Integrity, democracy priorities for first female MNC President Caron
- NC Raine | October 12, 2021
For the first time in its history, with the election of Cassidy Caron, the Métis National Council (MNC) will be led by a woman.
Caron is also the first new president to be elected in 18 years, since former president Clément Chartier was elected in 2003. He did not run in the recent election.
Caron, of Trail British Columbia, previously served as youth minister with the Métis Nation of BC. She decided to run for president of the national council after seeing the provincial Métis Nation organizations strengthening relationships in recent years.
“When I saw how much they've accomplished in the last few years, really working together, really communicating and supporting one another, that's when I knew the timing was right for my role as that facilitator, that convener, that relationship builder,” Caron told Eagle Feather News.
Caron has roots in the historic Saskatchewan Métis communities of Batoche and St. Louis. Her grandmother, Marie Odile Boucher, was from one of the first five Métis families to settle in St. Louis and her grandfather, Jean-Baptist Caron, was born at Batoche, where his father, Jean Caron Sr., bought a house during the Battle of Batoche, which now stands as a feature at the national historic site.
“He was a Métis patriot, a Métis nationalist, and that has run through my family lineage ever since,” Caron said.
She was raised in BC by her mother, Anna Caron, but stays connected to her family in Prince Albert and Batoche during annual summer visits.
Restoring integrity to the Métis National Council is Caron’s priority. The national council has not held a general assembly or a board of governors meeting since 2018. Caron said she wants to ensure all voices are represented at the national level.
“My big one, once we are able to have that democracy, and restore that integrity at the Métis National Council, is really re-centering our relationships,” she said.
“I really want to work together, moving forward with the Board of Governors, and making sure that the Métis National Council is a space for our Métis governments to advance their aspirations at the national level.”
“Across all our provinces, spending time within our communities, getting to know one another. It's so important that we take time together, share stories in a space where we're not always making decisions. That relationship piece is very important to me.”
In her desire to bring unity, Caron said she has felt a sense of “renewed inspiration” from the many members she's spoken with, particularly youth and Elders.
She has heard repeatedly, from the Indigenous women leaders before her, that it is “time for our matriarchs to rise.”
“I hope this monumental change is inspiring to others. I can't wait to continue creating space for more young people, more Métis women, more gender diverse folks. We are stronger together. We need all the people at the table, having their voices heard, in order to make sure we do this right and the Métis Nation moves forward in a good way.”