“Ours is really an incredible story but there is so much more to that is yet to be written,” said Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Margaret Froh at the MNO Annual General Assembly in Peterborough.
President Froh made her remarks during her State of the Nation Address where she reflected on progress towards self-government made both recently and over the MNO’s 25 year history. Over 400 MNO citizens, guests and partner representatives from across Ontario attended the three-day gathering where MNO leaders reported on recent agreements with the federal and provincial governments that have advanced the Métis rights agenda.
President Froh stressed the importance of the MNO-Canada-Ontario Framework Agreement for Advancing Reconciliation that she described as “monumentally historic.” She stated that the MNO is fully prepared to keep advancing its mandate of self-determination and self-government on behalf of the rights of Metis people throughout Ontario. This she stated “is about respect for our rights, our government and our people and we will continue to advance these collective goals as we build for the future.”
The AGA MNO Peterborough and District Wapiti Métis Council hosted the AGA. In addition, important decisions and discussion took place on Métis rights and economic development. Delegates also heard about the Registry and Self Government Readiness Process that is gathering key Citizenship data and that has already resulted in the development of a cutting edge database that will further strengthen the integrity, capacity and efficiency of the MNO Registry’s system. Citizens also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the MNO and participated in numerous Métis cultural celebrations and activities. President Froh stated: “Over the past 25 years the MNO has made many advances,” and she credits much of MNO’s success to “grit, determination and our ongoing commitment to rights of a people with a distinct culture, history, language and way of life.”
That commitment is recognized every year during the AGA through the Suzanne Rochon-Burnett Volunteer of the Year Award. The award is presented to a MNO citizen who has made ongoing contributions to the Métis Nation and his or her own community. This year, Rochon-Burnett's daughter Michele-Elise Burnett presented the award to MNO Great Lakes Métis Council President Peter Coture.
Many dignitaries attended the AGA and brought greetings including: Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef, Director of First Peoples House of Learning at Trent University Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Métis National Council President Clément Chartier, Métis Nation British Columbia President Clara Morin Dal Col, Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett, Curve Lake First Nation Chief Phyllis Williams, Hiawatha First Nation Chief Laurie Carr, Member of the Provincial Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha David Smith and Les Femmes Michif Optipemswak – Women of the Métis Nation President Melanie Omeniho.