AMC Acknowledges the Federal Court’s Final Approval of $23 Billion Settlement Agreement
October 25, 2023
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba
Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) acknowledges the Federal Court’s historic approval of a $23-billion settlement agreement intended for First Nations children and families who have endured racial discrimination due to Canada’s long-standing underfunding of the on-reserve First Nations Child and Family Services system.
AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick stated, “The AMC is pleased with the Federal Court’s approval of the settlement agreement. The determination and dedication exhibited by all parties involved highlight how we can address the colonial impacts perpetuated by systemic racist and discriminatory laws and policies that have long-lasting effects on First Nations children and families.”
The settlement agreement was reached because of the ongoing advocacy efforts for more than fifteen years by the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and, more recently, the plaintiffs of the Trout and Moushoom class actions. It recognizes the harmful effects of racially discriminatory policies on First Nations and offers long overdue compensation to First Nations children and families who have suffered due to the limitations of the First Nations CFS system and the restricted application of Jordan’s Principle.
“I am pleased the Federal Court has finally approved this settlement agreement. Of course, it is important to acknowledge that no amount of money can fully rectify the significant harm experienced by First Nations children and families. However, this approval does represent to all Canadians that the federal government and the Federal Court acknowledge the suffering endured by First Nations, and that is part of Canada’s colonial and racist legacy. It represents a commitment to shaping a future that offers promise and fairness for First Nations children and families,” said Grand Chief Merrick.
Grand Chief further said, “The AMC extends its appreciation to all those who played a role in bringing this historic settlement to fruition. This includes not only the children and families of AMC member First Nations but also those across Canada who were directly part of the legal proceedings. This also includes all the previous and current First Nations Chiefs who were involved and supported justice for our children, families, and nations. Appreciation is also expressed to those First Nations and organizations that advocate for justice. We commend the commitment and determination of all those involved, including Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse and Dr. Cindy Blackstock.”
The way that the compensation will be distributed and how accompanying support will be provided is currently in development. The AFN has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to apologize on behalf of the government to the children and families who were the victims of the discrimination.
Grand Chief Merrick concluded, “The AMC looks forward to timely and comprehensive compensation for the affected children and families. The AMC anticipates further efforts towards reforming the CFS system and eradicating the ongoing systemic discrimination against First Nations and supports the AFN’s call for an apology by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of the federal government.
For more information, please contact:
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 151,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.