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS), which was established to represent status Indians. The NCC was composed of provincial and territorial organizations, usually called native councils or Métis and nonstatus Indian associations.
CAP holds an annual assembly that includes member organizations, and it is governed by a board of directors consisting of presidents of the member associations and an executive elected by the assembly. Originally, the Native Council of Canada received federal funds to participate in the FIRST MINISTERS CONFERENCES on Aboriginal rights and CAP has been funded almost entirely by the federal government's Native Citizens' Directorate. The Métis National Council emerged about the same time, and in the same region, as the Prairie Treaty Nations Alliance. In 1983, with the emergence of the Métis National Council as an alternative voice of Métis nationalism, together with the 1985 reinstatement under Bill C-31 of women and their children who had been forcibly enfranchised, it became necessary for the NCC to redefine its objectives. Its transformation in 1993 into the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples was intended to provide a voice for the rapidly growing urban, status and nonstatus Aboriginal population.
For CAP, the long-term effect of the 1985 amendments to the Indian Act has been to focus on the need for off-reserve programs for the rapidly growing Aboriginal population in most urban Canadian communities. CAP policy focuses on practical issues facing local Aboriginal communities such as health, justice, opportunities for youth, housing and environment. To bring attention to these issues, CAP has made presentations to the UN, primarily through the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. CAP rests its demands on the affirmation of Aboriginal rights in the constitution as well as on the needs of First Nations people, and it seeks a special relationship for Métis and nonstatus Indians with the federal government.
Author MICHAEL POSLUNS
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge
The website for the Canadian Aboriginal Writing and Arts Challenge, which features Canada's largest essay writing competition for Aboriginal youth (ages 14-29) and a companion program for those who prefer to work through painting, drawing and photography. See their guidelines, teacher resources, profiles of winners, and more. From the Historica-Dominion Institute.
Aboriginal Canada Portal
The Aboriginal Canada Portal provides First Nations, Métis, and Inuit online resources and information about related government programs and services. A Government of Canada website.
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples represents off-reserve Indian, Inuit, and Métis people, and acts as an advocate for the rights of all Aboriginal peoples. Their website offers background notes, reports, and articles about current programs and issues.
Métis National Council
Since 1983, the Métis National Council has represented the Métis Nation in Canada (MNC). Their extensive website provides information about social, economic, legal, and cultural issues of importance to Métis communities across Canada. Also includes notes about Métis history and various online articles about related topics.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...