Court of appeal decision means changes for Métis in NWT

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Yellowknife, NWT – The president of the North Slave Métis Alliance says a federal court of appeal decision late last week is a win-win for his people.

The Court ruled Métis people in Canada are Indians under the Constitution, and have full access to federal programs and services covered under the Indian Act.

Bill Enge explains what that means for Métis people.

“That would translate into access to post-secondary education funding, university and college entrance preparation funding. They would have to provide the same health benefits to Métis as they do for First Nations and Inuit.”

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Enge says it also has ramifications for Métis hunters and their status in the Northwest Territories.

“This ruling clearly demonstrates that Métis people’s rights are on par with First Nations and Inuit rights. It’s time for the Government of the Northwest Territories to respect our aboriginal rights and provide us with a share of the Bathurst Caribou herd harvest.”

Enge says it also opens the door for land claims negotiations between the Métis and the federal government.

He says there’s no timeframe for that until the appeal process ends, 30 days from last Thursday.

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