Region 7 History
The Historic Georgian Bay Métis Community
Based on the existing research on Métis communities in Ontario and the criteria established by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Powley (“Powley”), a historic Métis community developed from the inter-connected Métis populations at Penetanguishene and Parry Sound and environs (the “Historic Georgian Bay Métis Community”).
Identifying the Historic Métis Communities in Ontario
In Powley, the Supreme Court of Canada held that Métis rights—protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 - exist in Ontario. This case established the framework for the recognition of Métis rights.
The Métis within section 35 refers to distinctive peoples or communities who, in addition to their mixed First Nation and European ancestry, developed their own customs, way of life, and recognizable group identity separate from their forebearers.
In order for a contemporary Métis community to possess section 35 rights it must have its roots in an identifiable historic Métis community that emerged prior to the time when Europeans established effective political and legal control in the area. It is therefore crucial to identify such historic Métis communities.
Identifying a historic Metis community requires demographic evidence that the population was identified as distinctive, evidence that the community had its own collective identity, and, evidence that the community had its own shared customs, practices and traditions.