She relates a time in 1976 when she and her small son returned to Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick where she was born and grew up. Aside from having lost her status for marrying a non “Indian”, she was treated by her Native community as an outsider siting that:, "There was a lot of people sceptical because they thought I was taking away their part of funding, which I wasn't. They told me to go back to where I came from … I was born there." (Quoted from the CBC Radio article above)
News networks, and especially Social media, has been rife with news of First Nation opposition to perceived Metis claims dealing with identity and rights. Senator Lovelace’s experience brings home the crux of First Nation concerns.
But, not to be left out, some university academics have also sided with First Nations people (for obscure, personal reasons) to fuel the identity fire and attempt to misdirect Canadians by subverting the Metis definition. (Another story) They begrudgingly accept the Powley test and conclude that it is the only viable definition—because these Metis are linked by kinship, or in a social way, to living indigenous communities. New France and Acadian Metis were especially targeted as not Metis but some other fictive entity who have no right whatever to reconciliation. The effect of all these misdirections, whether intentional or not, has divided everyone with “Indian ancestry” and fuelled mistrust, disrespect, and irrational conclusions.
Are ancestral Metis from New France and Acadia a threat to the livelihood of First Nation peoples? I will say unequivocally, no! The majority of us are successful Canadians. We own our homes. We have (or had----for those now retired) excellent jobs and careers. We enjoy all the perks of being Canadian. But that is not to say that we are all fairing well and it is for these members that we need, at times, some government assistance.
Do we deserve a homeland and self government? Yes! Do we need social assistance for our communities? Absolutely not!
We want the same thing that all indigenous people in Canada want, namely, freedom to honour our heritage without harassment or discrimination and to development our communities unfettered in whatever way we determine.
We invite First Nation people and leaders to talk to us! Some of our Metis leaders have tried without success to reach out in good will. Set aside the idea that we will diminish First Nation benefits and security. A cousin once told me that an elder of a local band was happy that more indigenous descendants could help push the giant boulder that encompasses life under the Indian Act. We will surely help if we are asked.
Good will and an effort by First Nation people to communicate with us will lead to eventual agreement and ultimately the unity of all indigenous people of good will!