By: Lily Schricker

Although I didn’t need to apply for a visa, schedule vaccination appointments, or take multiple flights to arrive in Saskatoon, my time interning with the Métis Nation-Saskatchewan (MN-S) this far has truly felt like an ‘inter-national’ journey.

From sitting in an Elder’s gathering and hearing participants speak Michif for the first time, receiving a private tour of Batoche’s National Historic Site in the pouring rain, going off-roading, all the way to being taught animal skinning, eating bannock, or tasting different medicinal plants, these past weeks have been nothing short of immersive. Indeed, much like travelling to a foreign country, I have had the opportunity to learn about the Métis nation’s peoples and their way of life.

Watching History Unfold: MN-S’s Moment

Beyond my personal experiences, I’ve also had the privilege of witnessing MN-S’s own journey towards self-government, as I watch history unfold through the negotiation of Kishchi Mashinaayikun Ooshchi Michif (“the Sacred Document of the Métis”).[1] This title was chosen by Elders to reflect on the unique identity, culture, values, and language of the Métis people.[2]

This nation-to-nation agreement is a modern treaty between the Federal Government and MN-S.[3] Bound by the honour of the Crown, it will formally enshrine the right of self-government of the Métis in Saskatchewan within the Canadian Constitution. Specifically, MN-S’s jurisdiction over the areas of citizenship, elections, and core governance will be recognized.[4]

My Role and Responsibility: The Executive Act

With this historic moment also comes MN-S’s growing jurisdiction over governance matters and the accompanied formulation of new Acts that will legislate these expanding areas.

In collaboration with Hannah and Brooke, two Métis law students studying at the University of Saskatchewan who have selflessly guided and integrated me these past weeks, I have been tasked with preparing the Executive Act. Though MN-S already has a Handbook that regulates the behaviour of elected officials, my role consists of choosing and analyzing how these pre-existing provisions can be legislated and, subsequently, judged by MN-S’s forthcoming judiciary branch. Additionally, we have been researching types of remedies in the event of an elected official’s breach. Once our work with the Executive Act is completed, the three of us will apply a similar skillset to the forthcoming Administrative Act.

Aside from this responsibility, I have also had the opportunity to contribute to smaller tasks, such as helping draft preambular clauses for the Citizenship Act. I was even fortunate enough to witness this Act being adopted at the Métis Nation’s Legislative Assembly (MNLA) in late May. Hosted bi-annually, the MNLA is the governing authority of the MN-S and it is comprised of the Presidents of Métis Locals and the Provincial Métis Council. This body has the authority to enact legislation, regulation, rules and resolutions governing the affairs and conduct of the Métis in Saskatchewan.[5]

Community and Connections: The Art of Listening

One of the most enriching parts of my internship this far has been the profound sense of community. Initially, I admittedly had concerns that, as a non-Indigenous person seeking to support the advancement of Métis self-governance, I may be met with skepticism. However, these worries were quickly dispelled by the warm welcomes and open-hearted interactions with community members, colleagues, and even the MN-S President himself, who greeted me with gracious words of encouragement.

Through these connections, I also discovered the importance of active listening and the power it has for forging relationships. Practicing the art of listening involves understanding, empathizing, and engaging with another’s perspectives and stories without necessarily thinking about what to respond. It also transcends head nodding. Indeed, making eye contact can sometimes do more than words ever will.

Looking Ahead

As I wrap up this post, I am filled with gratitude for the individuals I’ve encountered so far and the meaningful work I’ve been entrusted with. From the welcoming smiles to the patient guidance, every interaction has contributed to making these weeks worthwhile.

I am excited for what the remaining weeks of interning at MN-S have in store for me; I was told that camping in a trappers tent in the community of Pinehouse in Northern Saskatchewan for the Elder’s gathering will be one of them.

[1] Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, “Our Moment” (29 May 2024) para 10, online: <> [ourmoment].

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid at para 3.

[4] Ibid at para 14.

[5] Métis Nation-Saskatchewan, “About the Métis” para 4, online: <> [/about-metis/]