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
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.