To apply for a Metis Status Card (aka Aboriginal Status card, Indian Status card), first you need to get the required information to prove your native ancestors. If you’re wondering about who qualifies for Metis Status, generally anyone with Native ancestors is biologically Metis. Which card you have depends on who your ancestors were.
Usually this means you need to start with yourself, and work backward through your family tree. You cannot randomly pick out a native american you were told “you might be related to” and try to match your tree with that person. This is why it can take some time to get your tree together and time to find a native ancestral line.
Start by making a family tree chart. Every person on the chart has 2 parents, so they become like branches in the tree (you can find blank tree charts online). Write your name and birthdate as the first person, then add your parents as branches in the next column, then their parents in the next column, etc., with each generation in a separate column. Add the birthdates and marriage dates for each generation. Eventually you will need to search archival records or church records for previous generations, but always work backward in time, verifying ancestors as you go.
If and when you do find your native ancestors, you will need to get copies of all records linking each generation back along that line, because most organizations do not do this for you without charging a fee, as it is so time-consuming. Metis organizations are not funded by government to find your native ancestors and prove that line. It is up to you to prove to them who you are. Some organizations will not verify your line at all, and will simply refuse membership.
For yourself, you need a birth or baptism record that states who your parents were. Then for every person along that line, you will need a record that states who their parents were. Usually this is referred to as a “long form” record, because it provides proof of parents’ names. Because some families have multiple persons with the same name, the only way to know for sure whether each person is completely documented is to have both the birth and marriage records that state parents’ names. You will need records like this for each generation going back to your native ancestor. Names and dates obtained from regular internet sites or family trees are not considered proof. You need to get copies of the government or church records, or other legal documents, either online or from that agency.
Once you have copies of all the actual records to prove your native line (without any unproven gaps in the line), you need to find out which Metis organization best fits your ancestry, and will represent you as a member of their Metis community.
Metis organizations have different requirements, objectives, and offer different kinds of representation. They are not usually affiliated with each other and do not share the same membership information. They also offer varying services for the application fee. Some only give aboriginal status cards, others offer programs and services. If you are interested in having help with your tree and also knowing the results of whatever is found, you should ask the organization about this service, what it will cost, and what you will get for your money, as some provide your tree information and others don’t.
Before applying, you might want to speak to their representatives or employees personally, to help determine the likelihood of being accepted into their community, and whether you feel their community best represents you and your ancestry. Some organizations may deny you status if you don’t have a specific type of proof, so you don’t want to find out that you have paid an application fee only to be turned down, then have to pay another organization to apply to their registry. Conversely, other organizations may seem to require very little proof.
Either way, a solid Metis community registry should contain documented proof of every generation, from your baptism or birth record to your native ancestor, without gaps. If you only have your standard issued birth certificate that does not state your parents’ names, then you need to either get your baptism record from your church or your “long form” birth certificate, which is available from the government, and send in copies to the organization. You will also need this same kind of document for each generation. This is the only way a registry can prove that all of its members are actually descended from Native Americans. The amount of funding an organization gets will depend on the number of registrants who have complete documentation, and whether your organization is prepared to negotiate funding on your behalf.
Once you have decided which group to apply to and have got your paperwork in order, you are ready to apply for your Metis Card.
Go to the organization’s website, and download the Metis Status Card Application Form. Fill out one application per person. Add your documented proof either by supplying copies (never send actual records), or scan them as computer files.
Include the required photo, and sign the application. Either mail the package or send it by email with payment for processing (never send cash in the mail).
Check periodically to see if your application will likely be processed soon. Some organizations take over a year to process so you shouldn’t wait until the last minute. Once you have your status, you can let others in the family and community know how to apply for Metis Status Cards too!