Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller is agreeing to meet with the Chiefs of Ontario next week to discuss an agreement between the Metis Nation of Ontario and Canada.
The agreement recognizes the Metis' right to self-government under Section 35 of the Constitution.
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod says there is concern about the legitimacy of some people claiming Metis status.
"We have been very clear that our central issue is not that we reject all Metis or Metis rights. The issue is that the specific communities represented by the MNO did not exist historically and can't be Section 35 rights holders. First Nations face incredible, serious resource challenges to deal with housing, clean water, mental and physical health issues. Creating new groups without legitimate research evidence will reduce the amount of resources available to deal with the urgent issues we face as rights holders," says McLeod.
The Chiefs of Ontario want Miller to delay implementation of the agreement until First Nations concerns are addressed.
Miller addressed the issue while speaking virtually to the Chiefs of Ontario meeting this week.
He acknowledges there have been issues regarding the legitimacy of those who claim to be Metis, but the MNO is addressing its membership.
"They have made some effort in shoring up their registry and working on their membership and truly tracing the rights of the people who are Metis. So that has evolved, and there will be work to do in making sure that is robust," says Miller.
"But again, going back to the basic premise of the legislation that will be introduced in parliament, it is one that deals with a very basic right of people to organize themselves, and it is really their internal self-governance that allows them to move and operate in a respectful relationship with Canada," adds Miller.
The Chiefs pressed for the meeting with the Minister, to which Miller agreed.