On Nov. 28, the first memorandum of its kind meant to foster co-operation between governments was signed in Hay River by the Northwest Territory Metis Nation and the GNWT.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was developed by the governmental bodies in April during meetings between the Metis Nation and the territorial government. It was created to re-establish and build on their collective relationship.
Premier Bob McLeod, who was on hand for the signing, said there were some concerns contributing to the creation of the initiative.
“The (Metis Nation) felt that communication needed to be better co-ordinated and that we should meet together on a more regular basis,” McLeod said.
Betty Villebrun, the president of the Northwest Territory Metis Nation, said she hasn’t seen anything like the memorandum of understanding between the two governments signed before.
“The Northwest Territory Metis Nation is pleased to build upon its ongoing government-to-government relationship with the GNWT through the MOU,” she said. “The MOU will foster collaboration between our governments to maximize benefits and services to northern residents.”
McLeod said there are a number of issues that upcoming meetings and communication will address, such as land selection, employment and economic ventures.
“The NWT Metis Nation had specific interests in enhancing our shared working relationship,” said McLeod. “It is a tangible example of the work we are doing to strengthen our relationships with aboriginal governments.”
The signing took place at the annual general assembly of the Northwest Territory Metis Nation.
From Nov. 27-29, the Hay River Community Hall was abuzz with activity as people from near and far, along with media and government officials, gathered for the assembly.
Only those invited could attend the closed meeting during those three days.
by Angele Cano