The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Metis and non-status are Indians under the Constitution.
The landmark, unanimous ruling will impact the relationship between the federal government and 600,000 Metis and off-reserve Indians, because it means Ottawa has the same responsibility to them as to status Indians and Inuit when it comes to access to federal programs, services and rights as First Nations and Inuit.
Justice Rosalie Abella says in the written ruling that the provincial and federal governments have both denied having legal authority over non-status Indians and Metis, leaving them in a “jurisdictional wasteland.”
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples took the matter to court in 1999, alleging discrimination because they were not considered Indians under the Constitution.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will work in partnership with indigenous peoples in light of the ruling.
Gabriel Daniels wishes his father Harry, who started legal battle to recognize Métis, was still alive for this win pic.twitter.com/2OBOfCI9WH
— Giacomo Panico (@GiacomoPanico) April 14, 2016
We respect today’s Supreme Court ruling on Métis and Indigenous peoples. We’ll review it closely and work to advance reconciliation.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 14, 2016