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Landmark ruling could open the door to education for Saskatchewan Metis
Published Tuesday, January 8, 2013 1:02PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 8, 2013 2:38PM CST
The head of the Metis Nation Saskatchewan said Tuesday’s federal court ruling opens the door to a host of benefits for Metis people.
The federal court ruled that Metis and non-status Indians qualify as “Indians” under the Constitution Act of 1867.
Both groups have been in jurisdictional limbo for decades, and the ruling places them under the jurisdiction of the federal government in Ottawa.
Robert Doucette, president of Metis Nation Saskatchewan, said the decision will allow for negotiations on issues such as access to land and resources, self-government, and better access to general programs.
Doucette pointed out that the ruling doesn’t immediately improve any benefits, but could lead to future changes.
As an example, Doucette pointed to the issue of post-secondary education.
“Presently Metis people do not have access to the funding process First Nations and the Inuit have where they get four years of funding to get an undergrad,” Doucette said. “I hope with respect to this ruling the federal government will see merit in that and they will extend those obligations to Metis people.”
Doucette said these benefits would benefit more than just Metis people.
“At the end of the day, we’re facing a labour shortage,” he said.