AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly unanimously support the pursuit of jurisdiction for reform of First Nations Child and Family Services

March 22, 2018

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba


For Immediate Release
March 22, 2018

Treaty One Territory _ The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs unanimously passed a resolution that supports the pursuit of First Nation jurisdiction as a key component for the reform of First Nations Child and Family Services. The Assembly endorsed a declaration of principles, strategic plan, and a work plan that identifies how to go forward on the Memorandum of Understanding between the AMC and the Government of Canada.

“I’m really proud of the AMC Women’s Council and the leadership who have driven and supported this,” said AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas, adding, “Today we set the foundation for change and we will move toward the reassertion of our jurisdiction by restructuring the child welfare system as was envisioned and identified by First Nations leadership at the time of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry –Child Welfare Initiative (1991).”

The 14-point Manitoba First Nations Declaration of Principles on Inherent Sovereignty Over Our Own Children states above all else: “Our children are on loan to us, they are Creator’s children and itis our responsibility to care, love, protect, nurture and teach them to ensure a good life.”

The Declaration reaffirms a regional approach to reform First Nations Child and Family Services and no longer accepts provincial control over First Nation children and families. This supports the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the AMC and the Government of Canada in December 2017.

The AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly also adopted the strategic plan Setting the Foundation for Change: A Strategy Towards First Nations’ Jurisdiction of Child Welfare in Manitoba. The strategy identifies a vision for the future; recognition of the need for a broader strategy that addresses a variety of aspects that impact the CFS system; foundation building which includes exerting jurisdiction, solidifying relationships with First Nations leadership and communities; developing our own laws; and a nation-to-nation relationship with Canada.

“I’m glad the Assembly has decided to develop a regional approach to reform that focuses on children and families. Not only did the Chiefs identify a strategy to move forward, they also adopted a work plan to set the wheels in motion,” said Chief Francine Meeches of Swan Lake First Nation, and the chair of the AMC Women’s Council.