Nova Scotia Chiefs Want Indigenous Child Welfare Legislation
February 15, 2019
The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs (Assembly) have called upon the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada to bring forth the important discussions of the Indigenous Family and Unity Act, with the proposed changes that First Nations communities, across Canada, have collectively brought forward.
The legislation, in its current form, does not recognize the inherent right to self-government which would allow First Nation communities to rightfully assume jurisdiction and governance over their own child welfare matters without the permission of Governments. The Assembly, alongside many other First Nations groups, want Canada to move forward and properly address this by working with our people in an equal and respectful manner.
“We know our communities and our people best,” said Chief Paul J. Prosper, Justice Lead for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs. “It is not acceptable for Canada to force us to require the consent of the Provinces and Canada prior to taking jurisdiction over our children and families. This approach is contrary to The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
The Assembly has been working on child welfare matters since 2014 and launched a video today to show the Federal Government exactly what is being done in Nova Scotia. Video can be found at: https://youtu.be/NfJGh_HG8dk
“There has been a failure by other governments to protect our most vulnerable – our children,” continued Chief Prosper. “They have been removed from their families, homes and communities. They have lost their language, their culture, their identity. It is time for Canada to give us back ownership of this issue so that we can begin to heal from the harms that have taken place. It is time to implement the first five Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on child welfare. We need to ensure our children are safe in their own communities. We can only do that if we have jurisdiction and the financial means to support this work.”
“We hope that through this video, they will see that not only do we have the capacity to take on this important work, but more importantly the need and community support,” said Chief Prosper.
For more information contact:
Crystal Dorey, Communication Officer
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office