Listening to Manitoba’s Indigenous Communities: IPAM Seeks a New Narrative of Representation

Ensuring that off-reserve and non-status Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba have a collective voice continues to be the foundation of IPAM. 

As we work to build and expand our membership, ensuring it is broadly inclusive across all Indigenous communities, we remain dedicated to listening to the diverse experiences of all Indigenous Peoples in the province and making sure their stories are told.

As one of the newest affiliates of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP), our work is still largely focused on outreach and defining the terms for representative membership.  

Ultimately, our vision is to see a new narrative of Indigenous rights and culture in Canada driven by broad, inclusive representation and a strong tradition of handing down the proud cultures and knowledge of all Indigenous Peoples to future generations.

We are guided daily by our mission to inclusively and respectfully represent, preserve and promote the heritage, culture, language and rights of all status and non-status Indigenous Peoples in all regions of Manitoba with broad political, social and economic action.

And while we know the road ahead to achieving our vision will not be easy, and we acknowledge the long struggle for recognition faced by off-reserve and non-status Indigenous peoples of Manitoba, we also know we are stronger when we work together.

As IPAM president Ernie Blais said in a 2019 article in The Indigenous Voice magazine, a publication by CAP, we’re proud of our accomplishments so far in “bringing together a great group of people under one organization wanting to work for the betterment of its people. These people came together because they wanted to, without funding and through great adversity”. 

Strong, Proud, Indigenous.

As a non-profit organization representing and advocating for all Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba, our membership is as broad and inclusive as possible. Every voice matters. 

This means that we represent the interests of both status and non-status (or off-First-Nation territory) Indigenous Peoples including Métis, Non-Status Indians, Status Indians and Southern Inuit. (As ‘Indian’ continues to be a legal term in Canadian Law, this is why it’s sometimes also used in our documents and publications.)

When you become a member, you add your voice to our growing collective protecting and preserving the rights and diverse cultures of all Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba. Like our members, we seek to foster and pass down our strong, proud traditions to future generations.

Stronger Together: IPAM and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP)

Formed in 1971 to represent Aboriginal People living off-reserve in Canada, CAP’s mandate is to improve the socio-economic conditions of off-reserve status and non-status Indians, Métis and Southern Inuit living in urban or rural areas. For example, CAP holds meetings with members of the government to find practical ways to improve federal programs, laws and services for off-reserve Indigenous Peoples.

CAP is one of five National Indigenous Organizations recognized by the Government of Canada and serves as the national voice for its provincial and territorial affiliate organizations including IPAM. CAP also holds consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which facilitates its participation on international issues of importance to Indigenous Peoples.

As a CAP-affiliate organization, IPAM has representation on the CAP Board of Directors – IPAM President Ernie Blais currently serves on the CAP Board. The CAP Board meets several times a year to monitor and direct the activity of CAP and is its decision-making body between Annual General Assembly meetings. 

However, like all other CAP affiliates, IPAM has its own constitution and rules for membership, elected officers, and administration: our President or Chief is elected by delegates at our annual assembly. CAP-affiliates also may act as umbrella organizations for multiple regional and local groups. 

CAP also has a National Youth Council, with membership from its provincial and territorial affiliates, who then also elect a representative to CAP’s Board of Directors. 

As affiliate members of CAP, and with representation on their Board, IPAM helps support CAP’s essential policy work on behalf of Indigenous Peoples, including advocating for the implementation of effective Indigenous measures to address and eradicate violence against Indigenous women and girls, ensuring that the Canadian federal government upholds its legal responsibility for Métis and non-Status Indians as per the Daniel’s Decision, CAP’s grassroots engagement events to connect with communities across Canada, and more.

Add Your Voice: Become an IPAM Member

Join our growing collective protecting and preserving the rights and diverse cultures of Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba. We encourage youth, adults and Elders alike to join us, share your experiences, and be heard, recognized and empowered.

Becoming an IPAM member is easy: just submit your completed application form, copies of the required documentation, and the $10 registration fee. No annual renewals are required!

You can also be a part of the conversation around a new narrative for Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba by following us on Facebook, and subscribing to our newsletter.

As stated in the 2019 IPAM profile in The Indigenous Voice, our focus at this time is squarely on our members: “As membership builds, the organization is adamant about maintaining quality representation. It’s not about how many people you speak for, but how well you do it. Leaders in the organization will ensure that the unique needs of their regions are accounted for. They are prepared to place themselves at the forefront of discussions so “the forgotten ones” of Manitoba are not left behind.”

The Indigenous Peoples Alliance of Manitoba (IPAM) is a collective voice broadly representing, preserving and promoting the heritage, culture, language and rights of all Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba. We work together to inclusively and respectfully represent the interests of all Métis, First Nation, Inuit, and Non-Status or Off-Reserve Peoples who identify as Indigenous in urban, rural and remote areas of the province. IPAM is an official affiliate organization of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, one of five National Indigenous Organizations recognized by the Government of Canada.