01/29/2012 01:13 EST | Updated 03/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Sask. Métis, francophones sign solidarity pact

Saskatchewan's Métis and francophone communities have signed a solidarity pact, promising to put aside their differences and work together on common issues.

The pact, signed Saturday afternoon in Saskatoon, is the result of six years of discussions between the Métis Nation – Saskatchewan and the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise.

"When we need each other, to lobby and advocate for each other and to work with each other, I think that this pact of solidarity formalizes that process, and I'm very pleased to sign it," said Robert Doucette, president of the Métis Nation.

Doucette said it's the first time in Canada that a pact has been signed between the two sides.

The Métis and the French did work together, but that changed with the North-West Resistance of 1885, according to both groups.

"Each of us recognizes the other community for what it is [and] recognize that we have a history," said Paul Heppelle, president of the Assemblée communautaire fransaskoise.

"Perhaps that history hasn't always been the most glorious that it could've been, and we want to set that right."

The two organizations have been meeting regularly since 2006 to "rebuild historical, cultural and social ties that were common to our peoples in past generations," according to a release.