Metis Land Claims Advocacy in Saskatchewan


In 1939, representatives from the Metis Society of Saskatchewan approached the provincial government for assistance in petitioning the federal government in recognition of outstanding and unresolved land claims. Please see "Relevant Resources" below for complete details.

As indicated by the final entry in "Relevant Resources" (below), the provincial government concluded that it had no obligation to Metis people as it relates to assisting in petitioning for or providing for restitution of unresolved land claims. However, the researcher notes that these conclusions are no longer considered legally justifiable, as the 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Daniels vs. Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development) affirmed that Metis and non-status Indians are, in fact, Indians in accordance with section 91 of the Constitution. This also means that they fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government, rendering provincial assertions of jurisdiction irrelevant. The researcher also notes that the statement “such settlement proved to be of little or no value in fitting them for civilized life”, of which similar sentiments are reiterated in section five, adheres to a Social Darwinist view of ethnic hierarchies of civilizational progress, and is therefore racially discriminatory. Finally, the researcher notes that the evidence which the provincial government relied on is not disclosed in Daniels’ book. To the extent that these assertions were rooted in written documentation such as government records, to the neglect of overwhelming Metis oral historical testimony which makes claim to the contrary, such assertions are racially discriminatory. While it can be acknowledged that the report was a “product of its time” in relationship to the acceptance of oral historical testimony in Canadian politico-legal systems, the logic which excluded oral historical, or at the very least non-governmental or unwritten sources as legitimate was based in assumptions that such material, much like the cultural groups such material originated from, lacked rationality and epistemic credibility. As well, since Delgamuukw v. British Columbia [1997], oral historical evidence has been considered admissible in the Canadian court of law.----------The establishment of Metis agricultural colonies can be perceived as a means of allowing the government to provide a short-term solution while also avoiding acceptance of responsibility as it relates to joining the Metis in advocacy or directly providing restitution by ceding title to Crown land. In the long-term, this solution did not provide aid to the majority of landless Metis, nor did it increase their access to education, both of which would have provided the Metis with greater assurance of financial security and prosperity in the future.