On May 31, 2011, Rupertsland Institute (RLI), the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) and the University of Alberta (UofA) formally announced the creation of Canada’s first Métis-specific academic research centre called the Rupertsland Centre for Métis Research (RCMR). The announcement of RCMR, as the MNA-RLI research arm, is the culmination of many years of effort beginning with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the MNA and the U of A in the spring of 2007.
As a result of the MOU, a formal Working Group was established between RLI (previously MNA’s LMD program) and the U of A to negotiate the development of the RCMR.
The Working Group’s proposal for an academic centre, as submitted to the U of A Strategic Initiatives Group, the Centre’s and Institute’s Committee, and Academic Planning Committee, highlighted the following points: The central purpose of the RCMR will be to serve as an expansive academic research program specifically designed for Métis concerns. A leading priority for the RCMR will include the development of a policy think tank. Additionally, the goals and objectives of the academic research centre will include: the formation of local, provincial and national connections with Métis communities; building research capacity to advance Métis-specific research; and training and employing student researchers. *
To date, the Working Group has identified five broad research themes for the RCMR:
1. Historical Research and Métis Rights
2. Institutional Deficit in Métis Education
3. Research and Analysis Capacity on Current Topics and General Policy Areas
4. Land Use and Resources
5. Contemporary Métis Issues
The RCMR falls under the Faculty of Native Studies and is governed by an Executive Council. The Executive Council is composed of six members from the U of A, two members from RLI and two members from the Métis community. The Chair is the Dean of the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta.
The U of A members include the Vice-President – Research; the Dean, Faculty of Native Studies; two academic members - one who is external to the Faculty of Native Studies and one who is part of the Faculty and has Métis ancestry; one undergraduate or graduate student of Métis ancestry; and a Research Director with ex-officio non-voting status. This membership ensures that a majority of Métis exist within the Executive Council.
The RLI members will be the Chair of RLI (or designate) and the CEO of RLI. Two members will be chosen by the RLI Board of Governors to represent the Métis community. The appointment terms for the community representatives will be two and three years, respectively.
Under the guidance of RCMR’s Executive Council, the MNA, RLI, and U of A will attempt to address the institutional deficit in Métis-specific research across this province. The full Executive Council will be in place by the early part of the 2013 fiscal year.
Métis In the Courts Blog
The Métis In the Courts blog is a rapid response project explores the intricacies of current Métis legal cases in Canada, from their historical roots to possibilities in the future. This blog provides information and resources about Métis court cases as they unfold and seeks to build community awareness of how these cases may impact Métis in the broader Canadian context.
You can find the Métis in the Courts Blog at metisinthecourts.ualberta.ca
Painting a Picture of the Métis Homeland:
Synthesizing Knowledge about Métis education, employment and training.
This research project seeks to rectify the gap in policy actors knowledge in the government and non-governmental sectors. In particular, the project will undertake secondary literature, archival and interview analysis to get a better sense of “best practices” that exist within each province and why? Which programs have been most successful and which have failed? Moreover, what currently existing programs- if any – appear to insulate Métis workers against economic downturns and which allow them to “catch the upward wave” during economic booms. This project is the first of its kind to explore these interprovincial issues in a comparative fashion and will certainly be of interest to policy actors in numerous sectors that deal with education, employment and training.
Bridging the Aboriginal Educational Gap in Alberta and its Effects on Lifelong Earnings
This research is led by Dr. Eric Howe of the University of Saskatchewan. The purpose of this study/analysis is to predict the lifetime earnings of six groups of Albertans (males or females who are non-Aboriginals, Métis [on or off Settlement], and North American Indians), depending on their educational achievements. This research will include an analysis measuring the benefit of bridging the Aboriginal educational gap for the province of Alberta.
Metis Archival Project