Jan 12, 2022
On November 6, 2021, the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan (MN—S) announced the first Provincial Métis Youth Council (PMYC) President. Autumn LaRose-Smith assumed the full-time position for a four-year term and was formally introduced at the Fall 2021 Métis Nation Legislative Assembly (MNLA) on November 27 and 28.
Earlier this fall, the MN—S announced the first province-wide youth election for the position of President of the PMYC. The PMYC President is responsible for representing youth at the Provincial Métis Council (PMC) meetings and will work with youth from all 12 MN—S regions to build membership and encourage participation. The President will have input in all PMC decisions and lead the youth delegation at the MNLA.
The PMYC presidential candidate nomination period ran from October 16-October 21, 2021. To be eligible to run as a candidate in the election, individuals had to be between the ages of 16 and 29 and be a registered, card-carrying, citizens of the MN—S. Three candidates were nominated through this process: Cody Demerais, Autumn LaRose-Smith, and Jade Rooney.
Advance voting began on November 5th and continued into election day on November 6th. Voters had to meet the same eligibility criteria as those nominated. Approximately 5,200 Métis citizens between the ages of 16 to 19 were eligible to participate. All votes were submitted online. This was also the first time that the MN—S held province-wide polls online. The online format was incorporated as a cost-effective, convenient way to vote during a pandemic.
Autumn’s swearing-in ceremony at the November MNLA was a very special event. Her kohkum, Senator Nora Cummings administered the swearing-in ceremony and Autumn made her oath in English and translated it into Michif with the help of Norman Fleury.
Autumn is very well known within the Saskatchewan Métis community and among the province’s youth. She is a Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP) student at the University of Saskatchewan and has plenty of involvement in different levels of youth government. During the 2020-2021 academic year, she became the first Métis woman elected President of the University of Saskatchewan Student’s Union (USSU). Over the past few years, Autumn has also worked with a variety of student groups and off-campus organizations. She held terms on the SUNTEP Student Council and the Indigenous Students Council.
Autumn’s platform for the election was centered around a guide she calls A.C.T. This acronym stands for: amplify and connect Métis youth, and transform the youth council. She states, “There is so much work to be done, and I promise I have never been more passionate and dedicated. As President, you can trust that I will work hard to ensure that Métis youth voices, successes, and concerns will be amplified.”
Connecting through culture is very important to Autumn. As a SUNTEP student, she understands the significance of language revitalization and preservation. She hopes to incorporate authentic Michif-language programming for Métis youth across Saskatchewan. “I am doing my best to reclaim my language right now and through this, learning more about my history and culture. I know that this is a long and winding process for most and will do my very best to ensure that Métis youth have access to accessible and relevant opportunities moving forward.”
As a young, queer Métis woman, Autumn has always been a strong activist and engaged volunteer. “I will work tirelessly to ensure that women, 2SLGBTQ+, and racialized Métis youth feel that the youth council is a safe place, where they can feel represented and empowered,” explained Autumn. Her ultimate goal for her four-year term is for Métis in Saskatchewan to feel connected to each other, to their culture, and to valuable services.