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The Métis in Western Canada: O-Tee-Paym-Soo-Wuk

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Métis Veterans

The Métis have a long and proud history of service in the Canadian military. The Métis as soldiers were well respected and decorated for their efforts, but like the First Nations soldiers who served in the First and Second World Wars and the Korean War, they returned home to find that they would not share the same benefits that other members of the Canadians forces were given.

In many cases, the benefits that were available included training and vocational instruction that required an educational level beyond what many Métis had. In the same way, offers of housing in the cities and land outside of traditional territories were inaccessible to many Métis veterans.

Aboriginal veterans responded by threatening lawsuits, which ultimately resulted in a settlement of $20,000 for First Nations veterans or their spouses in 2002. However, this deal overlooked both non-status First Nations and Métis veterans.

To attain a settlement, the National Métis Veterans Association launched a class action law suit against the federal government in August 2002. In addition, Métis veterans filed a claim to the United Nations Human Rights Commission against Canada stating that the actions of the Canadian government was in violation of two articles in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The federal government has responded to these requests by providing some funding through existing programs and allocating more funds to recognize the Métis veteran’s contribution during the wars. In November 2004, the federal government provided $50,000 for the Métis Veterans Outreach Program, which will act to bring information to Métis veterans about the benefits now available to them. The federal government provided an additional $50,000 for the National Métis Veterans Association to produce a report on the state of Métis veterans and to create a documentary about the military contributions of Métis veterans and their experiences upon returning to Canada.

Sources

http://www.newswire.ca/fgov/en/releases/archive/November2004
/10/c1477.html?view=print

http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-71-1039-5839/conflict_war/
canada_veterans/clip8
   http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2003/02/09/23636-cp.html  http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/print/CTVNews/
1029187105831_96/?hub=Canada&subhub=PrintStory
  http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/
1036969983986_30/?hub

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