Métis Nation BC Anti-racism Engagement Report
“Métis community members want to ensure data is used in a strengths-based manner to elevate the community. This means the data is used to build capacity, increase funding, enrich the lives of Métis people, and advance the Métis Nation. Participants saw data as a path to form connections within communities, and to advocate for change.”
Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC), in partnership with the BC provincial government, conducted community consultations on upcoming anti-racism data legislation in response to calls to address Indigenous-specific racism. MNBC prepared two community consultations with Métis in British Columbia: online on October 28th, 2021, and in-person on November 20th, 2021. Approximately 100 participants were prompted by a series of questions encouraging participants to share their individual stories, as well as specific questions asking group members to share their thoughts on the future of Métis data.
Major themes throughout the sessions focused on the invisibility of Métis people. The consistent use of the umbrella term “Indigenous” in data collection discredits the unique identity of Métis, while funding for “Indigenous” programming provided solely to First Nations-focused services further alienates Métis community members. Distinctions-based language is essential to halt the erasure of Métis in BC. It is essential for Métis in BC for their data to be protected. This includes physical protection such as locks, encryption for digital files, proper storage, and adequate data laws.
Additionally, data collectors should be educated about the communities from which they collect data. The hiring of culturally agile data collectors, who understand the needs of the population and use strengths-based language, can mitigate, and prevent further harm towards Métis communities. It is imperative that data must then come back to the community where Métis in BC will have access to their own data to ensure that they can appropriately advocate for relevant and needed programming.