Clément Chartier, born in 1946 at Ile-à-la-Crosse, Saskatchewan, is a Métis lawyer, activist and politician. Raised in Buffalo Narrows, Chartier received his law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1978 and was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1980. In the late 1960s, after leaving a position with the provincial Department of Social Services, Chartier became a political activist after realizing that government was not serious about addressing the adverse social conditions faced by the Métis. During his political career, Chartier has held a number of executive positions in Métis and Indigenous political bodies, including: Native Youth Association of Canada (executive director in the 1970s); Association of Métis and Non-Status Indians of Saskatchewan (AMNSIS) (vice-president, 1982–85); Métis National Council (MNC) (chairperson, 1983 and 1985; ambassador, 1993–96; president, 2003); World Council of Indigenous Peoples (president, 1984–87; vice-president, 1993–97); Métis Nation—Saskatchewan (MN-S) (president, 1998–2003). A strong advocate for Métis rights, Chartier worked with other Métis activists to dissolve the AMNSIS in 1988 and create a Métis-only political body, the reformulated Métis Society of Saskatchewan. He was the plaintiffs’ lawyer in R. v. Grumbo (1996), which briefly granted Métis Aboriginal hunting rights in Saskatchewan, and in R. v. Morin and Daigneault (1996), which provided Métis living in Saskatchewan with “Indian” fishing rights. He also served as MNC counsel for the 2003 Supreme Court of Canada decision R. v. Powley, which granted Métis in Ontario Aboriginal hunting rights.
Darren R. Préfontaine