ECMA nomination withdrawal highlights debate of who is Métis

ECMA nomination withdrawal highlights debate of who is Métis
From CBC - March 14, 2018

The East Coast Music Awards decision to withdraw the nomination of a Cape Breton guitarist in the Indigenous Artist of the Year category is drawing criticism from a group that says the association has no business deciding who is Indigenous.

The ECMA's board of directors withdrew Maxim Cormier's nomination last week and issued a statement saying the organization determinedCormieris not recognized as Aboriginal under the Canadian constitution.

Cormier, a classical guitarist fromCheticamp, N.S., identifies as Acadian andMtis. He's amember of the HighlandsMtisNation, which describes itself as an association created to "foster, promote and preserve ourMtisidentity and heritage."

"Based on research conducted, input from government and input from many community stakeholders, that in its current state, the law has not recognized MaximCormieror the community he is a member of, the HighlandMtis," said Dean Stairs, chair of theECMAboard, in an statement Thursday.

'Regrettable for all involved'

Stairs called the situation "regrettable for all involved" and pledged to look at its nomination criteria and to make sure it's "more clearly defined, specifically as it relates to self-identification."

The board declined to comment further.

Cormier also declined to do an interview but referred questions to theCouncil of the First Mtis People of Canada.

KaroleDumont, the organization's chief who is based in Ottawa,said theECMAsshould not be dictating who is and who is not Indigenous.

"We are appalled. To us it's not even an issue whether he's Indigenous or not. We have proven it, beyond doubt. He's part of a very, very important Mtis family," said Dumont.

She said her group is now considering taking legal action and wants to see the nomination reinstated.

Who qualifies as Mtis has long been a contentious issue in Canada.

For instance, the Council of the First Mtis People of Canada is not part of the MtisNation, which does not have any governance structures east of Ontario.

The website of Indigenous and Northern Affairssays there is "no legal or legislative definition ofMtis." A spokesperson for the department saidthe government does not maintain a list of Mtisindividuals or groups.

Award recognizes role models

Must be part of present, historical communities


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