Advocates for the social and economic development of the Ontario Woodland Metis Tribe
Advocates for the social and economic development of the Ontario Woodland Metis Tribe
As you may know, the service delivery corporation known as the Ontario Métis Aboriginal Association was forced into receivership in 2007. Up until then, the corporation was active in countless communities, delivering several social and economic programs on behalf of the government. However due to baseless accusations and political agendas, the corporation was targeted by the government and relentlessly audited and investigated.
After the investigation was concluded, the RCMP's finding was that there was no wrong-doing, but regrettably the damage had already been done. Funding to the corporation was cut during the investigations, all of our records were seized, and with no funding or the corporation fell into receivership.
Although the Ontario Métis Aboriginal Association may be gone, the Woodland Métis Tribe is alive and well and our dedicated members feel that it is our solemn duty to rebuild our organization, but this time, WITHOUT the help of any Federal or Provincial funding. Our past dependence on government funding was the cause of our demise and it can never be allowed to happen again.
That’s why we need you, our members, more than ever. Our goal is to build a strong, lean tribal organization supported exclusively by our membership so that we can continue the fight for our rights and pursue justice to highest courts of the land without the fear of recrimination or reprisal from government agencies feeling threatened by our commitment and resolve.
The Powley case which went to the Supreme Court of Canada, had its roots in the fact that Powley held an OMAA membership card which gave him the rights to hunt moose. The Supreme Court of Canada upheld that fact. Over the years the Woodland Métis Tribe has been involved in over 200 similar legal cases, all with the intent of protecting our membership.
With your support, we will continue to be a powerful advocate of your rights, ensuring that our voices are never silenced and that our rights, and the rights of our children are pursued relentlessly.
Thank you for your consideration and support!
OMAA - The Woodland Métis Tribe's rich past draws on a strong heritage and colourful history of a people in a land which has been our home since time immemorial. Historical documentation commissioned by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples makes it increasingly apparent that there is a diversity among Métis peoples in Canada which must be addressed. Historians agree that there were several populations of Métis people in Canada which came into existence both before and after the more familiar Métis communities of the prairie provinces normally associated with the Riel resistances of 1870 and 1895.
The development of a distinct, cohesive, mixed blood population was a major factor in colonial life. Colonial exploration pushed its way into the upper Great Lakes area in the 1620's and by 1654 a meeting of Half-Breeds (or Métis) was recorded. Even European historians make it pretty clear that Mackinac and Sault Ste Marie had large populations of Half-Breeds; in fact the Indians and Half-Breeds were the only permanent population in the area up until 1763.
During those many years when neither the English nor the French succeeded in dominating the Upper Lakes area, it was the Half-Breed Langlade family that provided the same kind of leadership that the Riel's were to later provide in Red River in the next century. In fact, the formal surrender of the Sault area to the English was conducted between English officials and the Half-Breed Charles Langlade, not the French military.
For a century, the Half-Breeds of the Sault built their nation on the economy of the fur trade, and their military alliances with both Indian and colonial forces, when it became necessary to defend their homeland against the English and later the Americans. According to research done by OMNSIA (the predessor to OMAA - The Woodland Métis Tribe) in 1978, there were two attempts to set up a separate province or state in the Upper Lakes region which had the full support of most Métis. The first plan for a separate province was proposed by Antoine Lournet de Lemothe-Cadillac in 1760. Cadillac's idea (and that of the Ottawa and Sauteur in his garrison) was to assimilate the Indian population to form one community. Cadillac was charged, arrested, acquitted, and removed from office. A century later the same fate befell another commander in the area, Robert Rogers, who re-opened the Michilimackinac fur trade. In response to local, and a considerable amount of Halfbreed pressure, he considered enlisting the help of the French to set up a separate province. He was charged, tried, and acquitted of treason, but he too was removed from his post. Such historical events confirm the European's awareness of the need for a distinct Métis society as early as 1760 in what is today the Woodland area of Ontario.
In the late 1960's a group of dedicated Woodland Métis visionaries incorporated OMNSIA, the Ontario Métis and Non-Status Indian Association in the Province of Ontario. It was decided to incorporate to facilitate interaction and cooperation within the Canadian Government's legislation regarding non-profit entities.
OMNSIA's incorporation was also in direct response to the gross under representation in most Canadian institutions that are supposed to be representative of all Canadian Aboriginal People. The founders decided that OMNSIA's sphere of influence and governance would be exclusive and separate for Métis People with roots in Ontario because other Métis Tribes such as the Red River Métis (or Prairie Métis) already had representation in their home provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
In the late 1980's OMNSIA changed its name to the Ontario Métis Aboriginal Association (OMAA), discarding the Government of Canada's discriminatory "Non-Status Indian" designation. In doing so, OMAA responded to the wishes of the growing population of Aboriginal peoples residing in the broader Ontario community who sought the organization's support and representation. After all, we are all Aboriginal people and as such, guaranteed constitutional rights whether we live on a reserve or not -- "status" has nothing to do with being an Aboriginal person, it is simply a label -- there is nothing Aboriginal about it.
Since its inception, we have faced many challenges and obstacles and we will continue to deal with issues to ensure our membership's recognition and inclusion with all things Aboriginal. It has always been The Woodland Métis Tribe's philosophy to face challenges head on - turning obstacles into hurdles. Most importantly, OMAA has always striven to maintain good relations with all Aboriginal groups, not getting embroiled in confrontational relations. The Woodland Métis Tribe has made it clear in our mandates and practices that we will to work with all Aboriginal groups and peoples to resolve problems and move forward in a progressive manner.
Today's OMAA - The Woodland Métis Tribe is growing at an astounding rate. We are composed of a growing constituency and membership supported by a dedicated group of directors and support staff who uphold a proud legacy while looking to the future to identify and pursue creative and innovative means to help advance the aspirations of the organization and the Woodland Métis communities across Ontario.
We feel that the legal, political and academic emphasis of the last decade on the prairie Métis populations has resulted in a lack of recognition and accommodation of Métis elsewhere in Canada -- it is this imbalance which The Woodland Métis Tribe aspires to negate. As Woodland Métis and Aboriginal Peoples we must work collectively to stress our need for recognition and acceptance as a distinct Aboriginal society using our historic Aboriginal title and treaty rights as our basis of claim.
Michael Eugene McGuire (Sardine) passed away peacefully at Bethammi Nursing Home on the evening of July 5, 2017 after only a very short stay of a month in long term care, he spent his last day with his wife, Linda McGuire, having lunch and dinner talking and laughing, he spoke of brother Robert “Ping” Donio, he then went to sleep and peacefully passed. Michael was 72 years old, born September 4th, 1944 to Patrick McGuire (Baba) & Annie McGuire (LeGarde); he is the fifth child of sixteen siblings in his family, he was born in Beardmore, Ontario close to his home of MacDiarmid Metis Settlement located on the shores of Lake Nipigon. Michael was a proud Metis man of Ojibwa and Irish decent. He lived a traditional life as a Metis man of Canada living off the land, fishing, setting nets, blueberry picking, hunting, known for his story telling and learning the old ways of his ancestors, he also worked in the bush most his life (pulp cutting at one point) before starting his political career in the 1960's; it is then that Michael and group of other Metis peoples including his father Patrick McGuire fought for the rights of non-status Aboriginals and Metis people of Ontario; this goal started the organization Lake Nipigon Metis Association formed to the Ontario Metis and Non-Status Organization that lead to become what is now known as the Ontario Metis Aboriginal Association in the 1980's, where their goal was to represent the Aboriginals and Metis people of Ontario who were considered non-status by the Government of Canada by fighting to end the racism and prejudice in the Indian Act. Michael McGuire took part in seeing that Metis people were included in the 1982 Charter of Rights & Freedoms of Canada where their inherent rights were protected as Indigenous peoples. Michael's legacy continues still today with ever growing members supporting the cause together with all peoples of Canada to move forward in a progressive manner. His contribution to our history and the history of Canada is rich and his passing is an impact to be felt across our treaty areas. He passed on wisdom to his children including the children who adopted him as a father. Michael will be sadly missed by his wife Linda McGuire (King), his children; Eugenie (Bubsy), Michelle, Rachel (Cheeksy), Elliot, Mahogany and Veronica (Kaj Erickson), his grandchildren Dustin, Dakota, Avery, Aliah, Raeanne, Austyn, Metis, and Joshua, and his great grand children, Kitana & Cory, Sophia & Aria, Jasmine, Chanel, as well as his God daughter Cora-Lee, McGuire-Cyrette, whom he saw as his daughter and walked her down the aisle at her wedding. He was predeceased by his father Patrick, mother Annie, his second mother Auntie Amelia McGuire Donio who helped nurse him, his siblings, Nathaniel (Nate/brother), George (brother), Julia (sister), Pamala Bertin (peemee/sister) and Robert Donio (Ping); his nephews Mutt & Fatman, who he took under his wing before their passing. He is survived by his siblings Elsie Hagar, Agnes Harrison, Patrick McGuire Sr (Sonny-Boy), Maureen Pelletier, Russell McGuire, Henry McGuire, Daniel McGuire, Kathleen Moses, Cecilia Airns, Sullivan McGuire and Dr. Patricia McGuire and numerous cousins of nearly 6 generations including Michael Toset, Eugene LeFrancious (Bubby) and many nieces, nephews. There will be a viewing for close family & friends at Harborview funeral home on Saturday, July 8th, 2017 at 11:00 am to 12:00pm. The funeral services are on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 at 1:00 pm at St. Ann's church in the Fort William First Nation, with reception to follow right after at St. Ann's then the burial to follow at the Sunset Memorial Gardens. If friends so desire, donations may be made to (ONWA) Ontario Native Women's Associations' Charitable Foundation in honour of his mother's Annie McGuire' Memorial Scholarship. The sacred fire was lit on the evening of his passing. His pallbearers are his grandson, Austin McGuire, step son, Elliot Thompson, Robert Donio-Bonear, Patty McGuire-Hagar, Eugene Bubby LeFrancious, & Freddy Goodman. He believed that hard work pays off; he would say music calms the beast, and he believed in the second plane.