Métis Nation of Ontario, Ontario Government and Council of Ontario Universities Announce University of Ottawa Selected To Host the First Ontario Research Chair in Métis Studies

    Often Unknown History of Ontario Métis Will Start To Be Told

    TORONTO, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Gary Lipinski, President of the
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) and Métis leadership from across Ontario joined
with the Honourable Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the
Honourable John Milloy, Minister of Training Colleges and Universities and the
Council of Ontario Universities to formally announce that the University of
Ottawa has been selected to host the Research Chair in Métis Studies announced
last year.
    Today's announcement is the result of several years of hard work and
efforts by the Métis Nation of Ontario, in partnership and collaboration with
the Ontario Government and the Council of Ontario Universities, to see this
unique Research Chair become a reality.
    The Chair is the first of its kind in Ontario and its goal is to increase
research and create a greater common understanding of the Métis people in
Ontario, past and present. This initiative also supports Ontario's Aboriginal
Education Strategy for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students. The strategy
is intended to help close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
students and increase knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal histories,
cultures and perspectives among all students.
    In 2007, the McGuinty Government provided an endowment of $2 million to
the Council of Universities to support the creation of a Chair. In 2008, this
commitment was enhanced by the McGuinty Government by an additional
$1 million. The University of Ottawa has also committed an additional $1
million to support the Chair position, bringing the total support for the
Métis Research Chair to $4 million.
    Eight Ontario universities competed in an independent selection process
established by the Council of Ontario Universities with the support and input
from the Métis Nation of Ontario. An arms-length Selection Panel chose the
University of Ottawa from the proposals submitted. The Panel was chaired by
Dr. David Strangway, Founder and Chancellor of Quest University Canada. Other
distinguished Selection Panel members included Dr. Arthur May and Dr. Harold
Shapiro, and Dr. Harry Swain, Secretary.
    "For the Métis Nation, this announcement represents a new and exciting
chapter in our history as a distinct Aboriginal people in this province - a
chapter where the stories of our people, our communities and our contributions
to Ontario will finally start to be told. We look forward to working with the
Research Chair and the University of Ottawa as we begin to write the largely
untold history of the Métis people in this province and share that history
with fellow Ontarians," said President Lipinski.
    France Picotte, MNO Chair, added, "This announcement demonstrates the
successes that can be achieved when Aboriginal peoples work in collaboration
with government and academic institutions to achieve shared goals. Through
partnerships like this, we can build stronger and more inclusive academic
institutions which benefit Métis students as well as all Ontarians."
    "Establishing a Research Chair in Métis Studies honours the significant
contribution the Métis people have made to Ontario and it ensures that more
Ontarians will learn about the vibrant Métis culture," said John Milloy,
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities.
    "The Ontario Government is committed to forging stronger relationships
with Aboriginal people based on trust and respect," said Minister of
Aboriginal Affairs Brad Duguid. "The work of the Métis Research Chair will
help increase understanding of the history and important contributions that
Métis people have made and continue to make in our province today."
    "We recognize the importance and relevance of the Chair in Métis Studies.
The University of Ottawa is extremely honoured and privileged to have been
chosen as the recipient," explained Mr. Allan Rock, President and
Vice-Chancellor. "This is yet another opportunity for us to enhance our
existing relationships and commitments to Métis, First Nations and Inuit
    The University of Ottawa will begin their search immediately for a
distinguished candidate for the Research Chair position and will submit the
nomination to the Selection Panel for approval. It is expected that the Chair
will be installed early in the 2009-10 academic year.
    President Lipinski concluded, "On behalf of the MNO, I want to thank the
McGuinty Government for working with us to see this dream of the Métis people
in this province become a reality. This announcement represents yet another
positive development in the Métis Nation's new relationship with the Ontario
Government, as a part of our ongoing discussions to arrive at a MNO-Ontario
framework agreement," said President Lipinski.

    The Métis are a distinct Aboriginal people with a unique culture,
language and heritage, with an ancestral homeland that extends across Ontario,
Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and into the Northwest
Territories and the northwestern United States. The Métis played an
instrumental role in the shaping of Canada, and work tirelessly to share their
culture, traditions and knowledge of the environment with their fellow
Canadians. Today, the Métis live, work, raise their families and pay taxes in
communities from Ontario westward.

For further information:

For further information: or interviews: Jen St. Germain, MNO Education
and Training Branch, C: (613) 858-2284, jennifers@metisnation.org

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