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Manitoba Metis Federation Claims Victory in Supreme Court Case

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Mar 8, 2013) - This Supreme Court of Canada decision opens the doors for government negotiations with the Governments of Canada and Manitoba with the Manitoba Metis and signals a new era of opportunity for all Canadians.

In a landmark judgment handed down this morning by the Supreme Court of Canada, the ruling in the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF) land claim case has successfully ended a court challenge lasting three decades.

"Not only will this ruling fundamentally change the course of Crown-Métis relations in Canada for generations to come, but the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed the outstanding claims of the Manitoba Métis and the children of the Red River Settlement", says President David Chartrand of the MMF. "As the Supreme Court said so well - So long as the constitutional grievance at issue here remains outstanding, the job of reconciliation and constitutional harmony remains unachieved."

The case called Manitoba Métis Federation et al. v. Canada and Manitoba was initiated by the leadership of the Federation in 1981. It dates back historically to 1870, where the Government of Canada first negotiated with Louis Riel and the Metis Nation at the Red River Settlement. These negotiations led to the passage of the Manitoba Act of 1870 but also included promises to the Manitoba Metis for the protection of their lands and rights in the new province.

Over time, these promises were not honoured by the federal government which led to this court challenge. The MMF have been seeking a declaration that there was historic wrongdoing from the Canadian government towards the Manitoba Métis and to enter into formal negotiations with the Crown.

"This is a wonderful day for the Métis Nation and Canada as a whole. From being partners in Confederation, to tax-paying residents in our communities, our people have and will always be proud of our role in building this great country," concludes President Chartrand.

"Today, we are even prouder, and are confident that Louis Riel and our ancestors are smiling today. This is a great day for Canada."

The MMF has requested a meeting with Prime Minister Harper and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to discuss next steps and formalize a negotiation process.