The Facts: MNO Citizenship


Frequently Asked Questions about the MNO’s Citizenship and Registry System

Q: Who does the MNO represent?

The MNO was created to represent and advocate on behalf of its citizens who are rights-bearing members of Métis communities that collectively hold rights, interests, and outstanding claims protected by sections 25 and 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including, but not limited to, the right of self-government.

Q: Who can be a citizen under the MNO’s current Registry policy?

In order to receive MNO citizenship, an applicant to the MNO Registry must:

  1. Demonstrate a genealogical connection to a Métis Ancestor documented in the Historic Métis Nation Homeland (as shown/described in the MNO Registry Policy);

  2. Ensure each genealogical link in their lineage is supported by credible documents that meet the burden of proof;

  3. Provide a signed Oath of Allegiance, which serves as a declaration confirming that the applicant is not a member of 'another aboriginal registry';

  4. Applicants must also pay an application fee, provide a photo, and provide other administrative information in order to allow their file to be processed.

Q: I self-identify as Métis and my ancestors come from the historic northwest. Am I eligible for a MNO citizenship card?

Yes. You could be eligible for a MNO citizenship card if you choose to make an application to the MNO. You will need to provide proof of your ancestral connection to a Métis ancestor in the historic northwest. More information on the MNO’s application process and the requirements are available on the MNO’s Registry Page.

Q: I self-identify as Métis and my Métis ancestors come from the historic Métis community recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in Powley decision. Am I eligible for a MNO citizenship card?

Yes. You could be eligible for a MNO citizenship card if you choose to make an application to the MNO. You will need to provide proof of your ancestral connection to a Métis ancestor who was part of the Sault Ste. Marie historic Métis community. More information on the MNO’s application process and the requirements are available on the MNO’s Registry Page.

Q: I self-identify as Métis and my ancestors come from one of the other six identified historic Métis communities in Ontario. Am I eligible for an MNO citizenship card?

Yes. You could be eligible for a MNO citizenship card if you choose to make an application to the MNO. You will need to provide proof of your ancestral connection to a Métis ancestor who was part of one of these historic Métis communities. More information on the MNO’s application process and the requirements are available on the MNO’s Registry Page.

Q: I have First Nations ancestry but am not eligible for Indian Status, am I eligible for a MNO citizenship card?

No. This does not make you eligible for a MNO citizenship card.

Q: I have mixed ancestry that comes from the East Coast. Am I eligible for a MNO citizenship card?

No. This does not make you eligible for a MNO citizenship card.

Q: I have mixed ancestry and my ancestors come from Quebec, am I eligible for a MNO citizenship card?

No. This does not make you eligible for a MNO citizenship card.

Q: I self-identify as Métis and my ancestors come from the Toronto area. Am I eligible for a MNO citizenship card?

No. This does not make you eligible for an MNO citizenship card.

Q: I understand that there are 6 identified historic Métis communities in Ontario, which are in addition to the historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Community affirmed in the Powley decision. These historic Métis communities were jointly announced by MNO and Ontario in August 2017. How did the MNO and Ontario identify these communities?

These communities are not new they have been widely recognized in Ontario since before the MNO existed. The story of these communities goes back generations, but objective contemporary research was only able to be conducted more recently. Following the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R v. Powley in 2003, rather than embark on costly litigation to use the courts to pursue the recognition of each Métis community in Ontario, the MNO worked with its legal counsel and Ontario to develop a process to jointly assess and commission evidence related to the possible existence of historic Métis communities in Ontario.

This evidence was organized based on a rigorous process and the test established in the Powley decision which requires: demographic evidence (census records and other historic documents); proof of shared customs and traditions; and proof of collective identity. This work was focused only on identifying potential historic Métis communities, not contemporary rights-bearing Métis communities. This collaborative process took more than five years to complete. During this time, the MNO and Ontario:

  • Reviewed existing research

  • Commissioned additional research

  • Altogether, over 25 historic reports were extensively reviewed which were supported by thousands of historic documents

These reports are all available on the MNO’s website. All of these reports were prepared by independent professional historians and ethno-historians. Based on this collaborative review and focused on the guidance in Powley, MNO and Ontario were able to make joint conclusions as to where in Ontario historic Métis communities existed. These identified historic Métis communities do not cover all of Ontario. As expected, and as our members already knew, the evidence demonstrated that they were situated around the historic fur trade routes of the Great Lakes, other Ontario waterways and largely align with what has been referred to as the historic northwest.

Q: Is it true that all Métis Nation Governments were fully behind the MNO and the Powley family as the Powley case weaved its way successfully through every level of court until the eventual victory in the Supreme Court of Canada?

Yes, the Métis National Council and all its governing members (Métis Nation of Ontario, Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF), Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA), Métis Nation Saskatchewan and the Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) were fully behind the Powley family and the MNO before, during and after the decision came down. See the Métis National Council’s Update on National Matters October, 2019.

Q: Is it true that this was the first successful Section 35 Métis rights case anywhere in Canada?

Yes, Powley remains one of the most important Section 35 Métis rights decisions. The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed in Powley—consistent with the submissions of the MNO—that: The term “Métis” in s. 35 does not encompass all individuals with mixed Indian and European heritage; rather,it refers to distinctive peoples who, in addition to their mixed ancestry, developed their own customs, way of life, and recognizable group identity separate from their Indian or Inuit and European forebears. The Courtestablished a test for demonstrating the existence of a historic Métis community. The decision in Powley resulted in tremendous benefits for the Métis Nation and all Métis Nation Governments.

Q: Is it true that Métis National Council President Clem Chartier was co-counsel on the Métis National Council’s intervention in support of the Powley Case?