In the late 1960's a group of dedicated Woodland Métis visionaries incorporated OMNSIA, the Ontario Métis and Non-Status Indian Association in the Province of Ontario. It was decided to incorporate to facilitate interaction and cooperation within the Canadian Government's legislation regarding non-profit entities.
OMNSIA's incorporation was also in direct response to the gross under representation in most Canadian institutions that are supposed to be representative of all Canadian Aboriginal People. The founders decided that OMNSIA's sphere of influence and governance would be exclusive and separate for Métis People with roots in Ontario because other Métis Tribes such as the Red River Métis (or Prairie Métis) already had representation in their home provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
In the late 1980's OMNSIA changed its name to the Ontario Métis Aboriginal Association (OMAA), discarding the Government of Canada's discriminatory "Non-Status Indian" designation. In doing so, OMAA responded to the wishes of the growing population of Aboriginal peoples residing in the broader Ontario community who sought the organization's support and representation. After all, we are all Aboriginal people and as such, guaranteed constitutional rights whether we live on a reserve or not -- "status" has nothing to do with being an Aboriginal person, it is simply a label -- there is nothing Aboriginal about it.
Since its inception, we have faced many challenges and obstacles and we will continue to deal with issues to ensure our membership's recognition and inclusion with all things Aboriginal. It has always been The Woodland Métis Tribe's philosophy to face challenges head on - turning obstacles into hurdles. Most importantly, OMAA has always striven to maintain good relations with all Aboriginal groups, not getting embroiled in confrontational relations. The Woodland Métis Tribe has made it clear in our mandates and practices that we will to work with all Aboriginal groups and peoples to resolve problems and move forward in a progressive manner.
Today's OMAA - The Woodland Métis Tribe is growing at an astounding rate. We are composed of a growing constituency and membership supported by a dedicated group of directors and support staff who uphold a proud legacy while looking to the future to identify and pursue creative and innovative means to help advance the aspirations of the organization and the Woodland Métis communities across Ontario.
We feel that the legal, political and academic emphasis of the last decade on the prairie Métis populations has resulted in a lack of recognition and accommodation of Métis elsewhere in Canada -- it is this imbalance which The Woodland Métis Tribe aspires to negate. As Woodland Métis and Aboriginal Peoples we must work collectively to stress our need for recognition and acceptance as a distinct Aboriginal society using our historic Aboriginal title and treaty rights as our basis of claim.