The Forgotten People- A Look at Steve Powley and Métis Culture
By Hunter Leffler
Who are these people who call themselves The Forgotten People? These forgotten people are of mixed blood types, and the joining of two worlds; the old European world and the new North American Indian world. The Métis called themselves "The Forgotten People".
Métis population in Sault Ste Marie is still very large today. And as most people never really heard of or knew exactly what a Métis was or is, Mr. Steve Powley and Rodney Powley changed that. Mr. Powley and his son both Métis, shot and killed a moose in 1993. They were practicing their native rights at the time when the Ministry of Natural Resources charged them with hunting a moose without a moose tag. It was then, that Mr. Powley began the fight for the aboriginal rights of the Métis, for hunting and fishing. The courts fought for ten years and Mr. Powley never backed down. He and his Métis son stood their grounds to prove that the Métis should have the same rights as a status aboriginal. On September 19, 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the judgment of a Métis to be amongst aboriginal people and Aboriginal rights for hunting and fishing under section 35 of the Constitutional Act, of 1982. Steve proved that his family lived and practiced the Métis ways for many years. And this is the reason that he felt that he and his family should continue to do so. Although, Mr. Steve Powley fought and won the rights for him and his family, it never helped him out much. Steve passed away just 1 year after the long battle with the courts. He passed with the clear mind that at least his family and grandchild and so forth will have the rights that they deserve. Many Métis in the Sault area that can also prove that their families have lived and practiced the Métis ways throughout the years are so proud of Mr. Steve Powley and his son Rodney Powley. If it weren’t for the two of them to stand up for the rights of the Métis in this area, then the Métis might have become a dying breed. But due to their fight, the Métis no longer need to call themselves, "THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLE"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!