The notion of jealousy is a relatively new phenomenom in the Métis community, according to Manitoba Métis Federation president David Chartrand, it’s also one he’d like to see eradicated.
“We need to follow the path of economic development,” Chartrand said. “We must start supporting each other. We must support each other’s businesses and support each other’s opportunities to make sure we take that cancerous disease called jealousy out of our communities.”
Chartrand believes the MMF can play a role in celebrating Métis peoples’ achievements throughout the province and the country.
“This whole issue of jealousy, and wherever it came from, it’s not part of our culture and it’s not part of who we are,” Chartrand said. “It’s a deterrent for supporting each other when it comes to economic development. Instead of being proud of someone as they advance themselves, they try to bring them down.”
With an unemployment rate more than double the provincial average, Chartrand said empowering Métis people, who he believes are the hardest working people in the world, is the key.
“Economics are important to the Métis people,” Chartrand said. “We’re tax payers and pay taxes in the hundreds of millions in this country, but if you look at our budgets they are very small. We need our fair share and all we are asking is to get back some of our tax dollars, we’ll take care of ourselves.”
It’s no coincidence that the economic woes have come behind the failing of traditional Métis economic drivers such as hunting and fishing.
Chartrand said there needs to be action, on both sides, to avoid more people moving toward the welfare system instead of the job force.
“If we don’t get jobs we’re going to have a lot of people on welfare out there,” Chartrand said. “And I’m concerned about that and that’s not what we want as a government.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 1, 2012