After years of lobbying and negotiations, Métis veterans are being recognized for their efforts in the Second World War.

On Thursday, members of the Métis Nation’s leadership and the federal minister of veterans affairs signed the $30-million Métis Veterans Recognition Payment Contribution Agreement.

“We fought for 20 years, it’s a massive achievement,” said David Chartrand, Métis Nation’s minister responsible for veterans and president of the Manitoba Métis Federation.

Métis veterans will receive $20,000 each, said Chartrand, adding there are only about four or five alive today across Canada, none being in Manitoba.

A plan for the remaining funds will be decided through consultations with families of deceased veterans.

Those consultations are set to start this summer.

Anecdotally, Chartrand said families have told him they want monuments erected in their communities to commemorate soldiers’ sacrifices.

There’s also been talk of sending young people to Juno Beach to get a sense of what their ancestors experienced.

Experiences Chartrand said were plagued by discrimination by the government, both in battle and back home.

“Instead of taking care of them, they just abandoned them because of who they were,” said Chartrand, adding a lack of support led many veterans to alcohol to cope with psychological trauma.

Following family consultations, Chartrand said the next step is to create an independent body, which will oversee the funds and keep Métis veterans’ legacy alive.